Your Source for Timely, Accurate News on Transferring Property Taxes in California and Information on Trusts & Estates, for California Proposition 13 and Prop 58
Most CA property owners back Prop 13, and Proposition 58. And it’s worth pointing out that California Proposition 13, also called The People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, voted into law as an amendment of the Constitution of California – is, after 42 years, even more popular today as it was when Californians voted it into law on June 6, 1978. (Interestingly enough, the same date memorializing the Normandy landings, D-Day on June 6, back in 1944.)
As a matter of fact, CA Proposition 13 was championed early on, and driven successfully through numerous political obstacles, by the famous Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association… whose courageous and inspired CEO, Mr. Jon Coupal, took over the Chief Executive reigns in 1999, and is largely responsible for leading the charge for accelerated property tax relief in California, right up to the present.
There are many reasons that most CA property owners back Prop 13 and Proposition 58. Financial analysts tell us, in no uncertain terms, that Proposition 13 has saved California taxpayers over $528 billion – saving the average middle class California family more than $60,000 to-date… and counting.
A clear-cut majority of home owners in California still support Proposition 13, and Proposition 58, for parent to child transfer of property, parent to child exclusion from property reassessment, or Proposition 193 involving grandparent to grandchild property transfers, when inheriting property taxes – which has, after 1986, enabled families with home owners to transfer real property from parent to child, and keep parents property taxes, without being reassessed at present day tax rate increases.
|In fact, as CEO Jon Coupal and his Taxpayers Association tells us – California Proposition 13 has made all residential, industrial and commercial property owners’ taxes in California far more reliable, predictable and reasonable than they ever have been…|
As long as California property owners keep taking advantage of the ability to avoid property tax reassessment when inheriting property taxes… with the lawful right to transfer parents property taxes, for home-owning beneficiaries. In other words, to keep parents property taxes, and property tax transfer, as low as it should be… regardless of overall value, size or location.
|Property tax transfer is discussed here, in various posts, within this blog. Or, click here for more info and Q & A on Proposition 58 (and Proposition 193)…|
Even though most CA property owners support Proposition 13, as well as Proposition 58 and 193 – opponents of Prop 13 and Prop 58 appear to be, when all is said and done, after more cash from tax payers in California. A stubborn minority that simply opposes property tax relief, such as special interest politicians in the pocket of certain powerful people in select sectors of the real estate business.
Moreover, we shouldn’t forget financially and politically driven local and state government employee union bosses, plus some poorly informed independent realtors and educational system administrators with tunnel vision… A few mainstream newspapers like the SF Chronicle and LA Times, with an interest in big-bucks real estate advertising – and of course your hard core local government tax collectors – who are simply after more hard cold cash from tax payers in California… plain and simple.
The critics of these property tax relief initiatives still seem to be laboring under the long-held misconception that there would be more cash coming into the real estate business, and into state coffers, were it not for the lack of present-day real property value reassessment associated with Proposition 13 and Prop 58… directly affecting California tax revenue.
Frankly, after examining the facts driving these property tax issues, it is plain to see, for anyone that is really looking… that these long held misconceptions that critics of property tax relief cling to so tightly, and in fact exactly that – nothing but misconceptions.
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Our in-depth interview with CEO Michael Wyatt of the Michael Wyatt Consulting Firm in Corona, CA continues…
Property Tax Transfer: Are there other essential benefits to using trust loans, with special Proposition 58 benefits?
Michael Wyatt: Well… going back to Commercial Loan Corporation… Their loans to trusts give my clients several invaluable benefits. Their terms can be a lot more flexible than an institutional lender like Wells Fargo or Bank of America. Also, Commercial Loan Corp is self funded, and that’s basically why they can extend easier terms to clients.
Property Tax Transfer: And compliance issues?
