Selling a House in a Trust After Death or Before (Irrevocable & Revocable)

Selling a house in a trust after death or before death is incredibly challenging for both executors and beneficiaries, whether there’s an irrevocable trust or a revocable trust.

It’s a heavy burden, especially amid the grief, as understanding all the complexities of the procedures only intensifies the stress. 

With expert support, navigating this intricate process becomes clearer, enabling families to transition assets smoothly, and bringing much-needed peace of mind.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, this guide should go some length to ease the burden a little bit.

Can You Sell a House With a Deed of Trust?

Yes, you can still sell a house with a deed of trust. When selling trust property, the presence of a deed of trust does not necessarily hinder the process. However, navigating this process requires careful attention to legal procedures. Ensuring all obligations linked to the trust are met is crucial.

If you find yourself in this situation, especially when selling inherited property in California, our expert team at SoCal Home Buyers can guide you through the complexities. Contact us today for a hassle-free sale! 

Can You Sell a House in an Irrevocable Trust?

Absolutely, you do have the option to sell a house held within an irrevocable trust, but there’s a catch – the sale proceeds must stay within the trust. Irrevocable trusts cannot be altered without the consent of beneficiaries. The trustee, who manages the trust, has the authority to initiate the sale.

Can you sell a house in a revocable trust?

Yes, you can sell a house in a revocable trust, and there’s no need to seek anyone’s permission until your passing. A revocable trust allows the grantor (owner) to maintain control over the assets during their lifetime and provides clear instructions for a seamless transition.

This method often bypasses the need to sell a house in probate, saving time and resources for the beneficiaries.

Selling a House in a Trust After Death

When selling a trust property after the owner’s passing, the property is typically transferred to beneficiaries outlined in the trust document.

So, what happens to the house in trust after death? The sale process requires adherence to the trust’s guidelines to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. 

Executors or trustees handle the sale, aiming to maximize the property’s value for beneficiaries. It’s crucial to follow the trust’s instructions meticulously, addressing any outstanding debts or taxes.

Selling a House in a Trust Before Death

When selling a property in a trust before the grantor’s passing, the grantor can manage and sell the property without hindrance. This flexibility allows for strategic decisions based on market conditions and personal circumstances.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The trustee, acting on behalf of the trust, can still handle the sale.
  2. The proceeds stay in the trust until the grantor’s passing, enabling careful financial planning.
  3. There’s an option for a smooth transition, too – the grantor can transfer the title from the trustee to themselves before selling.

After selling, the grantor can re-invest in a new trust, ensuring asset preservation. It’s a straightforward process – far less complicated than dealing with property sales after the grantor’s demise.

How Long Does a Trustee Have to Sell a House?

In the case of a revocable trust, including houses, a general guideline suggests assets should be distributed or sold within 12-18 months. However, the timeline can vary based on trust provisions and legal procedures. Trustees are expected to act diligently, keeping beneficiaries informed throughout the process. 

Inheriting a house with siblings? Check out our guide on how to deal with this property.

How to Sell a House in a Trust

Whether you’re a trustee, executor, or beneficiary, selling a house held within a trust involves a specific set of procedures:

  1. Review Trust Documents: Carefully examine the trust documents to understand the guidelines set forth by the grantor. Ensure you have the legal authority to sell the property and identify any specific instructions regarding the sale.
  2. Select a Trustee: If you’re not the designated trustee, appoint a trustworthy individual or professional trustee to oversee the sale process. The trustee will handle negotiations, paperwork, and coordination with real estate professionals. 
  3. Appraise the Property: Obtain a professional appraisal of the property’s value, especially in situations involving selling a rental property. An accurate valuation is essential for setting the right sale price and attracting potential buyers.
  4. Prepare the Property: Make necessary repairs and improvements to enhance the property’s appeal. A well-maintained home is more likely to attract buyers and fetch a competitive price.
  5. Market the Property: Utilize real estate agents, online listings, and local advertising to market the property effectively. 
  6. Negotiate and Accept Offers: Work closely with your real estate agent to negotiate offers from potential buyers. Once a suitable offer is made, review it with the trustee and, if agreed upon, accept the offer in writing. 
  7. Complete Legal Paperwork: Prepare the necessary legal documents for the sale. This includes transfer deeds, disclosures, and any additional paperwork required by local regulations. Ensure compliance with trust provisions. 
  8. Close the Sale: Coordinate with a real estate attorney or escrow company to facilitate the closing process. Complete the transaction, transfer ownership, and ensure the sale proceeds are deposited into the trust as specified. 
  9. Distribute Proceeds: If the trust specifies the distribution of funds, follow the instructions precisely, especially in situations involving siblings contesting a trust in California. Distribute the sale proceeds to beneficiaries or reinvest them in accordance with the trust’s guidelines.
  10. Maintain Records: Keep detailed records of the sale, including contracts, receipts, and communication with involved parties. Organized documentation is vital for legal compliance and potential future audits. 

Additional reading: should I sell my rental property

How to Sell a Property Held in an Irrevocable Trust

Irrevocable trusts, designed to offer specific tax benefits and asset protection, often involve stringent rules and legal intricacies.

Whether you’re dealing with the sale of the property before or after the grantor’s passing, understanding the distinct laws and nuances is crucial. 

