Dynasty TrustRevocable Living Trust

Should I Put My House in a Trust? Reasons Why in Arizona

Should I Put My House in a Trust in Arizona

Should You Put Your House in a Trust in Arizona? Essential Insights for Homeowners

Learn how adding your house to a trust can help you bypass the probate process and avoid probate court. Find out how an experienced Arizona estate planning attorney can guide you through this crucial step in securing your family's future.

As a homeowner in Arizona, you’ve worked hard to build equity in your property and create a comfortable living space for you and your family. But have you considered what will happen to your home after you’re gone? Placing your house in a trust can help avoid probate and probate costs, reducing the financial burden on your heirs.

Many people assume that their house will simply pass to their heirs without complication, but the reality can be far more complex and costly. This is where putting your house in a trust comes into play – a strategic move that can save your loved ones time, money, and stress during an already difficult period.

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets, including your home, to a separate entity. By placing your house in a trust, you’re taking a proactive step to protect your property and ensure it’s distributed according to your wishes. This legal tool offers numerous benefits, chief among them the ability to avoid the often lengthy and expensive probate court process that typically follows a person’s passing.

In Arizona, where property values have seen significant increases in recent years, the importance of proper estate planning cannot be overstated. Whether you own a modest family home in Chandler, a retirement property in Scottsdale, or a vacation home in Sedona, placing your real estate in a trust can provide you with peace of mind and your beneficiaries with a smoother transition of assets.

In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why you should consider putting your house in a trust, the benefits it offers, and how to get started with this crucial aspect of estate planning.

Putting A House Into A Trust - How Does It Work?

Putting your house into a trust in Arizona involves a process known as transferring the title using a deed. Essentially, you’re changing the legal ownership of the property from your name to that of the trust.

This is typically done by creating a new deed that lists the trust as the property owner, then recording this deed with your county recorder’s office. It’s important to note that this transfer doesn’t affect your ability to live in the home, sell it, or refinance it – you maintain control as the trustee of your own trust, assuming you created a revocable living trust with an experienced estate planning attorney. In many cases, you may be both the grantor and the trustee, which means you retain full control over the property and its income tax records.

The type of trust most commonly used for this purpose is a revocable living trust. As the name suggests, this trust can be altered or revoked during your lifetime, giving you flexibility as your circumstances change.

When you create the trust, you’ll name yourself as the trustee and designate successor trustees who will manage the trust after your passing. You’ll also specify the beneficiaries who will inherit the property.

By placing your house in this type of trust, you’re essentially creating a roadmap for how you want your property handled, both during your lifetime and after you’re gone. This setup allows for a smooth transition of ownership without the need for probate court involvement.

Putting A House Into A Trust- Why Do People Do it?

People choose to put their houses into trusts for several compelling reasons, with avoiding probate being the primary motivation. Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate is settled, and it can be time-consuming, expensive, and public.

By placing your house in a trust, you ensure that it bypasses this process entirely. This means your beneficiaries can receive their inheritance more quickly and with less hassle, often within weeks instead of the months or even years that probate can take. Additionally, avoiding probate keeps your estate matters private, as trust administrations don’t become part of the public record like probate proceedings do.

Another significant reason people opt for this strategy is the control it offers. A trust allows you to specify exactly how and when your assets should be distributed. This can be particularly beneficial if you have minor children, beneficiaries with special needs, or concerns about a beneficiary’s financial responsibility. A trust also allows for the clear designation of intended beneficiaries, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes without the need for Probate Court intervention.

Trusts also offer flexibility in managing your affairs if you become incapacitated. Your successor trustee can step in to manage the trust assets, including your home, without the need for court intervention. Moreover, for individuals with larger estates, certain types of trusts can provide tax benefits, helping to minimize estate taxes and preserve more of your wealth for your heirs. Trusts can also protect assets by minimizing taxes and providing protection for assets left to children and grandchildren in the event of legal or financial challenges, such as divorce, lawsuits, or poor money management.

How to Put Your House in a Trust

The process of putting your house in a trust in Arizona begins with creating the trust itself. This typically involves working with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can draft a trust document tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Once the trust is established, you’ll need to transfer ownership of your home to the trust through a new deed. This deed, usually a quitclaim deed or special warranty deed, effectively changes the legal owner of the property from you as an individual to you as the trustee of your trust.

After preparing the new deed, it must be properly executed and recorded with the county recorder’s office where your property is located. It’s crucial to ensure that all necessary legal requirements are met during this process, including having the deed notarized and paying any required fees. A significant advantage of placing your house in a trust is asset protection, as it can safeguard your assets from creditors and the Medicaid estate recovery program.

Additionally, you’ll need to inform your homeowner’s insurance company about the change in ownership and possibly update your policy. If you have a mortgage on the property, you may need to obtain permission from your lender before transferring the house into the trust. Making sure you do it all correctly with the help of your Arizona trust attorney is essential to avoid an acceleration event on your mortgage.

While these steps might seem daunting, a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can guide you through each stage, ensuring that your house is correctly and legally placed in your trust, providing you and your loved ones with the intended benefits and protections.

