California Proposition 58 & Proposition 19 Lenders

California Proposition 58 and Proposition 19 Lenders

California Proposition 58 and Proposition 19 Lenders

We all know it’s a period of time right now in America of great uncertainty, insecurity and stress… affecting many families, creating enormous tensions, frequently financial…  Even affecting family estates, when a parent passes away; and where ‘will contests’ can be a real problem for families – for example, sibling-A believing she/he should be getting more than sibling-B;  so on and so forth.  We see a lot more of this sort of family conflict lately, over the past few  years, than ever before.

Although we do, thankfully, have solutions in California to prevent such conflicts from descending into disaster. Some of these solutions are tied into getting approved for CA Proposition 58 so heirs can avoid property tax reassessment; as well as classic CA Proposition 13 property tax breaks, for California property owners looking to work around new Proposition 19 property tax obstacles that force homeowners to move into inherited property within one year or lose their “Parent to Child Exclusion”. This can be a stunning loss of property tax relief; unless we meet it head on, and are able to  successfully work around it. 

It seems it’s still possible to take advantage of the property tax transfer benefit from parents, with the ability to keep parents property taxes while avoiding property tax reassessment of course. Despite newly passed obstacles, we can still transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property – bottom line, inheriting parents property taxes at a low base rate the way Proposition 13 was intended!  

Firms like Commercial Loan Corp can help solve estate conflicts between beneficiaries; making it possible for us to buyout siblings with a “sibling to sibling property transfer”, siblings who want to sell their inherited property shares, while allowing us to keep the same mutually inherited property from parents – with a trust loan, at that low base rate.  As long as we get approved for Proposition  58, heirs can avoid property tax reassessment, as the California State Board of Equalization explains.  Or possibly at a niche property tax info blog like this one, Property Tax Transfer

As long as everyone gets the cash they were expecting with a trust loan, and/or end up with a nice low property tax base… everyone ends up in a win-win happy sibling scenario. As long as the ‘will contest’ can be resolved to some degree, and direct communications between siblings doesn’t completely fall part.

These conflicts have often dominated family structures, so much so that some family groups actually splinter apart… with some family members literally leaving California for ever.  Additionally, Southern California home prices are currently at record levels, which doesn’t help. 

Because of hyper expensive home pricing many people are moving from California to nearby states where cheaper real estate can be found, in decent middle class or lower middle class neighborhoods; including Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and in some cases Oregon and Washington, according to Jordan Levine, an economist at the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), who says California residents leave to get out from under general California inflation and an increasingly expensive overall lifestyle that many middle class families simply cannot afford to sustain – in terms of buying a home, feeding a family, maintaining numerous cars and insurance plans, health coverage expenses; schools; you name it. 

It is ironic that C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) produces a report describing elevated living expenses in the state of California, while they are in fact the chief sponsor supporting the recent Proposition 19 property tax measure, watering down  property tax relief for California home owners… contributing to the higher cost of living in the state… Obstructing the way heirs can avoid property tax reassessment by unraveling the “Parent to Child Exclusion” or Parent-to-Child Exemption, as realtors like to call it.

As a matter of fact, this past August, the median home price in California was up more than 12% from a year earlier, according to CoreLogic/DQNews. Experts say the median home price is being impacted by an increase in luxury homes along with the flexibility of remote working options, which also allows people to move away from places like Los Angeles or San Francisco, to nearby states, in rural areas where families can get more space and amenities for far less cost than in many populated areas in California.

California real estate is often significantly more expensive than other, nearby, states. But then again, so is property in states like New York, or Chicago, in Oregon,  Maryland or Massachusetts. However. At least in California, homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property have been fortunate enough to have property tax breaks at their disposal since 1978 such as Proposition 13, maintaining a low property tax cap of 1% to 2 % max.

Moreover, since 1986 Proposition 58 has positively impacted property transfers and naturally property tax transfer, avoiding property tax reassessment on inherited property while inheriting property taxes from parents.  This  has actually saved homeowners in California tens of thousands of dollars over the years.  Hundreds of thousands, literally, over decades.