Michael Wyatt: Compliance for both commercial and residential property owners is far less strict. Commercial Loan Corp doesn’t charge any fees up-front, that’s another great benefit. Plus, they don’t require paying interest on their trust loan in advance. Not only that, there is never a “due-on-sale” clause… that requires the mortgage to be repaid in full when sold; or that all or some of the interest owed must be paid up-front to secure the mortgage. No “alienation clause”… in the event of a property transfer, stating that the borrower has to pay back the mortgage in full before the borrower can transfer the property to another person. There is none of that.
Property Tax Transfer: That is impressive. We understand that using their loan-to-trust process is far less expensive – and much faster.
Michael Wyatt: No question about it. The speed of their trust loans is much faster, typically five to seven days instead of two or three weeks. And if you sold a property outright, without using a trust loan, you have closing costs, legal fees; a commission; etc. It gets very expensive. Going with a firm like Commercial Loan Corp – all costs are offset, unless you plan to keep a property for 2 or 3 years or less. Then it doesn’t make sense. But generally you’re looking at keeping that property for seven or more years, as a rule.
Property Tax Transfer: Didn’t you work for the Orange County Tax Assessor’s office for many years prior to opening up your own firm to help clients with real estate and property tax issues?
Michael Wyatt: Yes, that’s correct. I worked for the Orange County Assessors office for 25 years – working on the more complex industrial and commercial cases. I eventually became a manager reviewing ten Appraisers dealing with CA property tax law… until 2010. But it was mostly all pretty normal, average cases.
Property Tax Transfer: During all that time with the Orange County Assessor’s office, does anything stand out, looking back?
Michael Wyatt: Interestingly enough, we worked on the largest Great Park deal, which Lennar Homes purchased from the United States Navy. We actually ended up discounting the pricing on account of contamination. Coincidentally, my supervisor ended up being my partner in our current firm. By and large, most of the deals I managed were very ordinary.
Property Tax Transfer: By and large, who are your clientele?
Michael Wyatt: Most of my business, with property owners, comes from real estate attorneys… In fact, we’ve been approved by the California Bar to teach attorneys about Proposition 13 and SBE “share and share alike” – And the attorneys pre-qualify our clients. They get the value proposition right away, without much effort.
Property Tax Transfer: At the root of it, what do you think brought about California Proposition 13 – inheriting property taxes, at a low base, from parents?
Michael Wyatt: Let me tell you… During the time I worked for the Orange County Assessors office – Howard Jarvis, originator of the Proposition 13 property tax measure, was one of the largest apartment building owners in California… Many people don’t know this. And he saw first-hand that landlords don’t move. Citizens move – every 7, 8 years. So landlords benefited even more from Proposition 13 tax relief than the consumers! And it did benefit consumer of course, and still does. But this did help landlords even more so, and helped to keep rents low.
Property Tax Transfer: The Split-Roll commercial & business property tax – will it pass?
Michael Wyatt: The California Split-Roll tax on commercial real estate will not pass.
Property Tax Transfer: You truly believe that? Commercial property owners will continue inheriting property taxes at a low rate; they’ll keep paying low property taxes every year, continuing to avoid property tax reassessment…
Michael Wyatt: Absolutely. Because all the big money people and power brokers in California, in Los Angeles, in the entertainment industry, in other big time industries, don’t want it. If it passed, shopping center owners and store owners would have to increase their prices on goods and services. No one in leading positions in the business world wants that. However, John Q. Public doesn’t understand that. Big donors do understand it, and they affect the process. So the Split-Roll tax will not even get to a vote.
Property Tax Transfer: Really.
Michael Wyatt: Really. It’s not even going to get to a vote.
Property Tax Transfer: Not even get to a ballot? That’s incredible. Let me ask you something… Don’t consumers even suspect that if the Split-Roll tax passed, there is no more inheriting property taxes from parents at nice low rates… No more cheap rent… All the goods and services they’re used to would go up, as landlords (owners of business and commercial properties), will be paying much higher property taxes, and will be forced to increase their tenants’ rent?
