Transferring A Property Tax Base In California On An Inherited Home

Number One Strategy: Avoid making mistakes!

If you’re a member of one of the many families who owns real property in California – it would be wise to understand how much Prop 13 and Proposition 19 can affect property tax reassessment, no matter where you live in the state.

In fact, it’s never been more important than now to understand how profoundly these property tax relief measures can impact your life – plus how important it is to do everything correctly when dealing with property tax breaks like Proposition 19 and Proposition 13.

For whatever reason, a fair amount of residents do not fully understand how these tax breaks work, and how to make them work. The problem is, families often trigger reassessment of their property taxes by accident, due to a variety of reasons – refusing to hire an estate attorney simply to save money; faulty data; or mistakes filing information; missing document deadlines… so on and so forth.

Consequently, what can be lost can be significant… such as the ability to avoid property tax reassessment, to miss out on property tax breaks such as parent-child transfer and the parent-to-child exclusion; the right to transfer parents property taxes, to keep parents property taxes after a CA property tax transfer, when inheriting property taxes.

It’s not difficult to mishandle a transfer of property when inheriting a home, or mishandle the drafting of a trust in such a way that expectations towards a cap on property taxes are disappointed. Of course, these types of errors and subsequent property tax reassessment brings great happiness to the parties responsible for collecting property taxes all over California.

Families that are concerned with making sure these processes go smoothly generally enlist advice and/or the services of a real estate law firm or estate attorney such as Rachelle Lee-Warner, Esq. at Cunningham Legal, or a property tax consultant like Michael Wyatt Consulting, or perhaps a Trust Lender such as Commercial Loan Corp.

Proposition 19 and Revisions to California Property Tax Relief

It is difficult to avoid the fact that property tax breaks in California have been impacted, one way or the other, by Proposition 19; which was voted into law Nov 2020, becoming active on Feb. 16, 2021.

Under Proposition 19, a parent can transfer their primary residence and low property tax base to their children (i.e., heirs) — allowing offspring to move into an inherited home rather quickly, within 12-months, as a principle residence. Although, if the home is valued at more than $1,000,000 it may be reassessed, with an impact on the parent-to-child exclusion from current tax rates. On the other hand, if you’re over 55, physically impaired, or a victim in some way of the frequent wildfires California has been experiencing, or some other natural disaster such as a flood or earthquake — you can be a recipient of numerous property tax breaks on top of CA property tax transfer (discussed in detail elsewhere within this Blog).

However, beneficiaries of parental property have other options, such as working with a trust lender such as Commercial Loan Corp, for example, in addition to having expertise in CA property tax transfer, the ability to provide funding to an irrevocable trust, in order to buyout co-beneficiaries looking to sell off their inherited property shares, as well as establishing a permanently low property tax base.

As many of us who have traversed the complex trail of real estate loans and long lines of credit know – there are certain non-traditional financing options, such as loans to irrevocable trusts and probate estates, that are generally denied by virtually all lenders – with the exception of certain licensed trust lenders… or more specifically, irrevocable trust lenders.

Conventional lending organizations such a credit union or your friendly local bank, will typically deny any loan request of this kind and will rarely approve a loan like this to an irrevocable trust – until the trust has been dissolved and the home title has been converted to the financial interest of a borrower, or individual.

California trust beneficiaries and trustees find out very quickly that funding for a trust is not the type of financing your standard bank or conventional lending firm will deal with. We find that most niche financing can be accomplished for high net worth individuals, or for individuals with an extremely high credit rating… Not so in this case.

Even if you have a fabulous credit score or credit report, most lending organizations will still not fund an irrevocable trust for you. For example, when you buyout beneficiaries that are instigating family conflicts by insisting that the family sell off inherited property and wind up selling their inherited property shares to one or more siblings looking to keep the property in the family – and keep a parent’s low property tax base… This will make the sellers happy to do so when they find out that by avoiding a realtor to sell their inherited parental home plus other hidden costs they end up with a lot more cash in their pocket having their sibling or siblings buy them out through a trust loan.

In fact, no matter how urgent or important our situation is, we discover very quickly that the only type of firm that will fund an irrevocable trust is a trust lender, with genuine expertise in property tax relief, and in the subtle measures contained in Proposition 19, and Prop 13. As long as a loan to an irrevocable trust is structured properly by your trust lender, you should be OK buying out sibling property shares while keeping your inherited home at a low Proposition 13 tax base – what property tax professionals refer to as “equalizing the distribution of a trust…”

So, in other words, the party or parties keeping the parent’s home and low property tax base, as well as the beneficiaries selling off their shares, soon realize they are entering into a win-win transaction, where everyone walks away in better shape than when they began!

And that is the unique upside and tremendous benefit that a good trust lender brings to the table… in particular the well known trust lender, Commercial Loan Corp irrevocable trust loan financing, which focuses on helping beneficiaries to keep a parent’s low property tax base, long-term, through the parent-to-child exclusion, and ability to avoid property tax reassessment, through Prop 13 and now Proposition 19, which still protects and breathes life into property tax relief in the state of California. Commercial Loan Corporation can be reached at 877-756-4454. They have a flawless record for assisting clients avoid property tax reassessment on an inherited home and their testimonials can be viewed on Google with this link.

Noted property tax relief consultant Michael Wyatt addresses this in his usual articulate fashion:

These property tax benefits from Proposition 13 came about in California because people didn’t want property tax increases of 25% or 30%, or whatever. It really was out of control. And property tax rates were particularly high and unpredictable and unstable in California, for whatever reason, prior to 1978 when Prop 13 passed. So, as you know, property appreciates let’s say on average 20% per year. For the sake of argument, let’s say 20%. But property tax values are only going up by 3%…

People know intuitively that they can’t rely on the Assessors evaluation. Property value goes up 10% or more let’s say, as opposed to assessed value going up by 2%. That’s a significant difference. Was California really that bad before 1978, when Proposition 13 tax relief went into affect? Yes. California was raising taxes more than any other state, before 1978.

Most seniors – before Prop 13 – were reassessed at present-day rates. And many, many were forced out of their home. They simply could not afford the property tax hikes descending on them. Period. People, especially older people, were being impacted with higher property taxes year after year. And in many cases – with catastrophic results, obviously.” Michael Wyatt can be reached at (951) 264-6152.

While at the same time providing the beneficiaries selling off their inherited property shares with more cash than any outside buyer would want to offer them. A definite upside of working with a trust lender, in conjunction with Proposition 19. Obviously, beneficiaries in this sort of equation would have their own attorney or law firm looking over their shoulder, and advising them on the paperwork.

Trust and estate needs are varied and sometimes complex, but taking an experienced view toward the real estate component can offer superior results. One common situation occurs when one heir wants to keep the “old family home,” but the trust entity does not have enough cash or investments to “even the equities” among the beneficiaries. That same heir may want to eventually live in the home, or convert it to a rental property in the future and hold it as a long-term investment. Either way it is a profitable return.