Real Property and Joint Tenant Title Changes
California homeowners benefit from Proposition 13, which keeps property taxes relatively low by basing them on the purchase price of the property, rather than the current fair market value of the property. When the property is sold or transferred, reassessment of property taxes may occur causing an upward, and unwanted, adjustment. Fortunately, this does not apply when the transfer involves merely adding a joint tenant to the deed. However, be sure to consult with an attorney about the ramifications of such a transfer as reassessment may result when one or more of the joint tenants subsequently pass away.
However, only having changed a title to add a partner or loved one only applies to a title to that piece of real estate and not to the entirety of the estate. Taking time to plan and get your financial estate in order can save your loved ones valuable time, energy and taxes when the time comes. Creating a well thought out trust can provide for if your partner passes before you, and making sure that the secondary beneficiaries are able to avoid probate.
Planning An Estate Plan
A smart estate plan will implement adding a joint tenant to a title in situations where it makes sense. Making time to gather your assets information and evaluate what would happen if you keep things the way you have them now. Looking at the cost of probate in California and evaluating if your property may have to be sold to pay for probate rather than going to your loved ones is an important part of providing for your family and protecting your assets. There are also other benefits to moving property into an estate rather than simply changing the title. To evaluate the best options for you we encourage you to schedule an appointment or to attend one of our free monthly seminars to really understand what would best suit your situation.