Are Living Trusts Public Record?

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A living trust allows a trust grantor to shelter assets to benefit future generations and beneficiaries of the trust grantor. The trust holds title on the trust grantor’s assets until after the trust grantor’s death. Because the trust grantor does not relinquish trust property during his lifetime, the trust grantor can buy, sell, borrow and transfer property as needed.

Identification

Living trusts are not public record. Trustees in states such as Pennsylvania are required by law to record the transfer of real estate, however. In such states, the trustee must visit the county clerk’s or county recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located and record the deed of trust. The complete deed of trust does not have to be recorded. Certain articles can be redacted to protect the trust’s private financial information.

Requirements

Trust documents must be notarized by a notary public and organized inside a trust portfolio. State laws require trustees to maintain permanent records of all trust documents during and after the trust grantor’s lifetime. Excellent record-keeping is essential in the administration of a trust, and to assist the probate court in the filing of trust documents after the trust grantor’s death.

Benefits

Recording a deed of trust can eliminate questions about the powers given to a trustee. By presenting a certified copy of a recorded deed of trust, a trustee could prove the powers granted to him by the trust grantor, such as mortgaging, selling or renting heirloom real estate to bring a return on trust assets.

Public Record

Once a deed of trust is recorded, the parties involved in the trust as well as interested third parties can visit the county clerk's office in the trust grantor’s county of residence. The individual making the request must provide the county clerk with the name of the trust and the name of the trust grantor. Most county clerks can provide a certified copy of a deed of trust for a nominal fee.

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