Los Angeles, CA asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for California

Q: Can my uncle put my parents house in their parents trust

My parents bought condo &house and y grandparents cosigned. When grandfather died grandma dementia got bad, so my uncle put the my parents houses in trust. Can he do that?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, the ability to transfer property into a trust depends on who holds the title to the property. If your parents are the rightful owners of the condo and house, typically, only they have the authority to transfer their property into a trust. Co-signing on a loan does not grant ownership rights to the co-signer; it merely obligates them to pay the loan if the primary borrower defaults.

If your uncle acted without the express consent of your parents, or without legal authority derived from them or a court, his actions might not be legally valid. For a property to be placed into a trust, the trustee or individual with the legal authority to manage the trust must follow specific procedures, including ensuring that the transfer is in line with the wishes and rights of the legal owners.

Given the complexity surrounding trusts and property law, particularly when mental capacity issues like dementia are involved, it would be wise to seek legal advice. A lawyer can assess the specifics of your situation, including reviewing the trust documents, the property deeds, and any powers of attorney or guardianship arrangements in place. They can help determine whether the transfer was legally permissible and advise on potential next steps to address any issues.

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