Michael Wyatt: No. Consumers typically don’t analyze these issues far enough out to see what the fiscal affect will be on them. But, even so – the public is still 99% in favor of leaving Proposition 13 in place. Despite all the misinformation in the media.
Click Here for Part Three….
PART ONE: Interview With Michael Wyatt, CEO of Michael Wyatt Consulting ~ Real Property & Property Tax Advisory Firm in Corona, CA
Michael Wyatt’s very busy consulting and advisory firm in Corona, California, Michael Wyatt Consulting, works with attorneys, CPAs, financial planners, real estate brokers and their clients; who have real property and require assistance with a property tax issue. Mr. Wyatt believes that each and every client is unique, and comes to his firm with unique real property requirements. No one is a simple number on a list at Mr. Wyatt’s firm. All real estate services are designed to customize every client’s real estate needs and solutions, with decades of experience behind every analysis, insight & service.
For 25 years, Mr. Wyatt functioned successfully as a star appraiser for the Orange County Assessor’s Office – and was consistently given the most difficult commercial, retail, office, industrial, residential and apartment project appraisal assignments. As Operations Manager, Mr. Wyatt served as a senior Commercial & Residential Review Appraiser. Michael Wyatt provided valuation and legal assistance to the Assessor’s Office top management and staff on current Assessor Office guidelines and procedures, with respect to property tax laws, appraisal best practices and techniques.
Michael Wyatt Consulting annually reviews clients’ real estate values. The firm studies and forms strategy for proposed real estate transactions, along with ensuring property tax assessment avoidance. Mr. Wyatt conducts comprehensive real property research, reviews real estate deeds and other instruments for accuracy prior to recording; and serves as a liaison between clients and the Assessor’s Office – maintaining smooth, issue-free communications, coordination and cooperation with Assessors and other essential governmental agencies.
Part one of the interview with Michael Wyatt, a California Property Tax Consultant
Property Tax Transfer: Mr. Wyatt, thank you so much for speaking with us today.
Michael Wyatt: Very glad to be able to do it.
Property Tax Transfer: Can you tell us how you view Proposition 58, and how you explain this unique property transfer tax break to new clients? You must have to teach certain clients about what’s involved to keep parents property taxes, avoiding property tax reassessment and what they need to focus on in order to transfer parents property taxes to themselves when inheriting property, and what’s involved with California property tax transfer, and inheriting property taxes…
Michael Wyatt: You let them know that the Proposition 58 tax benefit entitles children of parents leaving them property to preserve the low Proposition 13 maximum 2% tax base. A California property tax transfer. However, a lot of people don’t fully understand that you have to apply for the benefit. It’s not automatic. And it doesn’t apply to the principal home.
Property Tax Transfer: What about explaining restrictions on this tax break?
Michael Wyatt: You have to explain to them that they get the assessed value tax benefit only if it’s a non principal home. You get the assessed value waved if for example it‘s a million dollar property… You get the million excluded – but the overage is reassessed… A lot of people don’t know that. The creators of the trust get this benefit.
Property Tax Transfer: Exactly how do you define “children” of the parent leaving property?
Michael Wyatt: The definition of ‘a child’ or “children” is typically the adult children of a decedent…But this also refers to step-parents. Step-parents can also transfer property to a step-child… Mom is a step parent and can still get the benefit. In laws get the benefit as well. You don’t have to be blood relatives.
Property Tax Transfer: Michael Wyatt Consulting frequently works with the popular trust lender Commercial Loan Corporation, providing clients with trust loans. Beside talking to them about the California property tax transfer, how do you describe California Proposition 58, and that whole process to prospects or clients, that are sort of inexperienced with all this?
Michael Wyatt: We basically introduce the trust lender, for example Commercial Loan Corporation, as a private money lender that loans to irrevocable trusts, that applies for and works in tandem with California Proposition 58… for beneficiaries who are looking to sell their real property shares – for the purpose of facilitating “non pro-rata distribution”… So every heir gets an equal share of the entire overall estate – however, not necessarily of every asset.
