December 2015 Newsletter

Happy Holidays!

Given that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are rushing towards us like a freight train without controls, I am going to report on just a few interesting year end things that could have definite repercussions come 2016, and then I will be done! For 2015!

This will be a short and sweet edition, or short and sour, depending on your point of view.


Called the poor man’s financial planning instrument, the California Legislature and Governor Brown signed AB139 into the annals of legislation just a month or so ago.

This piece of legislation will cause considerable concern to title and escrow companies, but it was passed with the thought that it will help the average person who cannot afford to get an attorney to do a Trust, or pay Probate fees upon their death.

The bullet points are these:

  • Effective as of 1/1/2016 and good until 1/1/2021 (for now)
  • Automatic transfer of property at death of owner to his Beneficiary if he executed a Deed called a “Revocable Transfer Upon Death Deed” (RTDD), designating the Beneficiary of the property upon his death
  • Types of property for which it can be used: 1-4 residential units, a condominium, or agricultural land of 40 acres
  • Must contain a legal description.
  • The owner must record this deed within 60 days after he has executed it
  • Only affects the ownership upon the death of owner and does not affect any ownership rights while he is alive.
  • Can be revoked if the owner records a Revocation, or by recording a new RTDD, or by granting the property by a regular Deed to someone else.
  • This RTDD will be a problem as Title companies will not be required to accept them when insuring a sale of a property where an RTDD was recorded
  • The RTDD is a statutory form and there is also statutory form for revocation
  • When the original owner dies, the Beneficiary completes the transfer by recording an Affidavit of Death.
  • This form will not work if the property is under a Joint Tenancy or Community Property with rights of survivorship and there is a surviving joint tenant or spouse
  • But most important, this method of transferring the property can be challenged and who knows what results those challenges will provide!


Does this sound like a variation of the Wizard of OZ?

Here is another twist on the yellow brick road and it will take a Wizard to make sense of who is going to put their regulatory finger into that pie that was created by the CFPB. The latest is the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) which governs the national banks and federal savings and loan.

Here is the article.

To make sure that the institutions that fall under their jurisdiction do what they are supposed to do under the TRID, the examiners are going to scrutinize the process while they are doing their regular examinations. This sounds terribly familiar to California’s independent escrow companies, who have also been warned that their regulatory agency, the Department of Business Oversight, are also going to put it on their list and checking it twice, to find out if we have been naughty or nice.

Does anyone think we are overregulated by the government agencies? If so, there is a little election coming up.


And to make matters even more scary this following link regarding planning for your social security retirement benefits came out on their website.

So, “Know Before You Owe” has become “Know Before You Retire”. Given the issues we have had with the CFPB and their TRID regulations for Know Before You Owe, I am really concerned that they will now take a hand in doing something about our social security retirement benefits, particularly BEFORE I have even had a chance to retire and use them!


There is no venue that is sacrosanct by crooks who are looking to commit fraud.  Social media? Perfect!

If, however, a person is being innovative to commit fraud of any type, it would be a good idea to take into consideration that serious headlines are made when you fool around with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Apparently, a trader created fake Twitter accounts for well known securities research companies.

Using these fake Twitter accounts he tweeted multiple false statements that caused two different public companies’ shares to fall dramatically, causing significant losses for their investors before NASDAQ temporarily halted trading of their shares. Manipulation for profit.

Did he even think????

See a copy of the whole terrible story direct from the SEC. In this day and age, there is no “Too Big (or too small) To Fail”.


Finally, as most of my clients are, one way or another, involved in real estate, here is a quick and amusing list of real estate terms that are now updated to bring forth a better understanding of the industry. Just in case you didn’t know the real meaning behind the words.

Oh, gosh, they missed “Escrow Officer.” Well, not nice. This is the person whose AKA is “Elmer” because he/she is the glue of the whole transaction. Bet you didn’t know that!

A Merry Christmas Holidays and a Happy New Year to you!  A reminder:

Count our blessings

Take time to reflect on the spirit of the times

Make those resolutions!

Don’t drink and drive

See you next year!

̴ Choice, not circumstances, determines your success  ̴

Arthur Unknown