Estate Planning 101

Adding a House to a Trust in Minnesota

In this blog post, we'll explore the ins and outs of adding a house to a trust in Minnesota. We'll delve into the benefits and drawbacks, discuss the costs involved, and provide a clear, step-by-step guide on how to navigate the process. We'll also address key topics such as estate taxes, selling a house in a trust, dealing with mortgages, refinancing, and transferring out of a trust.
April 10, 2024

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Estate planning is a critical part of securing your financial future, and one of the most effective tools in your arsenal is a trust. Trusts can help you manage your assets, protect your estate from probate, and ensure a smooth transition of property to your beneficiaries. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of adding a house to a trust in Minnesota, the benefits and drawbacks, costs, and other key considerations.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Adding a House to a Trust in Minnesota

Before you decide to add your house to a trust, it's important to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits:

  1. Avoiding Probate: One of the main advantages of a trust is that it can help avoid probate, which can be a lengthy and costly process. When you pass away, your assets can be transferred to your beneficiaries without going through probate.
  2. Privacy: Trusts offer a level of privacy that wills do not. The details of a trust are not made public, so your estate affairs remain private.
  3. Control: With a trust, you can control how and when your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries.

Drawbacks:

  1. Cost: Setting up a trust can be more expensive than creating a will. This is due to the complexity of trusts and the need for legal assistance in setting them up.
  2. Maintenance: Trusts require ongoing management, which can be time-consuming and may require professional assistance.
  3. Complexity: Trusts are more complex than wills, and the process of transferring property into a trust can be complicated.

The Process of Adding a House to a Trust in Minnesota

Adding a house to a trust in Minnesota involves several steps:

  1. Create a Trust: The first step is to create a trust document. This document outlines the terms of the trust, including who will be the trustee, who the beneficiaries are, and how the trust assets should be managed.
  2. Property Appraisal: Before transferring your property into a trust, it's a good idea to have it appraised to determine its current market value.
  3. Title Transfer: Next, you'll need to transfer the title of your house to the trust. This is done by drafting a new deed with the name of the trust as the grantee. In Minnesota, the deed must be signed in the presence of a notary public.
  4. Record the Deed: Once the deed is signed and notarized, it should be recorded with the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located.
  5. Notify Your Mortgage Lender and Insurance Company: Finally, you should notify your mortgage lender and insurance company about the change in ownership of the property.

Costs of Adding a House to a Trust in Minnesota

The costs associated with adding a house to a trust in Minnesota can vary based on several factors, including the complexity of the trust, the value of the property, and whether you hire an attorney to assist with the process.

  1. Legal Fees: The cost of setting up a trust can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on whether you use an online service or hire an attorney.
  2. Property Appraisal Fees: The cost of a property appraisal can vary, but it typically ranges from $300 to $500.
  3. Deed Preparation and Recording Fees: There will be a fee to prepare and record the new deed. This fee can vary, but it typically ranges from $100 to $250.
  4. Mortgage and Insurance Considerations: If your house has a mortgage, you'll need to notify your lender that you're transferring the property to a trust. Depending on the lender, there may be a fee associated with this. Additionally, you'll need to inform your homeowner's insurance company about the transfer.

Estate Taxes in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the few states that imposes its own estate tax. The Minnesota estate tax applies to estates valued at more than $3 million. However, the federal estate tax exemption for 2024 is $13.61 million for individuals and $27.22 million for married couples. Therefore, unless your estate exceeds these amounts, you won't have to worry about federal estate taxes.

Selling a House in a Trust in Minnesota

Selling a house in a trust in Minnesota is similar to selling a house that is not in a trust. The trustee of the trust has the authority to sell the property, and the proceeds from the sale will go into the trust. However, the trustee must act in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Adding a House with a Mortgage to a Trust in Minnesota

If your house has a mortgage, you can still add it to a trust. However, you should notify your mortgage lender about the transfer. Some lenders may require you to refinance your mortgage upon the transfer of the property into a trust.

Refinancing a House in a Trust in Minnesota

Refinancing a house that is in a trust can be a bit more complex than refinancing a house that is not in a trust. However, it is possible. You may need to temporarily remove the property from the trust in order to refinance the mortgage.

Transferring a House out of a Trust in Minnesota

If you wish to remove your house from a trust, you can do so by preparing a new deed that transfers the property from the trust to your personal name or to a new owner. The deed must be signed, notarized, and then recorded with the county recorder's office.