There are many approaches to transferring your home into your Living Trust. Remember, your home is most likely to be your largest asset. If your home is not IN your Living Trust, your Living Trust is useless with respect to your home.
A Living Trust is a private document that allows for the private management of the assets placed into the Living Trust. If the assets are not placed into the Living Trust, then those appointed to manage those assets have nothing to manage. Those appointed to manage are called your successor trustees.
Anyway, it is easy to transfer your home into your Living Trust in California.
1. You prepare a grant deed transferring title of your home from you to your Living Trust. You sign it in the presence of a notary and record it with the county recorder's office where the home is located.
2. You prepare a trust transfer deed. It's the same concept as a grant deed above. You sign it in the presence of a notary and record it.
3. You prepare a quitclaim deed transferring your home into your Living Trust. You sign it in the presence of a notary. You keep it in your book or with your other estate planning documents. Upon your death, your loved ones or successor trustee locates this quitclaim deed and records it. The home is in the trust if it has not been sold or conveyed to another person in the meantime.
There are variations of the above. Say you are managing someone's trust, you find a signed and notarized grant deed, but it has not been recorded. If it was signed when the homeowner and the person who created the Living Trust was alive, you may be able to record the grant deed after his or her death. This will still allow the Living Trust to hold title to the home. There's more issues and things to be careful about with recording after someone dies, but it can be done.
My experience has been that Living Trusts that were prepared years ago in the late 70s and early 80s by attorneys used quitclaim deeds to be recorded later. Most attorneys today do not take this approach and will help you prepare a grant deed and record it for you.
Now that being said, some attorneys will not help you transfer title of your home into your Living Trust. This amazes me because it is so easy for me to do and it is usually the most important thing to do in order to make your Living Trust useful upon your death or incapacity.
Be sure to ask the estate planning attorney you are planning to hire if they will take care of the transfer for you.