In today’s financial market, many families are refinancing their homes. In the lengthy and somewhat frustrating process, lenders require homeowners to remove their home from their trust and often times, the home never gets transferred back into the trust. We urge our clients to follow through with their lenders. Be proactive. Ask the lender whether they will put the house back into their trust. If the answer is no, call us and we will prepare the necessary documents to ensure your home is protected for you and your family. Since I work in trust administration, I see too often that clients pass away, believing their home is in the trust. Mere intent to fund the trust is not enough. In California, an individual is allowed a maximum $20,000 in real property to pass outside of their trust. This means that your successor trustee will have to file a Heggstad petition in court. Though this is not a difficult task, it is an unnecessary expense for your estate. The process will cost your estate no less than $450 in court and county recording fees in addition to legal fees. Essentially, your successor trustee will have to demonstrate to the court that it was your intention to title your home in the name of your living trust. To do so, a selection of your estate planning documents will be submitted to court as well as a listing of any assets which have been transferred to the trust providing evidence of your intent. A court order will be necessary before your trustee can take control of the asset, before the property can be sold, and before your estate can be distributed. To keep your estate confidential and not in court record, to keep your estate from expending unnecessary funds and to avoid a preventable burden on your successor trustees, please ensure that your home is correctly titled in the name of your living trust.