Property Tax Transfer: So what happens if beneficiaries go to a conventional lender, like Wells Fargo? Where there is no trust loan loan, no loans to to irrevocable trusts; no tax benefits associated with property tax transfer or parent to child transfer (commonly known as parent to child exclusion), so on and so forth.
Michael Wyatt: If there is a family that goes to a conventional, pricey lender like Wells Fargo for instance – they will always require adult children, beneficiaries that want to sell an inherited property, to ‘go off-title’, and that always triggers present-day tax reassessment. And that spells an expensive 66.66% tax hike!
Property Tax Transfer: Yes. Going “off-title”, taking your name off the title, always shifts you into a very expensive scenario. And if you use the Commercial Loan Corp. trust loan?
Michael Wyatt: Well, if the family in question uses the Commercial Loan Corp, cLoanC.com, a company we have been using for years… the loan they provide is to a trust, and not to beneficiaries; so there is no title, and no crippling 66.66% property tax reassessment.
Property Tax Transfer: Got it. Can you give us an example, sir?
Michael Wyatt: Well, for example, there might be three siblings… beneficiaries – and a house to inherit. And this is always important to remember. If you’re one out of the three siblings that wants to keep the inherited house, you are definitely looking at a 66.66% property value tax reassessment – if you’re operating without a loan to a trust, or you’re using your own cash; or getting money from a very pricey institutional lender – typically with multiple restrictions and extremely strict terms.
Michael Wyatt can be contacted at (951) 264-6152 for question on retaining a parents low property tax base. You can reach the Commercial Loan Corporation at (877) 464-1066; or simply go to https://cloanc.com with questions on a loan to a trust, irrevocable trust, or a property in probate plus numerous other related issues.
Part Two: Your Source for Timely, Accurate News and Info on Trusts & Estates, for California Proposition 13 & Proposition 58
Let’s take a quick look at the actual state tax data in the great state of California… Overall revenue going to local government entities from property taxes throughout California was nearly $5.0 billion in 1978 to 1979… and by 2010 to 2011 real estate tax revenue was at $49 billion per year! An increase that is two and a half times the rate of inflation over the same period, furnishing California local government entities with a very robust stream of real property tax revenue.
On the human side, away from the economics of the issue, folks in California, prior to Proposition 13, before 1978, were seeing elderly neighbors, friends and senior relatives, inheriting property taxes in CA… being forced from their homes as egregious real property tax increases spiraled out of control — and in some areas literally doubled from one year to the next — as older friends and beloved elderly relatives living right next door on fixed incomes, could not meet these unfair tax increases and were cruelly pushed out of homes they had been living in, and raised families in, for over 40 years. neighbors were being forced from their homes.
After Proposition 13 was voted into law, Californians saw right away the benefits of a tax system that would limit annual tax increases to 1% to 2% max, and began to provided a stable system for everyone in California – from government agencies that depend on property taxes, to people like seniors and other various middle class home owners… turning what had become a dreaded system of out of control real property taxes – into a fair, predictable tax system year to year – no longer a financial nightmare for those who happened not to be wealthy, living on modest or fixed incomes.
And of course in 1986 Proposition 58 was passed in California, making Proposition 13 all the more critical and invaluable… smoothing out property transfer from parent to child into a formal transaction; middle class people inheriting property taxes in CA now had the ability to avoid property tax reassessment at present-day rates, with the right to keep parents property taxes intact. Naturally, this was a major advancement for Californians, in terms of tax relief. Not only for residential and commercial property owners – but for renters all across the state as well, since rents remained reasonable as long as landlords were not besieged by increased property taxes.
