So, you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need to sell a house owned by a trust. You may be the trustee or a beneficiary. Either way, you’re feeling overwhelmed right now. I get it.

Selling a house is already a big undertaking, but when you add a trust into the mix? Things can get complicated fast. But don’t worry; Austin All Cash is here to walk you through it.

In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about selling a house owned by a trust. We’ll cover the different types of trusts, the legal and tax implications, and the step-by-step process of getting that house sold. Ready? Let’s do this.

Selling a House Owned by a Trust

Understanding Trusts and Real Estate

Trusts are powerful tools for estate planning, protecting assets, and ensuring they’re distributed according to your wishes. Understanding how trusts work with property is crucial if you’re a real estate investor like me.

Types of Trusts

There are two main types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, allows you to maintain control over the assets while alive. You can change the terms, add or remove assets, or even dissolve the trust entirely.

On the flip side, an irrevocable trust is much more rigid. Once you transfer assets into an irrevocable trust, you relinquish control. The terms can’t be easily changed, and you can’t return the assets.

Role of Trusts in Estate Planning

So, why would you want to put your real estate in a trust? Two big reasons are to avoid probate and protect your assets.

When you pass away, your estate typically goes through probate – a legal process that can be time-consuming and expensive. But if your property is in a trust, it can bypass probate entirely and be distributed to your beneficiaries much faster.

Trusts can also help protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, and estate taxes. You’re removing your real estate from your estate by transferring it into an irrevocable trust. This can be a smart move if you’re in a high-risk profession or worried about future liabilities.

Trustee Responsibilities in Selling a House

TrusteeLet’s say you’ve put your house in a trust, and it’s time to sell. As the trustee, you have some essential responsibilities to consider.

Acting in Beneficiaries’ Best Interest

Your number one duty as a trustee is to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries. This means getting the property’s best price and handling the sale process fairly and transparently.

I’ve seen cases where trustees tried to lowball the sale price or steer the deal toward a friend or family member. That’s a big no-no. You have a fiduciary duty to put the beneficiaries’ interests first, even if it means passing up a personal opportunity.

Obtaining Necessary Approvals

Depending on the trust document’s terms, you may need approval from the beneficiaries or even a court before selling the house.

This is where working with an experienced estate attorney is critical. They can help you navigate the legal requirements and ensure you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s.

In some cases, you may need unanimous consent from all the beneficiaries. In others, a majority vote may suffice. If the trust is particularly complex or there’s disagreement among the beneficiaries, you may need to petition a court for approval.

Legal Considerations in Selling a House Owned by a Trust

Speaking of legal requirements, you’ll need some key documents when selling a house owned by a trust.

Required Documentation

First and foremost, you’ll need a copy of the trust agreement. This document lays out the terms of the trust, including who the beneficiaries are and what powers the trustee has.

You’ll also need a certification of trust, a shortened version of the trust agreement that verifies its existence and key terms without revealing private details. This document is typically used to prove to third parties, like a title company or real estate agent, that the trust is valid and you have the authority to sell the property.

Other documents may include a death certificate if the original trustee has passed away and any court orders or beneficiary approvals related to the sale.

Financial Implications and Tax Considerations

Capital Gains TaxOf course, selling a house owned by a trust also comes with some critical financial and tax considerations.

Capital Gains Tax

One of the most significant factors is capital gains tax. If the trust sells the property for more than purchased, the difference is considered a capital gain and may be subject to taxation.

The tax implications will depend on various factors, including whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable, how long the property was held, and what the proceeds are used for. In some cases, the trust may pay the capital gains tax. In others, it may pass through to the beneficiaries.

Estate Tax Considerations

Estate taxes may also apply significantly if the value of the trust’s assets exceeds the federal or state exemption amounts. While putting property in a trust can help minimize estate taxes, it’s not a cure-all.

Again, the specific implications will depend on the type of trust and its terms. An irrevocable trust, for example, may be subject to its estate tax if it generates income that isn’t distributed to the beneficiaries.

Working with Real Estate Professionals

Navigating the legal and financial complexities of selling a house owned by a trust is no easy feat. That’s why working with experienced professionals, such as Austin All Cash Home Buyers, who can guide you through the process is so important.

Choosing an Experienced Agent

Regarding real estate agents, look for someone with experience with trust sales. They should understand the unique challenges and requirements involved and be able to advise you on everything from pricing to marketing to negotiation.

I’ve worked with agents who specialize in trust and probate sales, and it makes a world of difference. They know what questions to ask, what documents to request, and how to keep the sale smoothly.

Some essential qualities to look for:

  • Experience with trust sales in your specific area
  • Knowledge of the legal and tax implications involved
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with trustees, beneficiaries, and attorneys

Steps Involved in Selling a House Owned by a Trust

Austin Inherited House

So, what does the actual process of selling a house owned by a trust look like? Here’s a high-level overview:

  1. Consult with an experienced trust attorney and tax professional to understand the legal and financial implications of the sale.
  2. Obtain necessary approvals from beneficiaries or court (if required by trust terms).
  3. Choose a real estate agent or house buyer experienced in handling properties owned by trusts.
  4. Prepare the property for sale if necessary, or agree to sell as-is
  5. Identify the chosen property investor, having undertaken background checks or accept an offer from a buyer
  6. Negotiate terms and accept an offer contingent on any required approvals.
  7. Open escrow and provide necessary trust documentation to the escrow company, including certification of trust and any beneficiary or court approvals.
  8. Complete inspections, appraisal, and any other contingencies.
  9. Review and sign closing documents, including deed and tax forms.
  10. Distribute proceeds from sale according to trust terms and pay any necessary capital gains or estate taxes.

Communication and transparency are essential throughout the selling process. Keep beneficiaries informed of progress and any important decisions, and work closely with your legal and financial advisors to ensure everything is handled correctly.

Selling a house owned by a trust can be complex, but with the right team in your corner, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By understanding the legal and financial implications involved and following these key steps, you can ensure a smooth and successful sale while fulfilling your duties as a trustee.

Key Takeaway:

Trusts help avoid probate and protect assets. Trustees must act in the beneficiaries’ best interests, get necessary approvals, and handle legal requirements when selling property owned by a trust. Consult experienced professionals for smooth transactions.

Sold House In Trust


Selling a house owned by a trust can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can successfully navigate the sale by understanding the type of trust you’re dealing with, working with experienced professionals, and staying organized throughout the process.

Remember, the key is to act in the trust beneficiaries’ best interest and communicate clearly with all parties involved. With patience and perseverance, you’ll have that house sold in no time.