Do I need a quit claim deed?

Reader wonders if she needs a quit claim deed if living trust is in place

Q: Is there any risk, concern or benefit to simply adding a child to title through a quit claim deed (not replacing homeowner on title, but adding)? This child is the beneficiary and trustee/executor of the revocable living trust already in place. Do I need a quit claim deed?

You don’t need a quit claim deed

A: The quick answer to your question is that you likely don’t need to do anything. You say you have a trust in place for your assets. This revocable living trust should already own your home if you’ve done things right.

When you set up your living trust you should have transferred ownership of your home from your names into the name of the living trust. Thus, the trust would be the owner of the home and you and your spouse would be the beneficial owners of the trust. In other words, you and your spouse would still control the property and can handle the affairs of the property as owners, but the true owner would be the living trust entity.

Living trust vs quit claim deed

Now that we’ve established that your trust has title (or should have title) to your home, there would be no need to add a child to that title. The whole purpose of a living trust is to set up an arrangement for the transfer of title to the home upon your death and the death of your spouse.

Usually the trust documents will state that upon the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse has full control and ownership of the trust and what the trust owns. The trust would go on to state that upon the death of the last of the original owners of the trust, the ownership of the trust would automatically go to your heirs in equal shares. How you decide to divide ownership of what you have left when you die is up to you. Making sure the trust spells out those wishes is the responsibility of the attorney or estate planner who helped you set up the trust.

You don’t need a quit claim deed if you have a living trust in place

Given all of this, the only thing you need to make sure of is that the title to your home has been transferred into the revocable living trust you set up. Now if, for some reason, you didn’t want to have the trust own the home, then we wonder why you went through the expense of setting up a living trust. If you simply forgot to do this final step, then talk to your estate attorney or planner to get this done. Or, if you don’t want to do this for some reason, discuss other options for transferring ownership of the home to your children once you and your spouse have passed away.

Read more about quit claim deeds:

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