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If your home is in a trust, can you sell it?

Here in California, owning a home is an expensive proposition, and in almost all cases it pushes the owner past the relatively low estate threshold of probate. In very simple terms, if a person owns real estate in California at all, their estate is almost certainly subject to probate upon their passing. While this is a frustrating reality, especially considering the high taxation that Californians already bear, there are some ways around this issue, including placing a home in a trust.

Once a homeowner places the property in the trust, the trust owns it, removing it from their estate. However, this comes with some complications. Because the home now belongs legally to the trust, it is more complicated to sell the home if and when the former owner chooses to do so.

The trustee who oversees the trust may usually sell the home on behalf of the trust owner, but it is important to anticipate this possibility when setting up the trust in the first place. Should the sale of the home return a profit, the trustee may use those funds to purchase a different home for the trust owner, but the ownership of the new home also remains with the trust.

If you have concerns about how to protect your estate from necessary taxation or passing through probate, setting up a trust may be a good fit for you, whether you own your home or not. Take great care to address all of these issues in detail with strong legal resources and guidance, to ensure that your rights and priorities remain secure while you build a plan to protect your property and preserve your wishes for years to come.

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