In fact, thanks to Proposition 58, trust loan based estate funding transactions save beneficiaries $6,000 to $8,000 or more on average, per family, every year.  No, it’s not millions… But for a regular middle class family it is definitely significant.   And if homeowners can’t access this type of benefit, it will hurt them financially year after year.

So even if we can buy a house more cheaply in a relatively inexpensive state like Ohio, or Idaho, South Dakota, North Carolina, or Wisconsin, for example… All comparatively less pricey than average property in many areas in California — we end up spending more anyway every year in property taxes in those other states. So we end up spending more every year anyway.

Property tax transfer, known as a parent to child transfer or parent to child exemption, will always be low, at 2% or less – if we continue to be able to avoid property tax reassessment.  With new property tax laws in place, if we miss that 12-month deadline to move into inherited property – then we’re right back in the financial vice known as “current market value”…

And, bless the California politicos who negotiated for us against the Legislature to at least retain enough of Proposition 58 so as long as we do get in under the wire, within that first 12-months after our decedent passes away… with 6-figure trust loan approval, we can, as beneficiaries, buy out co-beneficiaries’ shares of inherited property, which realtors call “sibling to sibling property transfer”, or ”transfer of property between siblings” and end up owning our own property anyway, without the problem of sharing real estate with siblings we’d rather not own property with.

Thankfully, although the timeline has now become more challenging, we can, as California inheritors and homeowners, still take advantage of tax breaks made possible by Proposition 58 and Proposition 13, in concert with an irrevocable trust — and buyout siblings,  so we can take over our own home at a nice low property tax base, more or less equivalent to the tax base enjoyed by our parents. Property tax relief in California may be a bit rocky right now… but it’s still there, if we use it carefully and judiciously.  And keep both eyes on that calendar!

Loans for Irrevocable Trusts

Loans for homes in an irrevocable trust

Loans for homes in an irrevocable trust

According to financial leaders who own firms that provide loans for irrevocable trusts and property tax relief programs, in concert with Proposition 58, Prop 193, and Proposition 13 – typically saving  homeowners over $8,500 in extra taxes every year – the news is that property owners in California should consider accomplishing any property transfers to heirs, that may be planned either as a sale, a gift or an inheritance, or a hybrid – prior to or by Feb. 15, 2021…

Feb. 15th being the final day one can access original Proposition 58 or Prop 193 property tax break benefits – to save money on the initial transfer, plus thousands of dollars on yearly property taxes, as the tax assessor comes around to collect, so to speak.  

To reiterate, as you probably already know, Proposition 58 allows parents in California to transfer property to their children without triggering a property tax reassessment. And as you most likely are aware, you must be the son or daughter of a parent that resides, and owns property, in California – in order to qualify for a “parent to child exclusion” (also referred to as a parent to child exemption) – from reassessment, in terms of the current market value of family owned real property.

Conversely, Proposition 193 allows grandparents to transfer property to their grandchildren, with a “grandparent to grandchild exemption” – without having to worry about current market property tax reassessment.  It’s worth noting that the Proposition 193 exclusion is workable only if the Proposition 58 exemption cannot be used.  In other words, to put it bluntly, parents of the grandchildren in question must be deceased.  That may sound harsh, however it is important to know the facts.

To be safe and secure, experts are telling us right now to be aware of certain changes to the Proposition 58 “parent to child exclusion” tax break – and to remain aware of time as a serious factor. We are told that we should view Feb. 15, 2021 as a formal deadline for completing a family property transfer or intra-family trust for a trust loan – not for paperwork signatures, or a postmark date. With potential county closures mounting up, the completion of this sort of transaction in person could very well continue to be a challenge, and backlogs affecting paperwork sent through the mail could be an issue at some point.  

As of February 16, 2021, family property transfers must be used as a primary residence, to avoid property tax reassessment at current market value; maintaining the invaluable right to avoid property tax reassessment.  Fortunately, Californians will still be able to take advantage of a property tax break as long as they are using inherited property as a primary residence, within a year of the passing of the decedent who is leaving the property to his or her children; typically as an inheritance.    