Nonetheless, those opposing this most popular tax solution called Prop 13 by Californians, still continue dragging the same old tired arguments through the gutters and broken down political avenues used by real estate executives, politicians and newspaper editors to put forth their old, discredited arguments in Op-Eds and widely debunked opinions in Editorials, in the few newspapers that will allow them the space to air out their opinions — despite the fact that everyone knows most Californians favor Proposition 13 & 58. The critics are tone deaf.
We present these issues objectively in this go-to free resource blog for people interested in Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 property transfers…. For those keenly interested in learning more about how to avoid property tax reassessment, and how to keep parents’ 1% to 2% property tax limits safely in place in California, out of the reach of irrational opponents…
For those of us who want to know more about parent to child transfer and parent to child exclusion; about trust distribution loans, avoiding property tax reassessment, proposition 13 transfer, how to keep parents property taxes… and how to effectively transfer parents property taxes. And for property owners who wish to educate themselves further on the subject of inheriting property taxes, property tax transfer, real property tax transfer or real estate tax transfer.
If these interests, and additionally related topics, describe you – then you’re in the right place. We welcome your opinions and comments, and we’ll add your text comments or audio/video commentary, if you have something new, valuable, or unique to add to the discourse here.
PART TWO: California Proposition 58 and Loans to Trusts ~ Featuring Noted Trust Loan Expert Tanis Alonso from Commercial Loan Corp.
Our Interview with noted Commercial Loan Corp. Trust Loan and Proposition 58 specialist Tanis Alonso continues…
Property Tax Transfer: Tanis, let me ask you… Beneficiaries that call your company, desperate to keep parents property taxes; for any solution to their property transfer / Proposition 58 issue – is it a safe bet to assume that 99% of the time there are elements that come up again and again?
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): Well, that’s true, to a point. With beneficiaries that call us, with a trust or estate situation, there is always real property being inherited, going to one or several beneficiaries… and little, if any, cash – and each family always has different dynamics. There are always differences, as regards the people and details involved. But, the one constant you can be sure of is that there is always someone who wants to sell… and always someone who wants to keep the property they are inheriting… dead set against selling.
Property Tax Transfer: And at the end of the tunnel, is it safe to assume that with your company it’s generally a win-win equation, for everyone involved. Everyone involved, more or less, get what they want, right?
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): That’s right. 99% of the time. The beneficiary, or beneficiaries, that want cash from the sale of the property that they’re inheriting, get the cash they were looking for, from the trust loan…
Property Tax Transfer: And the beneficiary or beneficiaries that want to keep the house, get to keep that house, and keep parents property taxes…
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): Yes! And let me say that, typically, this is a really, really big win for them – as the siblings that wanted to sell are usually very vocal, and very aggressive about their desire to do so! That beneficiary that wants to keep that property, that is also able to get the other siblings a large amount of cash for their shares in the inherited real estate – while still being able to keep the home they’re so attached to, and keep parents property taxes; keeping parents property tax rate. This would be practically impossible, were it not for our trust loan. And there’s your win-win equation!
Property Tax Transfer: And what about the cost factor? Costs involved in the equation… How does everyone benefit on that level, getting cash to the beneficiaries that wanted cash from a house sale? Versus coming up with property buyout cash themselves…
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): OK, so cost involved, selling versus keeping inherited property. I’ll try to keep the equation simple. Costs associated with this property funding process through a trust loan, paying for everything, including beneficiary property shares buyout, taxes, etc. is, on average, 3.5% – So by someone keeping the family property everyone will receive more money than if they were to sell the property at approximately 6.5% in costs. The average trust receives $45,716 more to distribute than if they were to sell the property to some random buyer. Each beneficiary on average is receiving $16,652 more by someone keeping the property, instead of selling it. And our average annual tax savings is $6,043. We have already saved a combined amount just shy of 1 million dollars for our clients on property taxes. That is a significant benefit for all beneficiaries when someone keeps the property instead of selling it!
