The $800K valued house in the trust is left to her 6 living children (I'm one of them) and 1 grandchild. There are no outstanding loans or leans on the property. I'm also named as co-trustee along with 2 other siblings (3 total co-trustees). We have not decided to sell the house or not. My questions are: Do I need to contact a trust attorney to change the title of the house to the 7 heirs? If so, how much time do I need to transfer title? If we decide to sell the house soon, I've heard that we don't even need to transfer title? Is this true? If so, how much time do we have to sell the house without changing title?
As a co-trustee, you have very specific duties under the law regarding notices to beneficiaries and more. You, as co-trustee, need to meet with the other named trustee and an attorney to make sure you follow all of the required rules. Then, you can, as trustees, and as long as the trust allows it, without transferring title, sell the property and distribute the proceeds.
It depends somewhat on the trust terms. You do not have to transfer the title to the heirs unless the trust requires you to do it. The trust can be the seller. It would be easier to do the sale transaction through the trust because there would be only one seller instead of seven.
DISCLAIMER: The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship or any right of confidentiality between you and the responding attorney. These responses are intended only to provide general information about perceived legal issues within the question. Each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.
The Living Trust specifies who gets what and who does what. See an Estate Plan attorney. Go to Avvo.com under Find-A-Lawyer. Good Luck.
If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. My answer is based on the limited facts presented. It doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. Use the ‘Find-A-Lawyer’ search engine at the top of this page and follow proper legal advice.
If the estate wants to sell the house, then the trustees can put the house on the market. The sale will transfer title to the new owner. But none of the beneficiaries own the house until the title is actually transferred. Also, one of the duties of the trustees is to make sure that all debts and taxes of the decedents estate are taken care of before distributing the trust assets. It is best to hire an attorney to help you with the proper administration of the estate. Given the value of the estate, it best to get help.
If you are going to sell the house, the title company can usually handle the affidavit of death and associated forms and it would be included in the escrow cost you would already be paying. I have done this on several administrations in order to save clients money.
I would suggest that you engage an attorney to assist in the administration. As others have stated, there are specific duties under the probate code and if you do not perform them, you can be personally liable.
The 3 co-trustees will need to unanimously decide on any steps for selling the house or not. First, you have to look at the language of the trust to see if if requires the sale or if you can simply deed the house from the trust to the 6 children. Having 6 owners is usually a nightmare as far as property management, repairs and handling of rental income. If you transfer it to all 6, you need to have a licensed property management company for it to be handled properly.
If the 3 co-trustees decide to sell, then proper legal paperwork has to be done to first get the property into the name of the 3 co-trustees and then another set of paperwork including a deed needs to be done to get it out of the name of the co-trustees into the name of the 7 heirs. People usually use the services of a trust attorney to have the paperwork prepared. If the house was not in a trust then a probate would be needed and mandatory attorneys fees would be about $19,000. 00.
Because there is a trust there is no probate necessary but there is still the previously described documentation which will cost attorneys fees if you have an attorney do it. However, the fees would be way much lower than $19,000.00.
There are also property tax considerations. The county tax assessor must be notified of her death within the statutory period. Also, the property taxes will go up to be based on the 800k value unless an exemption, such as the parent-child exclusion is available. The time deadlines and the forms involved are complicated so it is recommended to have an estate attorney assist in this.
The amount of time you have to sell the house may depend upon the wording of the trust. HOw long you can hold the house in trust and not sell or distribute it depends upon the wording of the trust.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline