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YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, WE HAVE ANSWERS!
VIVA ESCROW Q & A SEGMENT
(Real questions sent to us – verbatim!)
I have a question regarding alerting the County regarding the death of the Trustee of the Living Trust. I am the Successor Trustee and the two original Trustees have now both passed away. I read that we need to file a Change of Ownership and an Affidavit of Death to the County within 150 days or there will be a penalty. However, I don’t want to incur the cost of having an attorney draw up the Affidavit of Death now. A title company representative said that as I am looking to sell the property within a few months, the escrow company will do this Affidavit for me at that time. But my 150 days deadline is coming up. What should I do?
The Successor Trustee is obligated under law to report the death within 150 days to the County Assessor’s office OR there will be a penalty. The LA County Assessor has a great website so you can look up your question at this link https://assessor.lacounty.gov/Real-Estate-Toolkit/death-of-a-property-owner. The law behind this is the same throughout the State of California.
You don’t actually need to do the Affidavit of Death right away, but you should gather and complete the paperwork that the Assessors need and send it to them before the 150 days are up. The important documents are the Change in Ownership Statement, a copy of the Death Certificate and a copy of the entire Trust.
Once you do go into escrow for the sale, the Escrow Officer will do the Affidavit of Death and record that. That will save you the cost of doing it now.
We have seen many cases in which the Successor Trustee never filed notification of the death and the Assessor’s office only picked it up at the closing of escrow when the Affidavit of Death was filed. Months later the Assessor sent a huge bill for escaped assessments, starting with the date the last Trustee passed away as per the Death Certificate. This bill is always a shock to the Successor Trustee and the estate of the deceased. If you have any questions regarding reassessment, it is important that you call the Assessor’s office to get your questions answered.
Why is reassessment triggered? When there are two (or more) Trustees in a Revocable Trust the death of the last living Trustee will change the nature of the Trust from “Revocable” to “Irrevocable”. This is considered an ownership status change and will trigger property tax reassessment.
When someone passes away it leaves the family grieving and in disarray for a considerable time, so it is difficult to remember that there are certain things that the family has to take care of. Hopefully if you have read this article and your clients encounter something like this, you will advise the client/family correctly.
I had to sign a document in front of the notary public. The instructions were to sign exactly as typewritten so I did. However, my actual signature does not include my middle name on it. I was asked to re-sign with my middle name and now that signature is not like the one on my driver’s license. What are your recommendations to this issue?
What a great question! I know that we all struggle with this. I am actually writing an Escrow In The Trenches article regarding a scenario that fits your exact question. Here is what we, as an escrow officer, look for:
- If you have a very clear and readable signature we prefer that you include the middle name in your signature. Or we ask that you sign twice, once your regular signature, and once your regular signature with your middle name.
- If your signature is complicated or is an unreadable flourish, just sign that way and don’t worry about the middle name.
Let me expand my answer. What will the notary public look for at the time of signing?
- Match you to your picture ID
- Match your name on the signature block to your name on the picture ID
- Make sure that you sign the same way on the document as on the picture ID
- Call the escrow officer for clarification if they see any major and significant issues to the names on the signature block and the names on the picture ID
Escrow Officers’ guideline where it comes to signatures:
- MORE IS BETTER THAN LESS!. If you sign more than what is on the signature block, that’s no problem. Just don’t sign less.
- DO NOT sign in a way that does not match your real signature to a large extent.
- UNREADABLE SIGNATURES are fine as long as it is your real signature. We don’t have to worry if that middle name was signed.
~ Funny of the Month ~
Comedian Jim McDonald’s –
Don’t worry about your credit card debt and other things of life
~ Quote of the Month ~
“Nothing else will make you type slower other than failing your last password attempt.”
My YouTube Offering for the Month –
Escrow From The Trenches:
DOD – Days of Drama!
When supply is low and demand is high, Buyers will do anything to make their offer standout. However, Sellers must realize that negotiations do not stop after the offer is accepted. Contracts change after they go into escrow!
You Have Questions? We Have Answers!
Juliana Tu, CSEO, CEO, CBSS, CEI, SASIP
“Escrow is my FOREMOST language!”
The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the author’s.
Your comments and viewpoints are always welcome.
Info @ VivaEscrow.com