A trustee’s deed transfers real property from a living trust.
Living trusts are estate planning vehicles created by a settlor during his lifetime. The trust allows the settlor to establish his intentions for how his assets will be distributed upon his incapacitation or death. To set up a trust, the settlor executes a trust instrument, a written document that, in concert with Chapter 36 of the Alaska Statutes, governs the trust. Within the document, the settlor designates a trustee – the fiduciary to whom the settlor transfers assets to fund the trust. The trustee manages the assets for the benefit of the named trust beneficiaries.
To fund the trust with real property, the settlor executes a deed transferring title to the trustee. Consequently, to transfer the property out of trust, as through sale, the trustee must execute another deed. Typically, this form of conveyance is simply called a trustee’s deed after the granting party. In Alaska, however, the trustee’s deed is most commonly a quitclaim deed.
Quit claim deeds convey any interest a grantor may have in the subject property, without offering a warranty of title. A quitclaim deed is suitable for grantors in a fiduciary role, who may not have the adequate knowledge of title prior to their trusteeship necessary to offer a warranty. Depending on the situation, however, the fiduciary may be able to offer a warranty deed (for instance, when the settlor and the trustee are the same person, and the grantee is an unrelated buyer). The level of warranty provided is reflected in the language of the deed, and has implications regarding the trustee’s personal liability in entering the transaction at hand. Consult a lawyer who can address the specific situation and determine the appropriate form to use.
All conveyances of real property in Alaska must meet requirements for form and content (see AS § 40.17.030). Regardless of the warranty offered, if any, a deed by a trustee requires the name of the trustee and the name and date of trust; the grantee’s name and vesting information; a legal description of the property subject to transfer; any relevant restrictions; and a recitation of the trustee’s source of title. Depending on the type of transaction, a trustee may be required to offer a certificate verifying the trust’s existence and his authority to enter the transaction on behalf of the trust. The deed requires signatures from each acting trustee, made in the presence of a notary public, before submitting for recording in the Alaska recording district where the property is located.
The information presented here is not meant to take the place of legal advice. Consult a lawyer with questions regarding transfers by living trusts in the State of Alaska.