Can My California Trust Hold Title to Real Estate?

There are a few different popular reasons why people in California turn to living trusts as an estate planning tool. First of all, a revocable trust gives you the option to change this strategy or eliminate the trust entirely as you choose during your lifetime. Secondly, trusts add a layer of privacy surrounding your estate planning intentions. Thirdly, they give you more control over how your assets get transferred, meaning you can align your individual beneficiary goals with specific trust provisions.

When it comes to getting all those benefits in a trust, you want to make sure that property is fully removed from your personal estate and put into the trust whenever possible. This leads to a common question asked to our estate planning lawyers of, “Can my trust hold the title to my real estate property?”

The general answer to this question is no and that’s supported by a recent California appellate court decision from a San Francisco case brought under rent control ordinances. In that case, the local ordinance requires that only natural person owners can evict tenants from a home for the purpose of using that same property for the owner’s family. In Superior Court, the judge ruled in favor of the tenants saying that the property was owned by a living trust rather than people.

However, the Court of Appeal reversed that decision saying that the title was actually held by the property owners, not the trust itself. Since a trust is a fiduciary relationship associated with proper rather than an entity that can hold title to property, it’s important to be clear about how you can and cannot use trusts to accomplish your estate strategies. Make sure you work directly with a Pasadena, CA trust and estates lawyer to create your own strategy with the use of a trust.

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