Articles Posted in Probate

Reassess Property Tax on Death of an Owner

County assessor will reassess property tax on death of an owner unless prevented

THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM

Property taxes are administered by the County in which the real property is located. The County tax assessor determines the amount of property taxes based upon the fair market value of the property at the date of purchase plus a small amount of increase each year is allowed. The county property tax year goes from July 1 through June 30 tax bills are sent out typically in October and are payable in two installments: December 10 for the first installment and April 10 for the second installment.

INCREASE ON CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP

By law the County tax assessor is entitled to reassess the property and increase the taxes to current market value upon a “change in ownership” of a property. Thus, when you buy a house on the open market your property tax bill will be based on the price you paid for the house. However, if you receive a property as a result of an inheritance or a gift there may be exemptions from the change in ownership rules which would prevent the reassessment of taxes.

Probate is not needed to transfer ownership of joint tenancy property

Generally, Probate court is the legal way for ownership transfer on death

Probate court is generally necessary to transfer ownership of property and accounts upon someone’s demise EXCEPT for some narrow exceptions.  A major exception is property held in joint tenancy ownership. Attorney David Crockett can advise clients as to whether the joint tenancy exception is available and assist in preparing necessary documentation to create joint tenancies and to transfer the property to the survivor when one of the joint tenants passes away.

Type of property

Joint tenancy ownership is typically found in real estate ownership and in bank and securities account ownership.

Joint tenancy ownership

Creation

Joint tenancy property is created by deed, will, or other transfer to two or more persons in equal shares who are expressly declared to be “joint tenants”.  Thus, if the deed to the house owned by John and Jane Doe states the grantees to be “John Doe and Jane Doe as joint tenants” a legal joint tenancy is created.

Collection or transfer of personal property by affidavit will save Probate court delays and expense

Probate Exemption For Small Estates < $150,000

Generally, Probate court is the legal way for ownership transfer on death

Probate court is generally necessary to transfer ownership of property and accounts upon someone’s demise EXCEPT for some narrow loopholes. This loophole rises to the effect of creating a viable Probate Exemption. A major loophole is the collection or transfer of personal property by affidavit. Crockett Law Corporation can advise clients as to whether the loophole is available and assist in preparing necessary documentation.

Procedure for leveraging this Probate Exemption

The way it works is for the personal representative or heirs to prepare a sworn affidavit and present it to effect the transfer.  Typically bank accounts are transferred this way.  Some banks have their own forms and others will require you to bring them the correct form.  For transfer of vehicle titles, the DMV has its own forms to fill out found on the DMV website.

Someone passed away. The Will names me as Executor. What do I do?

This Article intended for estate personal representatives

Probate Administration Basics

Probate is a lot of work which could have been avoided by estate planning

Doesn’t matter if there is a Will or not. – Probate Court proceedings are needed to transfer ownership of assets, properties and accounts to the heirs.  If there is a Will but no living trust then Probate Court proceedings are needed.  If there is no Will and no living trust then Probate Court proceedings are needed.  There are some minor exceptions to this which include accounts of less than $150,000 and joint tenancy property.  The exemptions are discussed is separate blogs.

Events triggering probate administration

Probate administration is the legal process to organize a deceased person’s affairs under court supervision and to ultimately distribute his estate

High probate attorneys and administrators fees are mandatory

Probate Mandatory Fees are High

Probate court is the legal way for ownership transfer on death

Probate court is generally necessary to transfer ownership of property and accounts upon someone’s demise. Thus, if a person has not organized his/her ownership of assets, a Probate Court proceeding will be necessary to access bank accounts, pay bills and taxes and to transfer ownership to the heirs.

There are two major exceptions:

Please Don’t become a participant in a lost Will disaster

Will Definition

Can't Find WIllA Will is a written document which states to whom a person’s belongings, money and property are to be given upon death. A Will is typically effective upon a person’s death.

Original Will

A valid will may either be typed or handwritten (holographic). The original signed Will is necessary in general to be able to open a Probate Court proceeding to administer a deceased person’s estate and get legal Court authority to distribute the assets.

Potential disaster

Supposing a person made a Will but the Will was lost. That can be a disaster if the Will maker has died. If the Will maker is alive, he/she can simply make another Will and that would supersede the prior lost will if it is properly prepared. If the Will maker has died then there may be no way of knowing how the Will maker wanted his/her estate distributed. That could be disastrous to people who were named as heirs in the Will. If there is no Will or provable copy then the money and property would have to be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. If there is no provable Will, then the law presumes that the Will maker intentionally destroyed the Will.

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