Revocable trusts, commonly referred to as “Living Trusts” are becoming more popular in New York. If you have a Living Trust or are considering setting up a Living Trust, it is important to make sure that any assets you own are titled in your name as trustee of your Living Trust. Only assets titled in such a manner will be subject to the provisions of your trust. If you are wondering why you may want to set up a Living Trust, please see my blog post How can I avoid probate of a will in New York?.
In the case of a home or condominium unit, the deed needs to recite that you, as trustee of your trust, are the grantee, i.e. new owner. If you are purchasing the property, the contract of sale should set forth that you are purchasing as the trustee of your Living Trust. If you are financing the purchase of your home or condominium unit, you should check with your mortgage lender beforehand to see if they have any special requirements concerning your purchasing the property as a trustee.
If you already own your home, it is important that at the time you sign your trust agreement your house or condominium unit is conveyed to yourself as trustee of your trust. To accomplish this, you will need to sign a deed and related transfer documents conveying the property from yourself individually to yourself as trustee of your Living Trust. The deed is then recorded with the Office of the City Register.
For a discussion of transferring a co-op to a Living Trust please refer to my blog post How do I transfer my cooperative apartment to my living trust?
It’s important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to assist you in making sure your assets are properly titled in your name as trustee of your Living Trust. Failure to do so may result in your assets not passing to those you have designated as beneficiaries in your Living Trust.