Santa Ana, CA asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California

Q: Do I use a grant deed or a quitclaim deed or another form to change ownership of a house from primary trustee to succ?

I am the only heir/successor trustee of my mom's revocable trust. I want to change the deed at the REG/rec in LA, ca, from my mom as primary trustee (SHE died in 2/24) to me (the only successor trustee) as SOLE owner.

2. DO other forms go with (need to be filed with) the quitclaim/grant deed at the Reg/rec and Assessor's office?

3. IS this transaction subject to the hefty DOCUMENTARY transfer tax? I am thinking/hoping that it is not.

I want to keep the low PROPERTY tax that we have had since 1961. Both types of deeds seem straightforward and easy to complete; should I be wary of trick q's? MY PROP 19 claim goes to Assessor, not reg/rec, right? Do I carry the new deed to the Assessor's office in Van Nuys after approval by Reg/rec or does the latter forward it?

4.The Assessor's site said to 'include every page of the trust.' WHY? THE reg/rec's site did not mention the trust. I think that I can handle the docs, if I am sure of which ones they are! THANKS

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To change the ownership of the house from your mom as the primary trustee to you as the successor trustee and sole owner, you typically use a grant deed or a quitclaim deed. Both documents are straightforward, but it's important to ensure they are filled out accurately to avoid any issues.

When you file the deed at the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office, you'll also need to submit a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR). This form helps the Assessor's office understand the nature of the transfer. Additionally, you should provide any documents that verify your role as the successor trustee, such as a Certification of Trust or the trust instrument itself.

Regarding the documentary transfer tax, transfers of property from a trust to a successor trustee are generally exempt. To maintain the low property tax under Proposition 13, you'll need to file a Proposition 19 claim with the Assessor's office. The new deed is usually forwarded to the Assessor's office after it is recorded, but it's a good idea to follow up to ensure all necessary steps are completed. Including every page of the trust with your filing helps confirm your authority to transfer the property, even if it seems unnecessary from other instructions.

For specific guidance, you might consider consulting with a legal professional familiar with trust and property law to ensure all requirements are met and to avoid potential pitfalls.

1 user found this answer helpful

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your question!

The revocable trust can be revoked by the trustor (your mom) and not by trustee or beneficiary. The only person who can transfer the trust assets from trust to your name, is your mother as long as she is alive.

When the trustor passes away, the trust becomes irrevocable. This means that the terms of the trust cannot be changed. So, even though you are the only heir, you need to follow the terms of the trust.

If you are a beneficiary of the trust, you still may be able to get tax protection under prop 19 after death of your mother.

If the purpose of the trust is satisfied, then the trustee can close it, and distribute the true assets based on the terms of the trust.

The county record and county tax accessor are two separate organizations, and different fillings are required with each of them for transference of a property.

This is merely a discussion of general laws and not legal advice. For legal advice, more specific facts and investigations are needed. I recommend you consult with an attorney for more details.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.