July, 2018 NewsBlog

Happy Independence Day!

July, 2018 NewsBlog

Viva Escrow Q & A Segment
(Real Questions Left On Our Website)

July, 2018 NewsBlogThe following question was left on our website not too long ago, and I’d like to share this with our readers because as always, financial planning of assets to defend yourself against any unforeseen events is very important.

Q: My sister and I hold title on a rental as joint tenant. She wants to transfer her share to a living trust. Do I have to sign and quitclaim and /or grant deed to terminate the joint tenant and turn into tenant in common? Can my sister sign to quitclaim her name to her living trust and hold title with me as tenants in common ?

Also, is it true that a Living Trust or an LLC cannot hold title with an individual as Joint Tenants?

Aha! Two questions for the price of one!

A: Your sister can execute a deed from herself as an individual to her Living Trust. This will actually break the Joint Tenancy automatically, so you and your sister’s Living Trust will then each own your respective interests, as Tenants in Common. You won’t need to sign the deed.

However, I strongly recommend, to prevent future issues, that you and your sister do execute one ownership transfer deed which will will state that you two are granting it to you as an individual and to your sister under her Living Trust, each as to ______% interest, as Tenants in Common. This way, if you do not own the rental in equal 50% shares, you can specify how much share you each own and there will be no future questions.

As to the second question regarding owning a property as an individual with a Living Trust or LLC as Joint Tenants, yes, it is true. An individual should not hold title with an entity, whether it is an LLC or Trust as “Joint Tenant”.

Holding as “Joint Tenant” means that the parties have the right of survivorship. But the Trust and the LLC can conceivably continue on much longer than the individual. If the individual should pass away first his interest would automatically go to the surviving Joint Tenant, which in this case, would be the legal entity. What if the individual wants to leave his share to someone else? The right to do so would be lost if the ownership type is not changed.

Disclaimer: The answers to the questions provided above are for reference only. Viva Escrow does not give suggestions or recommendations on how you should take title. The reader is cautioned to obtain their own legal and independent financial counsel as to which manner of title ownership is used.

By the way, if you have questions regarding what are the important entity documents the Escrow Officer will require when you are buying or selling as a legal entity, here is my article regarding this subject on our website.


Last month, I reported on human migration into and out of California and how it will affect our demographics, standard and cost of living, jobs and many other infrastructure issues. We know that for the young (and not so young), jobs and housing affordability are primary factors. Trulia looked at their search engine trackings to find what cities have garnered the most interest from Californians and found that Las Vegas, Phoenix, New York City, Dallas and Seattle were the most searched. See the article with their findings here.

Of course, this does not mean that the migration is actually happening right now. No geese are flying overhead en masse. Perhaps more like lookie loos checking out the neighbors and lots of wishful thinking. Parents, a word with you. Let your baby geese fly if it will help them find what they want and settle in life.There is no need to keep them in your general vicinity just because you want to keep an eagle eye out on them!


If your geese are looking to fly to New York City, you might want to show them this article. New York City, it says, is the most expensive city to build, “at an average cost of $362 per square foot”. Trickle down economy means that living in the city will be stratospheric, not only in terms of dollars but also in living quarters if you are able to afford their astronomically expensive high rises.


It seems like “low income housing” is nowhere more necessary than in San Francisco. You are probably thinking, that’s not right; Silicon Valley is right there. Well, according to the Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the formula for calculating low income housing takes a weird turn when calculations of San Francisco’s median family income number is projected. So here is the first line in this article  from CNN: “Are San Francisco families earning $117,400 a year really considered low income?” What?? Dorothy, we are a looooong way from Kansas, for sure!


Well, gosh, it does look like over the years, the Chinese have slowly been taking over not just our wallets (made in China), but also our daily lives and culture (dimsum, chopsticks, acupuncture, etc.), and now the real estate on American soil, especially in the major cities along the coasts. Here, in an interesting study  from ATTOM Data Solutions, the 8 hottest homebuyer last names in 2017 were Chinese. Wow. That is a little scary considering that China not only has no common border with the U.S., it is way on the other side of the world after a 13 hour flight. The traditional Asian customs and culture are so different from American ones that you have to wonder what sort of short and long term effects will we be looking at? We already know that in pockets of the country where the Chinese congregate, real estate prices are going sky high. What about the educational system? Family values? Political picture? The pot has melted, the boundaries between cultures are blurring. Who knows, perhaps Feng Shui readings will become standard practice before buying a house?


For more than 2 million people who are not U.S. citizens or resident aliens with green cards but who have an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) so that they can live, work and declare taxes in the U.S., the IRS is sending out reminders that for some the renewal time is coming up at the end of this year. In the IRS informational news release  …. “ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three consecutive years will expire Dec. 31, 2018. In addition, ITINs with middle digits 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 or 82 will also expire at the end of the year.” (The first digit is a “9”). So, okay, foreigners, you have been forewarned. File It or Lose It!


Summer means lots of travel around the world and the Federal Trade Commission has put out their Travel Tips  release for consumers. This scam alert might be old news to many who plan and travel all the time, but there are always those who are inexperienced and too trusting. Hopefully this FTC alert will be of benefit to them. My only personal advice for a fun and carefree trip is this: Do your homework! (and Google is your best friend!)


Last month I talked about Amazon partnering with Lennar Homes to stage smart home products in the builder’s showrooms. This month I want to bring to your attention that Amazon’s flagship smart home product, the Alexa/Echo, can really, really be too smart for us. The story is that unbeknownst to the owner of a device, the Echo recorded a conversation and transmitted it to a contact on their address book. Here is the scary article  in case you have not heard of this.

My whole extended family was each gifted with the Echo device last Christmas, and much as I love my brother and sister, I decided to unplug it. Heaven forbid if I am caught complaining about them and Echo transmits my grumblings to them indiscriminately. Can you imagine?!

Being my last name is “Tu”, everyone (including me and especially my husband) likes to use this simple last name amusingly in any form and language. Yeah, check out my license plates. So “2” “Too”, “To”, jokes abound. Here is a cute one:

If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, we’ll just call it “2’s Day”. and yes, it does fall on a Tuesday. I think I will take the day off, and will recommend it to my brother and his family, as it will be the Tu’s Day! We’ll just get 2gether and have 2 much fun!

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1 thought on “July, 2018 NewsBlog”

  1. Hi Juliana,

    I just want to say that I really enjoy your news letter every month and I really love you wittiness.

    Looking forward to the next news letter.


Comments are closed.