Pennsylvania Trustee Deed

Trustee Deed for Real Estate Located in Pennsylvania

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Title 20, Chapter 77 of the Pennsylvania Statutes governs trusts in the State of Pennsylvania.

A trust is a wealth management tool commonly used in estate planning. There are three main parties to a trust: the settlor, who funds the trust by conveying assets into it; the trustee, who administers the trust and controls its assets; and the beneficiary, who has a present or future interest in the trust (P.S. 7703). Note that a sole trustee cannot also be the sole beneficiary (P.S. 7732(a)(5)).

Under a trust, the acting trustee manages the trust as directed by the settlor. This arrangement works, in part, because the trustee holds what amounts to a proxy title to the trust's assets. If the trust contains real property that the settlor wishes to sell, the trustee executes and records a document called a trustee's deed to transfer the title to the grantee/buyer -- the settlor is not identified in the transaction.

In most cases, trustee's deeds are modified quitclaim or special warranty deeds. Quitclaim deeds contain no warranties of title, and special warranty deeds only offer the grantee protection against title claims originating while grantor controlled the property. Generally, a trustee uses a quitclaim deed if the settlor and grantee are close relatives (spouses, parent to child, etc.). A trustee of a living trust might also use a quitclaim deed to transfer property out of the trust and to himself as an individual. Third-party purchasers might require a special warranty deed in order to obtain a mortgage or title insurance.

Besides fulfilling the requirements for all instruments affecting real property in the State of Pennsylvania (tax parcel number, legal description, prior deed information, certificate of residence, and so on), the trustee's deed names the trustee as the grantor and gives the date and the name of the trust under which the trustee is acting. A certificate of trust is sometimes included to verify the trust's existence and the trustee's authority to act on behalf of the trust. As with other instruments, the deed must be signed and acknowledged in the presence of a notary, then recorded in the county where the property is situated.

Trust law can be thorny, and each situation is unique. Consult an attorney with specific questions or for complicated circumstances.

(Pennsylvania TD Package includes form, guidelines, and completed example)

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