However, we do need to be aware that it is the next generation of property owners, in the future, that may incur higher property taxes due to new tax laws, or shall we say a revised version of the same   property tax break protected by CA Proposition 58.  The point being, with new changes to property tax law in California, with the right to avoid property tax reassessment being challenged and even partially unraveled, it has  become more important than ever to consult or work with Prop 58 and property tax relief experts that are knowledgeable in all trust loan, Proposition 58 and Proposition 13 matters… who maintain a grasp of property tax law changes, and how those shifts impact beneficiaries and property owners in the state of California.    

Home ownership for middle class Americans has mushroomed and developed at a breakneck pace, as the gold centerpiece that represents The American Dream…. Yet it is property tax breaks, and property tax relief for the middle class in the state of California – that has kept that dream alive.

PART TWO: Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion From Property Tax Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion
From Property Tax Reassessment

And yet, until these changes to property tax relief are repealed, let’s be thankful at least that, going forward, beneficiaries inheriting property directly from parents will still be able to retain Proposition 58’s parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment (at full or current market value), as long as those direct beneficiaries move into an inherited property as a primary residence, within 12-moinths after the passing of the parent leaving  that property as a gift, a sale, or an inheritance.  

This is a difficult matter to overcome without some careful planning… and this is certainly one component of Prop 19 that was, shall we say, “under-played”, or actually hidden from voters, prior to Nov. 2020.  The prevailing thought is that this will perhaps be repealed in the near future once voters actually experience the reality of these changes to Proposition 58, whether they voted for change or not.

Yet, whether we like it or not, all of these revisions do unravel long-standing tax benefits protected by Proposition 58 concerning the parent to child exclusion as well as trust loan enabled sibling to sibling property transfer, buying out property inherited by siblings; or Proposition 193, with regards to the grandparent to grandchild exemption; passed overwhelmingly by voters in California in Nov. of 1986 and March 1996, respectively, allowing parents to transfer their property tax basis of a primary residence ) to their children; plus up to $1 million of assessed value of other property – namely $1million of the Proposition 13 values on rental properties or other investment properties passed to heirs, not based on fair market value; and effectively allowing far more than $1million of property value to transfer while retaining the lower tax bill.

Even though the California Legislature and California Association of Realtors may be more interested in funding unfunded local government pensions, footing the bill for a few school programs, and getting some more homes into the market for sale – it’s not in question to any reasonable person, without a financial or political axe to grind, that Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and Prop 193 have saved heirs thousands upon thousands of dollars every year, that they would have otherwise been spending needlessly on vastly over-priced property taxes.

Not to mention the truly  excellent sibling to sibling property transfer benefit, buying out inherited sibling property – which is always Proposition 58 & trust loan enabled, to buyout property inherited by co-beneficiaries.  Noted attorney Devin Lucas, one of the most knowledgeable proponents of Prop 13, Prop 58 and 193, and California property tax relief in general, which he summed up brilliantly in Oct. of 2020.  Mr. Lucas offered some real-world examples to illustrate the practical importance of these tax breaks for families, as follows:

“Due to the tremendous benefits of Proposition 13, many long term owners continue to pay property taxes based upon their original purchase price (or price as determined when the proposition was enacted), with annual increases not to exceed two percent, regardless of current value. This can be especially beneficial in areas such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Orange County and other coastal communities that have seen incredible growth in property values.

For example, assume a parent’s home in Newport Beach is currently worth $2,500,000. They purchased the home long ago for low a low six-figure amount and due to the enormous benefits of Proposition 13 are paying about $3,500 a year in property taxes. If the child were to purchase a home for $2,500,000 today, that would equate to a $25,000 annual property tax bill (assuming one percent, not including various municipal bonds and other taxes commonly found on property tax bills). Transferring the property tax basis of the parent’s home, and therefore that $3,500 a year bill, just saved this hypothetical child $21,500 a year in property taxes. $21,500 a year, for as long as they own the home.

Principal residences have no cap in value, all other property, such as investment properties or second homes, have a benefit cap of $1 million, in which case a mother / grandmother and father / grandfather can combine their exclusions for a limit of $2 million. If the property is worth more than said caps, then a new blended property tax basis will be configured by the county…”  

Other property tax breaks, Propositions 60 and Prop 90 (allowing homeowners over the age of 55 to sell their home and purchase a replacement home of equal or lesser value and maintain the property tax basis of their original home) cannot be combined with a gift or sale of the original home to a child under Proposition 58, which thankfully still works well in concert with a trust loan, buying out inherited sibling property.