Pros And Cons of Putting Your House in a Trust in Arizona


Putting your house in a trust in Arizona offers several advantages. The primary benefit is avoiding the probate court process, which can save your heirs time, money, and stress. Trusts provide privacy, as they don’t become part of the public record like probate proceedings do. They offer greater control over asset distribution, allowing you to specify exactly how and when your beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Trusts can also provide protection against incapacity, as your successor trustee can manage the property if you’re unable to do so. For larger estates, certain trusts may offer tax benefits. Additionally, a trust can provide continuity of management for your assets and potentially protect them from creditors or legal judgments.


Despite the benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. Setting up a trust and transferring your house into it requires upfront costs and effort. You’ll likely need to pay legal fees to have the trust properly drafted and the deed transferred. There’s also ongoing responsibility in managing the trust, including potential annual paperwork (usually only applicable for an irrevocable trust).

If you have a mortgage, you’ll need to ensure the transfer doesn’t trigger an acceleration clause. Some lenders may require you to refinance the property in the trust’s name, which could lead to additional costs.

Finally, while trusts offer many benefits, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your specific circumstances, other estate planning tools might be more appropriate. That is specially important if you are planning to apply for ALTCS and Medicaid in Arizona. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced Arizona estate planning attorney to determine if putting your house in a trust is the right choice for your situation.

Will Adding My House In a Trust Avoid Probate Court?

Adding your house to a trust can indeed help avoid the probate court process, but it’s crucial to understand that this is only true for a fully funded trust. A fully funded trust means that all intended assets, including your house, have been properly transferred into the trust. Simply creating a trust without transferring assets into it won’t avoid probate.

When your house is properly placed in a trust, it becomes part of the trust’s assets rather than your personal estate. Upon your passing, the house can be distributed to your beneficiaries according to the trust’s terms, bypassing the probate court process entirely. This can save time, money, and maintain privacy for your beneficiaries.

However, it’s important to note that not all assets can or should be placed in a trust. Certain assets, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts, typically cannot be transferred into a trust during your lifetime without significant tax consequences. These assets are usually best handled through beneficiary designations. Other assets that might not be suitable for trust transfer include cars, small bank accounts, or personal property of minimal value.

For a comprehensive estate plan that fully avoids probate, you need to address these non-trust assets as well. This might involve using beneficiary designations, pay-on-death accounts, or other estate planning tools. An experienced trust attorney in AZ can help you create a strategy that combines a trust with other methods to ensure all your assets are accounted for and can avoid probate when possible.

Remember, while avoiding probate is often a goal in estate planning, it’s not the only consideration. Your estate plan should be tailored to your specific circumstances, goals, and the nature of your assets.

Talk to a Trust and Estate Attorney today in Arizona!

Don't leave your family's future to chance – contact Citadel Law Firm PLLC at (480) 565-8020 or click here to schedule your free estate planning consultation and learn how we can help protect your home and legacy through expert trust creation and estate planning.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adding a House in a Trust in Arizona

What are the disadvantages of putting your house in a trust?

Some disadvantages include potential costs for setting up and maintaining the trust, complexities in managing the trust, and possible limitations on refinancing options. Additionally, there may be ongoing administrative responsibilities, such as filing annual reports or tax returns, which can require time and effort, usually only applicable for irrevocable trusts. It’s important to weigh these factors against the benefits of having a trust.

Despite these disadvantages, one significant benefit of an irrevocable trust is asset protection. This can safeguard your assets from creditors and the Medicaid estate recovery program, making it a crucial advantage to consider.

Should I put my mortgage in a trust?

You can't put your mortgage itself in a trust, but you can place the house that has the mortgage in a trust. However, you should consult with an attorney to understand any implications, including lender policies and due-on-sale clauses. Lenders may require notification of the transfer, and in some cases, they may have specific requirements or limitations regarding properties held in trust.

What are reasons to not have a trust?

Reasons to avoid a trust may include the initial setup costs, ongoing administrative responsibilities, and the complexity of managing trust assets. Additionally, for some individuals, a simple will or other estate planning tools may be sufficient to meet their needs without the added complexity of a trust. It's essential to evaluate your specific circumstances and goals before deciding whether a trust is the right option for you. Consulting with an experienced trust attorney that also understands Elder Law to avoid losing Medicaid and ALTCS eligibility in Arizona is also recommended.

Does putting a house in trust avoid capital gains tax?

No, placing a house in a trust does not avoid capital gains tax. The trust may have tax implications, so it’s important to consult with a tax professional or attorney. However, certain types of trusts, such as a revocable living trust, can provide other benefits, like avoiding probate. For specific tax strategies, it’s crucial to seek expert advice tailored to your situation.

Is it better to gift a house or put it in a trust?

The decision depends on individual circumstances. Gifting a house can have immediate tax implications, such as gift taxes, and it may affect the recipient's cost basis for future capital gains. If the person that received the house has any credit issues, like divorce or bankruptcy, or they own many to creditors you may lose the house.

Placing a house in a trust can provide more control over the property, offer potential estate tax benefits, and help manage the distribution of assets according to your wishes. Consulting an attorney can help determine the best option for your situation and ensure that all legal and tax considerations are addressed.