If you’re a homeowner, you know the importance of having a title on your home. However, one question we’ve received from clients is whether or not they should put their home title in a trust for either their children or another beneficiary to manage.
Here are some tips from the home title specialists at Investors Title.
Why Do People Put their House Title into a Trust?
There are two primary reasons homeowners will choose to place their house title in a trust:
1. They want their family members to inherit a home without having to go through a probate court process.
Probate court can be a very length, expensive and public process. Putting a title in a trust, on the other hand, is a private affair, so your financial information is only viewed by the beneficiaries that you name. It’s also much simpler.
2. They want a way to distribute their assets to heirs after they die or become incapacitated.
This ensures that your home and other assets are handled by someone you trust.
What Are the Logistics of Putting a Title into a Trust?
When most people put a title to their real estate in a trust, it’s usually a revocable trust. When a trust is considered “revocable,” that means the trustees can change what happens to the property when they die (or become incapacitated) — and who the beneficiaries are — at any time. But once they die, the trust usually becomes irrevocable, meaning, its details are set in stone.
For example. If you create a trust and put your house in a title in a trust when you’re alive, you (and your partner, if applicable) are trustees. Then, you’ll have to choose who is going to be the successor trustee when you die — that’s often a child. Some also choose a financial institution or a lawyer. You can also set the terms of your trust, such as not allowing the trustee to access the property until age 30, for instance.
A trust provides an easier process to close out the estate as well as flexibility in how you decide who is entitled to what.
A common question we get is: why can’t I simply put my son or daughter in the title with me as joint tenants so that when I die, they own the whole property?
The reason not to do this is that anything that affects the child legally is going to affect the property, according to Missouri regulations. If they get divorced, if they don’t pay their credit card or car payment and get sued — those judgments will be a lien on the property. Also, if the child gets married and you want to sell the property, then you’ll have to involve his or her spouse.
Are There Any Downsides to This Process?
The only potential downside to a trust is that you have to work with a lawyer to draw it up. We do not recommend going online and getting a form of a trust. There are a lot of great lawyers out there (we work with several here at Investors Title!) who can walk you through the trust process.
Many people are surprised to discover that this trust process is not as expensive as they presumed, depending on how complicated you want the trust to be.