Fortunately, Proposition 193 is also intact, allowing grandparents to transfer their current tax-basis to grandchildren. The wonderful thing, still, is that these property tax benefits can always apply to a gift, sale or hybrid of the two and can amount to enormous property tax savings.  And that is truly  what this is all about.

PART ONE: Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

Although trust beneficiaries, estate heirs, and homeowners in general hear more and more these days about “trust loans” and “intra-family trusts” used in conjunction with Proposition 58, which has graced Californians with its’ parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment at current market value… there are, however, a good deal of misconceptions and a fair amount of confusion about this process that we should try to clear up a bit.

With recent changes to property tax relief surfacing, we don’t fully know what the effect these changes will have on Proposition 58 on Prop 13 property tax relief benefits, including the wonderful benefits trust loan funding provides, in terms of buying out property shares inherited by co-beneficiaries, or “sibling to sibling property transfer”, as realtors and tax attorneys like to refer to this process.

Middle class residents are getting more interested in this type of transaction, as it is moving the lending process away from more conventional, credit-based, hard money loans replete with high-interest charges and fine-print fees, piles of invasive personal-info paperwork… monthly payments that go on for years; so on and so forth.

So starting February 16, 2021, if you transfer your property to your children (or, grandchildren, if the parents have passed away), by way of inheritance, gifting, a sale, any hybrid sort of property transfer; estate planning outcomes; etc. – inherited real property taxes will be reassessed at yearly current market value.

Due to changes to the CA Proposition 58 parent to child exclusion benefit, heirs in the future will no longer be privy to inheriting property taxes, your Proposition 13 low tax base or “Proposition 13 Basis” has been California tax law for decades. With Proposition 58 protected rights such as sibling to sibling property transfer, or transferring parents property taxes inexpensively since 1986… with homeowners being able to continue inheriting property taxes, while having the right to keep parents property taxes on pretty much all property tax transfer scenarios.

However, if this property tax issue involving the watering down of Proposition 58 tax relief benefits is in fact a trend… and it does keep going in the direction is appears to be going – beginning with Proposition 19, with the possibility of Proposition 15 re-surfacing again with a more effective marketing plan the next time around – property tax transfer, parent to child transfer of property and the ability to keep parents property taxes may continue to be unraveled to a point where genuine property tax relief in California may be rendered virtually inactive. 

Most Californians certainly hope this will not be the case, since California is the only state with property tax relief programs that really count, so therefore we trust voters will be more circumspect next time, and perhaps pay closer attention the next time a political measure looking to unravel property tax relief in California comes up for a vote – to help the CA Legislature pay for unfunded pensions as well as assisting the California Association of Realtors in getting more homes up into the market for sale!

Let’s hope that does not occur… and keep sending emails and letters, plus phone calls, to our state political representatives, now that it looks like voters are waking up to what they have been manipulated into voting for – not realizing what actually lurked in the details, under the hood of Prop 19 – with heartstring-tugging provisions, cleverly giving Californians something to vote for, with titles such as Property Tax Fairness for Family Homes, Property Tax Fairness for Seniors, the Severely Disabled, and Victims of Wildfire and Natural Disasters. 

The CA Association of Realtors  and the CA Legislature was clearly not going to be able to engender support  for a property tax measure entitled Prop19, Removal of Parent to Child Exclusion & Unraveling Your Right to Avoid Property Tax Reassessment…

A limited version of the parent to child exclusion, or parent to child exemption, does still seem to be secure for beneficiaries; that is to say moving into inherited property as a primary residence within a year after a parent passes away is a safe way to retain Proposition 58 benefits, with, additionally, the valued ability to buyout property inherited by siblings through a trust loan; as long as one is able to  move ones’ residence over the course of a year – essentially turning ones’ life upside down after the death of a parent – which is hopefully not so inconvenient or troublesome as to be paralyzing or traumatic.  And time will tell how this will play out.