PropertyTax Transfer: So you’re saying those savings would have been completely lost, per beneficiary, if they had sold out to a regular buyer…
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): That’s right. For example, say it’s you and your sister. A major conflict. You want to keep the house you’re all inheriting from your parents, plus keep parents property taxes. Why should I let my sister sell? The solution there is because you are going to get more cash in your hands than if you were to sell the property! That’s the bottom line. A trust loan transaction takes 7-10 business days whereas selling will take a few months. Everyone receives more money, more rapidly, then if they were to sell the property on the open market. Everyone benefits from this… it’s win-win all the way around.
PropertyTaxTransfer: So you let your sister sell, so everyone wins – is what you’re saying.
Tanis Alonso: Of course! Let her sell, let her get her way – and you end up getting your way… you get what you wanted, to keep your house with everyone paid off and happy. No more conflict. On a $500,000 property – do you want to spend 6.5% to sell that property, with a realtor, or 3.5% through our trust loan, in keeping with the Proposition 58 tax system? Which number would you want to give away, 6.5% or 3.5%?
Property Tax Transfer: Naturally. So the long range picture looks like increases in taxes as well, so that’s not as affordable either.
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): Absolutely right. In certain cases a property tax reassessment can add an extra $700 to $1000 per month to your property taxes. That’s an extra $1,000 per month – not per year! Month after month. That is affordability vs not affordability to many.
Property Tax Transfer: Going through the Proposition 58 tax system, with the trust loan paying everyone off… What would property taxes look like going down that road?
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): OK so the question is, “why do I need a trust loan to buy out beneficiaries who want to sell our inherited house?” The answer is you can still keep the house you’re inheriting, and not spend any of your own money in the process. The importance of the trust loan is that you can buy out your siblings and still keep parents property taxes. You keep 100% of the low Proposition 13 property tax base that was originally paid by your parents. If you were to use your own money to buy out your siblings, the State Board of Equalization would see that as a sibling buying out a sibling – and that would definitely trigger a property tax reassessment. Naturally, the result of that would be higher taxes. So you need the trust loan to buy out your siblings in order to take advantage of Proposition 58, and keep the low property tax base.
Property Tax Transfer: Most people don’t have that kind of cash on hand nor do they want to use all of their cash for this just to buy out beneficiaries in an estate setting. Especially if the numbers go higher…
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): Beneficiaries who want to keep their inherited property still put a lot more money in their pocket, still save a lot more, by not using their own funds… by buying out beneficiaries that want to sell by going the trust loan route. Staying within the discounted Proposition 13 tax base, being able to keep parents property taxes … taking advantage of the Proposition 58 property tax system, or tax shelter. Using this tax shelter that we looked at before, if you recall – would be around $1,200 per year on a million dollar property. Saving thousands of dollars annually on property taxes by taking advantage of Proposition 58; keeping their parents low property tax base.
Property Tax Transfer: Yes, the difference in the numbers are stunning.
Tanis Alonso (Commercial Loan Corporation): Yes it is. So if you use your own money to buy out your siblings you will trigger a reassessment… if that was reassessed normally, without doing the property transfer and beneficiary payoff with our trust loan – you’d be looking at an $11,000 tax hit per year on the same million dollar property! If reassessed at the current, present day, base rate – that tax hit goes up 10 times. A significant difference in cash back in your pocket after it’s all done and said. Trust loans are a huge benefit for all of these families and that’s how we’re able to really help people in a significant way.
Property Tax Transfer: The amount of money saved really is remarkable. And I can see that you genuinely enjoy helping your clients save a great deal of money with these trust loans. Making great use of the low Proposition 13 base rate, and the Proposition 58 property transfer tax shelter… The formula works!
Tanis Alonso: Absolutely. And helping people in this way is what it’s all about! That entire viewpoint is the basis for this whole company, from the top down – starting with the CEO, who is a truly terrific guy, who genuinely loves helping people, with money, memories, and time. And you can’t replace memories and time!
