Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee

Q: What was required for real estate to be legally transferred to a Revocable Trust in Tennessee prior to 2015?

My parents died in 2011 and 2014 respectively. They had a pour over Will and a Revocable Trust. The Revocable Trust became Irrevocable automatically upon my mother's death in 2014. The Trust does not itemize any property. It just has a generic statement that they intend for the Trust to receive all of their assets. Their real estate was still titled under their names when they each died. Now there is a dispute about the sale of a piece of real estate. Is the real estate truly a Trust asset or was it not legally transferred to the Trust since it is not itemized in the Trust and the Title was never transferred to the Trust by any Deed or other document? I need to know specifically how this would be treated prior to 2015. I already know that the law was changed in 2017.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: If the real property was never conveyed into the Trust, then it is not part of the Corpus. Was the Trust ever in effect? Without a Trustee, there is no Trust. You may be creating a title problem when it did not exist previously until you started telling the world. Hire a competent attorney .

At worst a very simple Quiet Title action could be filed and determined if there are any claimants under the asserted Trust which are not Heirs-At-Law of your Mother. Many so called Elder Law lawyers get paid to set up these types of Inter Vivos Trusts, when they are not needed as far too sophisticated for a small amount of assets, or they are not actually put into effect. Since you do not mention a trustee, the latter probably applies.

1 user found this answer helpful

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: If there was no Deed into the Trust, then it will be hard to argue the property is part of the Corpus. The Trust is not a Will, which would then need Probate. And it will be hard to prove the Trust ever came into effect, especially since only now an alleged Trustee is trying to acquire property to put into what has been an unfunded trust for several years.

Also the 3 year SOL may prevent going after the conversion of property.

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