Here’s a call I’ve started to get recently: My aging parent has a trust but she hasn’t transferred her home into it – what can I do?

Most estate planning attorneys these days prepare a grant deed or quitclaim deed and transfer their clients’ primary residence into trust as part of their flat fee performance. In the past, however, some attorneys would prepare a quitclaim deed and instruct their client to store the deed so it could be recorded on their death. The first thing you could check out is whether a deed exists that hasn’t been recorded.

You can easily confirm whether the proprety has been transferred to the trustee by checking with the County Recorder’s office or a local realtor/title company, and asking for a copy of the “vesting deed.” In San Diego, you can even order the copy online and have it mailed to you for an extra $1 charge!

If the property is definately not transferred, and you have a Power of Attorney for your parent(s) that gives you the power to transfer real property and the power to create/modify/revoke trusts, you can act on your own to transfer the property.

If you don’t, you can work with your parents to accomplish the task. Most local attorneys will prepare and record the deed for you for a minimal fee (say, $100 – $200), which includes the recording costs and the filing of a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report.