Q: My home has been in a trust for about five years. When my husband passed away, it was put in my name. Do I need to keep it in a trust; if so, for how long; and what are the benefits of doing so? -- P.R., via email
A: I don't know the answer as to whether your house has to be kept in a trust. Without details about your financial life, no one could give you a straight answer.
Why was your name put on the trust five years ago? Was that part of your husband's directions in a will or some other instrument, or did he do it before passing away? In general, I don't see any reason for a home to be in a trust, but there may be some very substantial circumstances in your life that would make this a good move.
Before doing anything, you should sit down with competent counsel and find out exactly what would happen in terms of taxes, etc., if you took your home out of the trust, and perhaps its effect on other obligations in your life. Then you can make an intelligent judgment.
Q: My husband became very ill a few years ago. He went and saw an attorney, brought home some paperwork and I signed it. He died shortly after.
I now find out that what I signed was a quitclaim deed. I have no idea what that is and what we did. Is this something I should have signed? -- L.P., via email
A: A quitclaim is simply someone giving up their rights -- not necessarily their responsibilities -- in a piece of property. If a mortgage is still in place, they are still responsible for it, but they no longer have rights.
You didn't indicate to whom the quitclaim deed was signed over; I'm hoping it was you. If not, you probably should consult an attorney to get it straightened out.