December 2023 Newsblog


(Real questions sent to us – verbatim!)


My attorney helped my mom with a deed to transfer the property to her Trust. But he said I have to contact an Escrow Company to get a preliminary change of ownership form, and the exemption form so that the property is not re-assessed. He also wants a legal description since the one attached to the recorded ownership deed that my mom has now may not be correct.


The preliminary change of ownership can be found online. Since it is a form that the Assessor needs, you can go on the LA County Assessor website and find it. That website is

This particular exemption for a transfer to the Trust does not need an exemption form. Just be sure the exemption verbiage referencing the Revenue and Taxation code is inserted in the new Deed and check the correct box in the preliminary change of ownership form. Viva Escrow has an informational page with regards to transfer tax exemptions here:

The legal description can be found on the last ownership deed that your mother gave to the attorney for the preparation of the deed. Unless there were certain changes made to the property, like a lot split, etc. the legal description stays constant and does not change.

If you have not paid your attorney yet, or don’t mind paying again, I suggest that you contact a document preparation company and ask for their expertise. It does not sound like your attorney has the knowledge. You want to be sure that the deed is prepared correctly so that no future ownership issues come up.


Regrettably, just because they have a law degree does not mean an attorney knows how to prepare certain documents used in escrow. Our regulators do not want us to prepare “accommodation” documents that are not related to a particular file. The industry has been burned by people who sue escrow companies for accommodation documents prepared to please a client and insufficient background or information was given for its preparation. Accommodation documents are not covered by our E&O insurance or our escrow fidelity bond. 

When you have documents that need to be prepared, contact an attorney (hopefully they are more knowledgeable) or a document preparation company. Contact your escrow company and they can give you a list. Don’t prepare them yourself unless you really do know what you are doing! Some mistakes can be irreparable.


~ Link and Other (Bad) News of the Month ~ 

That cyber attack on Mr. Cooper on Halloween 2023 was a TREAT that just kept on giving. Mr. Cooper, as you know, is a Lender/Loan Servicer that is huge in the mortgage industry. If they have been compromised, do we trust their payoff statements? Do we trust that our confidential mortgage information is kept secure? To date, SIX class action suits have been filed against them with regards to this latest cyber attack.

There is definitely no THANKS in this Thanksgiving holiday for Fidelity National Financial family of title insurance and affiliated companies which was also subject to a high level security breach right before the holiday. This affected all their transaction closings throughout the United States, and even their Affiliate 1031 Exchange Company. Closings were delayed for a week, resulting in frantic and frustrated clients. This hit hard into the heart of our business!

Want to see the scope of cyber attacks in real time? See link below from a well known cyber security company with a good reputation.

Yes, we are all vulnerable against cyber attacks.  We are also very vulnerable to all types of fraud – wire, email, identity, check, documents.

Never let down your guard!


~ Quote of the Month ~ 

“I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.”

W. C. Fields



Refresher! The California Withholding (Part one)

The 4 W’s –  What, Why, Who, When and How it could affect your escrow transaction.


You Have Questions? We Have Answers!

“Escrow is my FOREMOST language!”

Advance Disclosure:
The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the author’s. 
Your comments and viewpoints are always welcome.
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