As a Michigan estate planning lawyer, I see families and other attorneys do all kinds of weird things with their home. The family home is one of the assets that are mishandled the most.
For example, many families have paid thousands of dollars for a trust based estate plan, but their family will still have to go through probate because the home was never deeded to the trust. But should you deed the home directly to your revocable living trust to avoid probate? Most likely not and if you have, you've sacrificed one of the most important protections available, that is asset protection.
Tenancy by the Entities
Michigan has given married couples special protections for their home, so that if one spouse were to get sued, the home remains a protected asset. However, to maintain the protection, the home needs to be in husband and wife's name.
If the property was deed directly into the trust, then that destroys the asset protection the State of Michigan has granted married couples for their home. Many lawyers and people don't realize the protection they are destroying by deeding directly to a revocable living trust with a married couple.
So, what is the solution?
Michigan Ladybird Deed
The solution may be the Michigan Ladybird Deed. The Ladybird deed is similar to a beneficiary designation, but for your home. So, it's in your name while you are alive, then when you pass away, it avoids probate and goes to whoever you've named as a beneficiary, which could be your trust.
What this accomplishes is allows you to protect the tenancy by the entities while alive, i.e. maintains asset protection, but also avoids probate upon death.
When Should You Deed the Property to the Trust?
Typically, the only time a deed should be deeded directly to the trust is when an asset protection trust, like a Castle Trust (tm) is used. In this situation, the home should be placed directly in the trust because that is how you can protect against long-term care costs, such as the Medicaid look-back period or estate recovery.