How to Transfer Property into a Living Trust in California

Transferring your real property into a living trust is a way to control the asset when you are alive but give your property to your desired beneficiary after you die. People in California can easily transfer their real property into a living trust, but they do not know how.  

Are you in California and want to transfer your property into a living trust and don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry; our article has a complete guide on how you can transfer a property into a living trust in California. 

This article has all the information you need to transfer your property, and it will surely help you in the best way possible. Our guide will tell you why you should transfer your property into a living trust and who can benefit from the living trust. Also, at the end of this article, we have answered all your questions about creating a living trust.

Transferring property has a complete process where you must do a few things to transfer your property to your desired beneficiary. The trust gives the person proper control of the assets while alive, but it sets the conditions for distribution to beneficiaries after the person’s death.

A person needs to create and sign a fresh deed, transferring ownership to add real estate, a person’s property, to your living trust. The required deeds must be filed when the trust is created to ensure that the property is transferred successfully.

If the required deeds are frequently not filed after the trust has been created, then your assets are still subject to the probate court and associated costs. The property might not ultimately go to the intended beneficiary. 

What is a Living Trust?

How to Transfer Property into a Living Trust in California

A living trust is a legal document agreement that, like a will, enables you to designate who will receive your assets and possessions when you pass away. The assets you place in a living trust are “owned” by the trust while still being under your authority and control. Most assets can be included in a living trust as long as they contain worth.

How to Transfer Property into a Living Trust in California

It could be done in the following ways;

Change the ownership of bank accounts and investments.

  • Contact your bank to transfer your bank account. Every bank has a different criterion for transferring your bank account.
  • The Certificate of Trust must be finished.
  • The bank completes the transfer of ownership.

Change the beneficiary designation on insurance policies.

When transferring the property, you need to change the beneficiary designation on the insurance policy.

What you have to do is, you need to change the beneficiary designation on the insurance policy. You need permission to amend your insurance if you have an irrevocable beneficiary. Thanks to a power of attorney, someone else may have the right to change your beneficiaries change the beneficiary designation on retirement accounts.

If you are choosing an IRA beneficiary, a trust can also be chosen for it. This is preferable to choose the trust as an IRA beneficiary rather than designating a person.

Whenever a trust is designated as the beneficiary of an IRA, the trust takes ownership of the IRA upon the owner’s death. After that, the IRA is managed as a distinct account that will belong to the trust.

Create trust while you are still alive:

You have to create trust before your death. The trust has to be created by the grantor when he is alive.

Transfer title to the property while you are still alive

Whenever a current owner passes away, the property can be instantly transferred to a new owner who is the beneficiary using the California TOD deed forms, avoiding the requirement for probate. 

Moreover, it allows the present owner to control the property when he is alive, including the freedom to reconsider the transfer.

After your death, the trustee will handle your estate

Once you are dead, the living trust will become irrevocable. What it means is that the person you name to be your trustee now comes in and hands over your property to your desired beneficiary you named in the trust.

Why Transfer Property into a Living Trust?

People put a property into a trust for two major reasons. First and foremost, they want to avoid the drawn-out, painful, and costly probate court procedure so their families can inherit their property. Instead, soon after they pass away, their residence might be quietly transferred to their heirs.

The second justification has to do with preparing for disability. Contrary to popular belief, effective estate planning also considers disability when making arrangements for the future. You will designate a replacement trustee when you establish a living trust. When you pass away, they are in charge of transferring your assets to your heirs.

If you become incompetent and unable to speak, they are also accountable for intervening and taking over the property management in your trust. You may make sure that perhaps one of your most valuable possessions will be managed, controlled, and taken care of by a trusted individual if you become handicapped by putting your home into a trust.

How to Create a Living Trust in California?

How to Transfer Property into a Living Trust in California
  • Make a list of your resources.
  • Select a trustee.
  • Decide on your beneficiaries.
  • Make a copy of your Declaration of Trust.
  • Think about signing your trust agreement in the presence of a registrar.
  • Transfer the property into the trust

Who can benefit from a Living Trust?

A trust, in its most basic form, is a legal agreement wherein property or assets are transferred from a single individual (the “settlor”) to the individual (the “trustee”) to keep the property for the benefit of a certain group of people (the “beneficiaries”).

The contrast between the legal and official of the property, the trustee, and the individuals who utilize or benefit from the property, the beneficiaries, results in a trust’s potential, positive and practical benefits.

Pro & Cons of Living Trust 


  • It might make probate less likely. On the passing of the trust founder, property transmitted or transferred through a living trust is exempt from the probate procedure.
  • Probate avoidance may have tax advantages, and it will save time, cost, and uncertainty over the property. 
  • There is more privacy; in some circumstances, a living trust might reduce the aggregate taxes related to an individual’s personal property. 
  • A living trust, unlike a will, typically is not made a public record
  • There might be constitutional safeguards. A legally binding textual agreement is made available by establishing a living trust. The trust paperwork serves as proof of the creator’s purposes and intentions if someone contests the transfer. A living trust is often more challenging to contest than a will because the testator is still alive.


  • There is little coverage. Unlike a will, a living trust may not always cover all the estates. A power of attorney might be required; thus, the living trust forms should always be highly comprehensive when specifying the property included.
  • Perhaps a power of attorney is required. A durable power of attorney could still be required even if the setup of the living trust is done. This would be required since a subsequent trustee might not have the power to control and manage assets outside the trust.
  • There can be misunderstanding and confusion if the living trust conditions clash with those of other legal papers, such as trust documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to transfer a deed to a trust in California?

To transfer the deed to trust in California will cost 150 dollars per property.

Can you transfer properties into a trust?

Yes, we can transfer properties into trusts. However, to do so for property, a new document that reflects the name of the trust must be signed, notarized, and filed with the local or county recorder in the county where the property is situated. It is necessary to carefully ensure that the new document contains the same legal description as the original and existing document.

Does a living trust need to be recorded in California?

Living trusts are not documented or recorded anywhere in California if they do not contain title to real estate property. Therefore even after a person’s passing, the agreement is kept confidential. In a trust portfolio, the trustee maintains and keeps a record of every item owned by the trust.

How much does setting up a living trust in California cost to set up?

It will probably cost under $100 when you do it yourself using a book or online instruction that you purchase. DIY estate planning has its drawbacks. However, the expense of hiring an expert is a drawback. It can cost more than $1,000 to have an attorney create your trust documents for you.

What is the downside of a living trust?

The expense involved in establishing a living trust is one of its main drawbacks. Most frequently, this calls for legal counsel. While some people think having trust eliminates the need for a will, this isn’t always the case.

Can I do my living trust in California?

You can, indeed. All you are required to establish your trust as legally binding in California is to sign and submit the trust agreement. That is it. Your documentation does not require examining or notarizing to be valid. To assist in validating their signature and the documentation, sometimes people opt to sign in front of a notary public.

How do you transfer assets to a trust?

To transfer property into a trust, a new document that reflects the name of the trust must be signed, notarized, and filed with the local or county recorder in the county where the property is situated. It is necessary to carefully ensure that the new document contains the same legal description as the original and existing document.

What assets should not be included in a living trust?

  • Qualified retirement accounts 
  • Health saving accounts (HSAs)
  • Medical saving accounts (MSAs)
  • Uniform Transfers to Minors (UTMAs)
  • Uniform Gifts to Minors (UGMAs)
  • Life insurance
  • Motor vehicles


Comments are closed.