Facts: An owner of real estate executes a restatement of their revocable trust appointing themselves as trustee, executing a will and granting by declaration in the trust their right, title and interest in their personally-owned real estate to the trust. The trust does not describe the parcels with specific identifying information. The owner dies. A lender attempts to collect from the estate on a promissory note executed by the owner to finance personal property.
Claim: The co-trustees seek to confirm the owner’s parcels are part of the trust’s assets, claiming the transfer is valid since a written declaration of trust by the trustee as owner of the real estate is sufficient to convey the parcels to the trust and thus, removing the parcels from the estates assets.
Counterclaim: The lender seeks to collect on the promissory note by invalidating the transfer of the real estate to the trust claiming the lack of a property description in the trust is not legally sufficient to transfer the parcels to the trust.
Holding: A California court of appeals holds the owner properly conveyed their parcels to the trust since the written declaration by the owner of the parcels as trustee is sufficient to convey property to the trust, thus protecting its assets from the lender. [Ukkestad v. RBS Asset Finance, Inc (2015) 235 CA4th 156]