Revocable living trusts are an excellent way to help protect your assets, especially your home or other real properties in Utah. You can either appoint yourself the trustee or name a third party to take care of your assets and inheritance wishes. In either case, the person responsible for managing the trust can sell a piece of property that is held in the trust.
Whoever the trustee is, that person is authorized to make all of the necessary arrangements associated with property ownership. This includes handling maintenance and repair needs as well as placing it on the market. If the property is held in a revocable living trust, it can be sold by using a purchase and sales agreement which specifies the terms of the sale.
Due to the complexities of state laws, many folks in Utah find that obtaining the assistance of a lawyer can be helpful. However, the process is not as complicated as some other aspects of the law, and you might opt to save some cash and take care of the sale yourself. If so, the first thing you will need to do is correctly fill out the purchase and sales agreement.
In those documents, you will appropriately identify the buyer and seller of the property. In the instance of the seller, you will list whoever is the trustee of the revocable trust and include the name of the trust. Additionally, since you are selling real estate, you must sign a deed that legally conveys the property to the new owner once the terms have been met.
You will also need to list the legal description of the property. Depending on the local laws, it might be described by metes and bounds or a lot and block system. Either way, double check that you are filing this section out correctly to avoid major legal headaches down the line.
Before you or your trustee sells the property, it is essential to have it appraised by a certified person who can assess the current market value of the land and buildings on it. This is the case for all valuable assets that are held in a revocable trust. You will need to list the fair market value of the property on the agreement.
The purchase and sales agreement must be signed in front of a public notary. This person will also sign and date the agreement, making it official. Without the appropriate stamp, you have not completed this step correctly.
Once you have completed all of the above, the trustee will need to sign the deed and related documents at the closing. The trustee will also be responsible for delivering the property to the new owner. In the case of real estate sales, this entails handing over the door keys.
As you can see, the sale of a home in a revocable trust is not very different than if you are selling it as an individual. Always make sure that you are following the appropriate steps and consult with an expert if you run into any troubles.
Thanks to Michael Haslam, an Ogden living trust attorney, for his insight. Michael is the founding attorney at Voyant Legal. He helps families in Farmington, Ogden, Layton, Bountiful and surrounding Utah areas create estate plans and elder law plans to protect their families and assets. Visit www.voyantlegal.com for more info.
*Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of the Northern Wasatch Association of REALTORS® (NWAOR). This should not be construed as legal advice from NWAOR.