Property Tax Transfer: You can’t replace memories and time… Very well put! That is a concept to remember.
Tanis Alonso: It is so important to remember, when you truly care about what happens to the people you’re helping.
Property Tax Transfer: Very true. Your clients are lucky to have you folks working for them. Thanks so much for speaking with us today.
Tanis Alonso: Thank you. It was a great pleasure chatting with you.
PART ONE: California Proposition 58 and Loans to Trusts – Featuring Noted Trust Loan Expert Tanis Alonso from Commercial Loan Corp.
We sat in with noted Proposition 58, trust loan expert – Tanis Alonso, at Commercial Loan Corporation in Southern California. Tanis has a uniquely profound, global understanding of the entire trust loan process; and applies a very human, not simply financial, viewpoint to the process ~ as does the entire team at the cloanc.com organization; with a strong, genuine focus on “helping people” not simply implementing financial transactions…
Property Tax Transfer: Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with us about Proposition 58 and trust loans today…
Tanis Alonso: Of course. It’s my pleasure.
Property Tax Transfer: Great. Tanis, can we take a close look at how the basic trust loan process works in California, from your perspective, as a lender – and from the point of view of your average everyday beneficiary, many who need to keep parents property taxes… Some who want to sell a property they are inheriting from their parents – and of course the other beneficiaries to a trust or estate that are determined to keep that home, and fight that sale. But first, who is your typical caller? Who in the estate or trust scenario tends to reach out to you first?
Tanis Alonso: Basically, whomever is trying to not sell the inherited property – is generally the initial caller to my office. It might be the trustee, frequently at odds with certain beneficiaries… Or very often it’s a family member, one of the beneficiary’s to the trust that doesn’t want to sell that home.
Property Tax Transfer: Got it. So, what does an average Proposition 58 property transfer and trust loan scenario in California look like, contributing to peace of mind for property owners? There must be similar scenarios, that reflect average trust or estate outcomes all across the state.
Tanis Alonso: Absolutely. One of the most common scenarios we see, here at Commercial Loan Corp., are elderly parents, for example… who, sadly, pass away, leaving loved ones behind. So, let’s say there is an estate, or perhaps a trust, and there are three beneficiaries involved… And property is the only asset… Let’s say there are no cash accounts. And this is not uncommon these days.
Property Tax Transfer: Yes, we hear that it’s quite common to see a trust inheritance, or probate estate, where there is very little cash left at the end of the road…
Tanis Alonso: Exactly. Parents who pass away in their nineties let’s say, who basically have spent most of their cash assets that were in savings, or in stocks and bonds, and by the time they get into their mid or late nineties, those assets are mostly gone, cashed out or spent –
Property Tax Transfer: You mean, simply spent on living… no frills, no traveling around the world, staying in fancy hotels, eating out in 5-star restaurants…
Tanis Alonso: Oh no, nothing fancy… just simple day to day living. Food, rent, medical expenses – normal expenses that eat up plenty of cash.
Property Tax Transfer: Certainly. Medical expenses can eat up an entire estate… and leave a house, and that’s all that is left in so many trusts, in so many estates, left by decedents. At least it’s usually paid for.
Tanis Alonso: Yes, many older homes being inherited by beneficiaries in these scenarios are not carrying any debt. Which is fortunate. So let’s say in many of these middle class or even upper middle class families there is a house, maybe some land, and possibly a few valuables…
Property Tax Transfer: OK. So there isn’t much money left in many inheritances… So what do beneficiaries do? When do these conflicts we hear so much about begin, when a house is being inherited by several beneficiaries… some who wish to sell, and some who prefer to keep the property, and to keep parents property taxes?
