transfer on death deedThis provides a simple way to transfer California real estate at death without having to go through California probate.  (Probate Code §5600, et seq.)  The way to look at this is it is a “Transfer-On-Death Deed ” NOT a transfer during life deed.  It only applies to residential properties and must be promptly recorded after it is notarized.  This document is exempt from documentary transfer tax under Rev. & Tax. Code §11930. This document is exempt from preliminary change of ownership report under Rev. & Tax. Code §480.3.

For the specific requirements, click here: Continue Reading Revocable Transfer-On-Death Deeds (aka Lady Bird Deed) New Since 2016! (Probate Code §5642)

Beneficiaries of a trust lost a challenge to the sale of trust property by the trustee. The trial court ordered them to pay the trust’s attorney fees and costs, making the beneficiaries personally liable. The Court of Appeal affirmed the award of attorney fees, but reversed the order insofar as it made the beneficiaries personally liable for them, stating: “We conclude that the attorney fees and costs were properly and lawfully imposed under the trial court’s equitable power over the trust, except to the extent the trial court made [the beneficiaries] personally liable for attorney fees and costs, rather than liable solely from their shares of the trust assets.” (Pizarro v. Reynoso (Cal. App. 3rd Dist., Jan. 18, 2017) 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 33.)

Trusts are a contractThe world of trusts is quite unique.  Trusts not only can be formed verbally, but notarization is not required.  Probate Code §§ 15200, 15206 and 15207 are silent as to requiring a notarization, therefore, no notarization required!  A trust is essentially a contract.  But for real property, it must be in writing. Probate Code §15206

trust_img3A common “mistake” is a party names the “Smith Family Trust” or if a probate, “Estate of Smith” as a party.  An estate is not a legal entity, it has neither the capacity nor the standing to sue and title to estate assets are held by the executor or administrator, who is the real party in interest. The administrator may therefore bring suit in his or her own name (please see Code of Civil Procedure §369(a)).  If an administrator brings suit in his or her own name, then the references to his or her capacity as administrator are not required. (See Lewis v. Adams, (1886) 11 P. 837, and Wise v. Williams (1887) 14 P. 204 Cal., and “under California law the “trust is not an entity separate from the trustees,” and “the trustee, rather than the trust, is the real party in interest in litigation involving trust property.” Moeller v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal. 4th 1124, 1132 n.3; 60 Cal.Jur.3d, Trusts § 355 (1994).