How do I transfer my New York co-op apartment to my living trust?

Revocable trusts, often called “living trusts” are an increasingly popular choice for people who wish to avoid probate when planning their estates. For a discussion on “living trusts” refer to my blog post: http://www.dippellaw.com/wordpress/how-can-i-avoid-probate-of-a-will-in-new-york/

As I discussed in my above blog post, your assets must be re-titled in your name as trustee of your living trust. In the case of your cooperative apartment, a new stock certificate and proprietary lease must be issued by the cooperative corporation in your name as trustee of your living trust.

As a first step, you must determine whether the cooperative corporation allows ownership of apartments by trusts by contacting the management office of the co-op. If the co-op permits ownership by trusts, they will most likely require that the trust agreement be reviewed by the co-op’s attorneys. The co-op’s attorneys will, in most cases, require that a co-op lien search be done against all parties. Additional documents, such as personal guarantees of the trustee’s obligations under the proprietary lease may need to be signed by you and transfer tax returns will need to be prepared on New York City’s ACRIS system.

After complying with the co-op’s attorney’s requirements, they will schedule a closing (in some cases this can be done by mail unless there is an outstanding co-op loan as explained below) at their office at which time you will surrender the original stock certificate and proprietary lease and sign the various transfer documents. The new stock certificate and lease will then be issued in your name as trustee of your living trust.

If you have an outstanding co-op loan, your lender will be in possession of your stock certificate and lease. In such a case you will need to obtain the permission of your lender as they will need to bring the original stock certificate and proprietary lease to the closing. Accordingly, your inquiry to your lender should be the first step in starting this process.

As you can see, transferring your interest in your cooperative apartment to your living trust is not a trivial matter. You should retain the services of an attorney experienced in estate planning and cooperative apartment transfers to ensure your estate plan is successfully implemented.

About George H. Dippel, Attorney at Law

George H. Dippel has been practicing law for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School and a former partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler in their real estate/banking department. Mr. Dippel opened his own law offices in 1993 in Bayside, Queens, New York. Mr. Dippel has assisted thousands of clients throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester with their wills, probate, trusts, real estate and business matters. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Dippel has taught real estate courses in Long Island University’s paralegal program. He is also a licensed real estate instructor and has taught real estate licensing courses in the New York Metropolitan area. Mr. Dippel is admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the Federal Eastern and Southern District Courts.
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