Tanis Alonso: Well, here is a typical middle class inherited real estate scenario – let’s say, for example, there are three beneficiaries and no other assets being inherited except an older home. One beneficiary wants to keep the house, to keep parents property taxes; while the other two siblings prefer to get cash from an immediate house sale, probably through a nearby realtor. But – instead of selling to a buyer, here is where Proposition 58 and a trust loan comes into play, providing liquidity and compliance with the Proposition 58 tax system – furnishing the two siblings who prefer to sell, with enough cash liquidity as if they had sold their shares in the inherited property to a buyer…
Property Tax Transfer: So why not sell? Why the trust loan?
Tanis Alonso: Because with a loan to a trust there is the upside of less expense. Frequently, we’re talking about ten times less of an expense than would normally be involved in a house sale. Again, a process compensating beneficiaries through a trust loan, instead of a house sale or coming up with the cash yourself… versus a formal house sale through a realtor that would cost approximately ten times the amount to process the entire scenario, a house sale, with realtor commission and fees, taxes, ancillary costs, etc…
Property Tax Transfer: Paying off the beneficiaries who wanted the cash from a house sale in the first place, right?
Tanis Alonso: Exactly. And so the rest of the trust loan goes to pay for 100% of parents Proposition 13 tax base – and the Proposition 58 tax system makes it possible to transfer the property to the beneficiary or beneficiaries that did not want to sell – to keep parents property taxes at the low Proposition 13 tax rate – or involving Proposition 193 if it is real property, not left by the parents, but by grandparents.
Property Tax Transfer: You say ten times less on expenses versus paying for it yourself?
Tanis Alonso: Absolutely. It costs the families we help far less to get a trust loan from us, believe it or not, then it does if they were to dig into their own savings to complete the Proposition 58 property transfer process.
Property Tax Transfer: How does that translate in terms of real numbers?
Tanis Alonso: Let’s say a property value is currently one million dollars and the current tax base is $1,200. If they were to get reassessed at current value that would be around $11,000 annually. By someone keeping the property and obtaining a trust loan to properly buy out their siblings that allows the beneficiary that is keeping the property to keep parents property taxes, to retain 100% of the Proposition 13 tax base that was paid by their parents and keep that low property tax base of $1,200. This of course creates much greater affordability than if they were to improperly buy out their siblings and have that property reassessed. The loan to trust goes hand in hand with the Proposition 58 property tax transfer system, creating enough liquidity to equalize distributions, not sell, and allow a beneficiary to keep their parents property with their low property tax base.
Property Tax Transfer: It sounds counter intuitive, doesn’t it.
Tanis Alonso: I know, it does sound counter intuitive – yet it’s true. All you have to do is run the numbers yourself, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s a better way to be able to keep an inherited house in the family, and to keep parents property taxes, when there is a dispute going on that pits the beneficiary who wants to keep a house against the beneficiaries that want to sell that home. A home that a family has so many memories associated with; with such strong emotional attachments to. There are so many wonderful family memories that are attached to each home. And every home is unique and different in that sense, just as every family member is different and unique.
Property Tax Transfer: You mean emotional memories you can’t replace with cash, in fact you can’t buy for any amount of money.
Tanis Alonso: That’s right. Anyway, this process allows families to keep that home in the family. And that’s the most important point!
Property Tax Transfer: It is the crucial point.
Tanis Alonso: Absolutely. And as a person on the front lines for this firm, neither I or Commercial Loan Corp. view each trust loan scenario as simply a “financial transaction”. Nor do we see the home they’ve lived in for decades as just a “piece of real property”. To us, this a “piece of family history” in the making. And the process a family decision, not a “transaction”. We see our clients as real families that we’re helping, financially and emotionally, not just as clients signing a contract for a trust loan. For us it’s much more than that.
Property Tax Transfer: It’s very obvious that you really enjoy helping people… getting them money when they really need it – and saving them on the cost side in the bargain, with trust loans.
Tanis Alonso: Correct. We see them as real people that we’re able to help in a time of need. For us it’s so much more than cash and property – we don’t view it that way. We’re talking about family history here. Not just “another deal”.
Continued in Part Two…
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