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  • Writer's pictureCole Farrell

Understanding Property Trusts: A Beginner's Guide

Updated: Mar 28

What is a Property Trust?


A property trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds legal title to property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. The trustee is responsible for managing the property, and the beneficiaries have the right to use and benefit from the property. Property trusts can be created while the grantor is still alive or upon their death.


Trusts are a powerful tool for managing assets and protecting wealth. They are used for a variety of reasons, including estate planning, tax planning, and asset protection. There are different types of trusts, each with its own unique characteristics and uses.


1) Revocable Trusts


Revocable trusts, also known as living trusts, are trusts that can be changed or revoked by the grantor (the person who creates the trust) at any time. These trusts are often used for estate planning and to avoid probate, which is the legal process of distributing a person's assets after they die. Revocable trusts allow the grantor to retain control over their assets while they are alive and to specify how those assets will be distributed after they die.


2) Irrevocable Trusts


Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, cannot be changed or revoked once they are created. These trusts are often used for tax planning and asset protection. For example, an irrevocable trust can be used to protect assets from creditors or to reduce the grantor's estate tax liability.


3) Charitable Trusts


Charitable trusts are trusts that are set up to benefit a specific charitable organization or cause. These trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the grantor's wishes. Charitable trusts are often used for tax planning and to support a specific cause or organization.


4) Special Needs Trusts


Special needs trusts are trusts that are set up to provide for the care and support of a person with special needs. These trusts can also be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the grantor's wishes. Special needs trusts are often used to ensure that a person with special needs has the resources they need to live a comfortable life, even if the grantor is no longer able to provide for them.


5) Trusts for Children and Grandchildren


Trusts for children and grandchildren are trusts that are set up to provide for the financial well-being of a child or grandchild. These trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the grantor's wishes. Trusts for children and grandchildren are often used to provide for a child's education, to ensure that they have the resources they need to live a comfortable life, or to protect assets from creditors.



Purchasing Trust Property as Trust Property


Purchasing property that is trust property can be a bit more complex than purchasing a property that is not in a trust. However, it is still possible and can be a great option for those looking to buy property for estate planning or asset protection purposes. The general overview of the process is as follows:

  1. Determine the type of trust: The first step in purchasing a property that is trust property is to determine the type of trust that the property is held in. This will affect the terms and conditions of the purchase, as well as the legal requirements that need to be met.

  2. Review the trust document: Before making an offer on the property, it is important to review the trust document to understand the terms and conditions of the trust. This will help you understand what you can and cannot do with the property once you purchase it.

  3. Close the sale: If the offer is accepted, the next step is to close the sale. This will involve signing a purchase agreement, transferring the title of the property to the trust, and paying any closing costs.

  4. Follow Trust's rules: Once the sale is complete, it is important to follow the rules and guidelines set out in the trust document. This will ensure that the property is being used and managed in accordance with the grantor's wishes.

Removing property from a trust


The ability to remove property from a trust depends on the type of trust and the terms of the trust document. In general, revocable trusts allow the grantor to remove property from the trust at any time, while irrevocable trusts do not.

For revocable trusts, the grantor can remove property from the trust by amending the trust document or by revoking the trust entirely. This can be done at any time, as long as the grantor is still alive and has the legal capacity to do so.

Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, cannot be amended or revoked by the grantor. However, in some cases, the grantor or a beneficiary may be able to petition the court to remove property from the trust. This is typically only done in cases where the trust is no longer serving its intended purpose or where the grantor's wishes have changed.

It is also worth noting that some trusts may have specific provisions that allow for the removal of property. For example, a trust may allow for the sale of property if it is no longer needed or if the grantor's financial situation changes. Therefore, it is important to review the trust document carefully to understand the terms and conditions of the trust.

In general, the process of placing or removing property in or from a property trust can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, it is important to note that the process can be delayed by a variety of factors, such as legal issues, title disputes, or delays in obtaining necessary approvals.


It is important to note that the process of purchasing trust property may vary depending on the specific trust and the laws of the state where the property is located. It is always best to consult with a real estate attorney and a financial advisor before dealing with trust property.


In conclusion, trusts are a powerful tool for managing assets and protecting wealth. They come in different types, each with its own unique characteristics and uses.







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