Here, we’ll explore what to expect when selling property held in an irrevocable trust:

Selling a House in an Irrevocable Trust After Death

As the trustee following the grantor’s passing, strict adherence to fiduciary duties is paramount. This involves:

  • Following the trust’s guidelines meticulously
  • Notifying beneficiaries, and
  • Obtaining necessary approvals for the property sale

One of the significant advantages of irrevocable trusts is probate avoidance. It is crucial to ensure that the property sale maintains this benefit, saving valuable time and costs associated with probate proceedings.

In addition, understanding the tax implications is vital, especially capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes that might apply.

After the successful sale, the trustee must distribute the proceeds according to the trust’s instructions. Transparent communication with beneficiaries throughout the process is essential, keeping them informed about the sale and subsequent financial arrangements for a smooth transition.

Selling a House in an Irrevocable Trust Before Death

Irrevocable trusts often come with stringent guidelines and legal advice ensures compliance with trust terms and relevant laws. Additionally, the consent of the grantor might be necessary, even if they are not the trustee.

Some trusts mandate the grantor’s approval for property sales. Ensuring unanimous agreement among beneficiaries on sale terms is vital, as certain trust provisions might require it, preventing potential disputes and legal complications.

To maximize the property’s market value, meticulous preparation in line with current market trends is important. Collaborating with an experienced real estate company, like SoCal Home Buyers, can help you navigate the processes effectively.

Additional reading: can a trustee sell trust property without all beneficiaries approving

Selling Property in a Revocable Trust

Revocable trusts, often referred to as living trusts, grant individuals flexibility during their lifetime, allowing them to manage their assets seamlessly.

Here’s what you need to know when selling a property in a revocable trust before or after the grantor’s death:

Selling a Home in a Revocable Trust After Death

Selling property held in living trust after death, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable, and the successor trustee takes charge. While revocable trusts avoid probate, the successor trustee must adhere to the trust’s instructions meticulously. This includes obtaining necessary appraisals, settling outstanding debts, and navigating potential capital gains taxes. 

Clear communication with beneficiaries is paramount to prevent conflicts, and distributing the proceeds in line with the trust’s directives ensures a smooth transition of assets. 

Selling a Home in a Revocable Trust Before Death

Selling property held in living trust before death typically follows a straightforward path. Since the grantor retains control over the trust assets, including the property, they can initiate the sale without intricate legal hurdles. 

However, it’s essential to ensure that any transactions comply with the trust’s terms and local real estate laws. 

What Happens to the Proceeds From the Sale of a House in Trust?

Proceeds from the sale of a house held in trust are typically used to fulfill the trust’s instructions. After settling outstanding debts, taxes, and any other obligations, the remaining funds are distributed according to the trust’s terms. If the trust outlines specific beneficiaries, the proceeds are divided among them.

In cases where the trust benefits a charitable organization of a particular cause, the funds are allocated accordingly.

The trustee should ensure a transparent process, accounting for all transactions, and distribute the sale proceeds responsibly. He or she ensures it all adheres to the grantor’s wishes and legal obligations outlined in the trust document. 

Tax Implications of Selling a House in a Trust After Death

When selling a house in a trust after the grantor’s passing, capital gains tax implications come into play. The property’s appreciated value may incur capital gains tax, calculated based on the difference between the sales price and the property’s value at the grantor’s death. 

However, assets within the trust often receive a step-up in basis, reducing potential tax liabilities. This is where consulting tax professionals becomes a must to ensure compliance with current tax laws and leveraging available exemptions and deductions.  

Tax Implications of Selling a House in a Trust Before Death

On the other hand, selling a house before the grantor’s death can offer tax advantages. In this case, the grantor can utilize their primary residence exclusion, exempting a portion of the capital gains from taxes if the property was their primary residence. 

Additionally, by transferring the property to an irrevocable trust, the grantor may mitigate estate taxes. However, legal and financial consultation is vital, as specific rules and exemptions apply. 

Final Points on Selling Property in a Trust

To sum up, selling a house in trust, whether it’s an irrevocable or revocable trust, involves many complicated steps and legal rules. Before and after the grantor’s passing, these processes demand you to carefully follow the trust’s guidelines. 

In irrevocable trusts, it’s crucial to follow fiduciary duties, especially during sales after the person who made the trust passes away. Avoiding probate and understanding taxes is essential to distribute the money fairly based on the trust’s rules.

Revocable trusts offer flexibility for the person who made the trust, allowing them to manage assets and property smoothly. Selling before their passing allows for strategic tax planning by using exemptions. After their passing, it’s vital to follow trust rules, consider capital gains taxes, and communicate openly with beneficiaries.

All through these steps, getting advice from legal and money experts is very important. They help you follow the changing tax rules, get the most benefits, and make sure everything goes smoothly. 

If you’re finding all this tricky and are local to South California, our team at SoCal Home Buyers is here to help. Just contact us for a smooth sale and expert help with all the complicated parts of selling a house in trust.

YouTube video
Doug & Andrea Van Soest | SoCal Home Buyers


Can a Trustee Sell Property in Irrevocable Trust?

Yes, a trustee can sell property held in an irrevocable trust. However, the sale must comply with the terms outlined in the trust document. Also, the proceeds typically remain within the trust and it should benefit the beneficiaries according to the trust’s instructions. 

Can a Beneficiary of a Trust Sell the Property?

A beneficiary cannot directly sell trust property unless they are also designated as trustees or given explicit authority in the trust document. The authority to sell typically rests with the trustee, who must follow the trust’s guidelines and obtain necessary approvals from beneficiaries and other involved parties.

Similar Posts