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Wm. T. Follis, LLC, Realtors
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-734-5850
info@follisrealtors.com

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Living Trusts

Estate planners often recommend Living Trusts as a viable option when contemplating the manner in which to hold title to real property. When a property is held in a Living Trust, title companies have particular requirements to facilitate the transaction. While not comprehensive, answers to many commonly asked questions are below. If you have questions that are not answered below, your title company representative may be able to assist you, however, one may wish to seek legal counsel.

Who are the parties to a Trust?

A Family Trust is a typical trust in which the Husband and Wife are the Trustees and their children are the Beneficiaries. Those who establish the trust and transfer their property into it are known as Trustors or Settlors. The settlors usually appoint themselves as Trustees and they are the primary beneficiaries during their lifetime. After their passing, their children and grandchildren usually become the primary beneficiaries if the trust is to survive, or the beneficiaries receive distributions directly from the trust if it is to close out.

What is a Living Trust?

Sometimes called an Inter-vivos Trust, the Living Trust is created during the lifetime of the Settlors (as opposed to being created by their Wills after death) and usually terminates after they die and the body of the Trust is distributed to their beneficiaries.

Can a Trust hold title to Real Property?

No, the Trustee holds the property on behalf of the Trust.

Is a Trust the best way to hold my property?

Only your attorney or accountant can answer that question. Some common reasons for holding property in a Trust are to minimize or postpone death taxes, to avoid a time consuming probate, and/or to shield property from attack by certain unsecured creditors.

What taxes can I avoid by putting my property in trust?

Married persons can usually exempt a significant part of their assets from taxation and may postpone taxes after the first of them to die passes. You should check with your attorney or accountant before taking any action.

Can I homestead property that is held in a Trust?

Yes, if the property otherwise qualifies.

Can a Trustee borrow money against the property?

A Trustee can take any action permitted by the terms of the Trust, and the typical Trust Agreement does give the Trustee the authority to borrow and encumber real property. However, not all lenders will lend on a property held in trust, so check with your lender first.

Can someone else hold title for me “in trust?”

Some people who do not wish their names to show as titleholders make private arrangements with a third party Trustee; however, such an arrangement may be illegal, and is always inadvisable because the Trustee of record is the only one who is empowered to convey, or borrow against, the property, and a Title Insurer cannot protect you from a Trustee who is not acting in accordance with your wishes despite the existence of a private agreement you have with the Trustee.

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Testimonials

Dear Kerry, Thanks for all your help and concern during the “from hell” house transactions! I also appreciate your contribution (reduced commission). It allowed me to get into this house. It’s nice to be settled and away from that isolated spot, which was great living there but terrible, alone. Merry Christmas Vicki
Thank you to Bruce Boyle for making my house selling experience so positive. Bruce went the extra mile on several occasions to assure my total satisfaction at each turn. I was kept informed of every development and included in every decision. Documents were made available for review and signature online and in person. He even stayed in the office during a blizzard to accommodate my availability to drop off paperwork and complete the numerous forms. Bruce was professional, helpful and thorough. There were no surprises and the sale closed on time at the full price. My thanks again to Bruce Boyle and the entire team at Follis Realtors. Sincerely, Dave
Jeff, we would have never found this wonderful place without you, and we didn’t have a clue as to how to buy. We owe it all to you. Thanks. Janis & Loren
Jeff Sawyer manages a rental property for me and has always taken care of all items that have come up in a timely manner. I appreciate the job he does for me and my renters do too. Michael
Jeff Sawyer has been my property manager for about 11 years. He does all the ads for new tenants; collects all rent, pays all utilities, takes care of all repairs; supplies with monthly and year end statements, etc. I would highly recommend Jeff for all phases of property management along with all real estate dealings. Brian
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