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How to Sell an Inherited Home Held in a Trust

by Alexander Harris

If the house you inherited is held in a trust, you will need to work with the trustee to sell it. For the most part, selling a home held in a trust is not too different from selling a home that you own outright. A sale of an inherited house can be accomplished in two ways. One method is for the trustee to conduct the sale of the property and the proceeds will become assets of the trust. Another option is for the trustee to transfer title of the property to your own name so that you can sell the property yourself.

Selling The Home With Trustee

Review the trust documents to verify that the trustee has the power to sell the property. Typically, a provision granting the trustee the power to sell will be included in the trust document. If no power is explicitly granted, most courts will agree that the power is implied unless stated otherwise within the trust document.

Direct the trustee to hire a real estate agent who will list the home for sale. The real estate agent will want to see the trust documents to confirm that the house can be sold and that the trustee is authorized to conduct the sale.

Prove to the title company that the trust is valid and that the trustee is identified as such by the trust document. In addition to the trust document, the title company may also require a Certification of Trust signed by the trust attorney, a death certificate of the trust creator and a tax ID number.

Close a purchase agreement with the buyer. This requires the signature of the trustee. Funds from the sale become assets of the trust, which the trustee can then distribute to you or leave in the trust account for safekeeping.

Selling The Home Without The Trustee

Review the trust documents to ensure that no provisions exist that prevent the trustee from transferring title of the property to your name. If no restrictions exist, the trustee has the discretionary power to transfer the asset to the beneficiary.

Request that the trustee transfer title of the home to your name. While the trustee has the power to do so, the trustee is not required to. It is up to the trustee to determine the best course of action for the trust.

Transfer the deed of trust for the home into your name. This step requires the cooperation of the trustee. The trustee must prepare a deed form that transfers the property from the trust to your name. The trustee files the completed deed with the local property office to make it official.

Hire a real estate agent to sell your house. Proceeds from the sale will go directly to you since you hold title to the property.

Warning

  • Trusts are governed by complicated legal documents. It is advisable to consult an attorney to review your trust before engaging in a sale of the property.

About the Author

Currently living in Austin, Texas, Alexander Harris is a business journalist covering the self storage industry for SpareFoot.com and SelfStorage.com. Harris previously wrote daily news for RichmondBizSense.com, a business journal in his hometown of Richmond, Va. His work has appeared in various other publications including "Philadelphia Citypaper," Stateline.org, "RVA Magazine" and the "Virginian-Pilot." Harris holds a mass communications degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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