My father is 84 years old & would like to put us kids on the title of the houses. What kind of attorney do we need to see that
Cupertino, CA |
can help us with that. We want to keep the properties under prop 13. There is also an issue with one of my siblings being disabled & receiving Medicare & Medicaid-we would want to protect any potential inheritance.
You need to be cautious about this because you raise several issues. It sounds like your father has "houses" plural. Under California law, you can get an exclusion from reassessment of property taxes for your Dad's primary residence and the first $1,000,000 of real property passing between parents and children. Next, for purposes of Medicare and MediCal planning, you need to be careful that your brother doesn't receive assets himself that will disqualify him from getting his government benefits. Finally, when your father puts you on title to the house, you should pay close attention to whether your father deeds to you and your siblings as joint tenants (meaning a person's interest in the house passes to you and the other joint tenants upon death) or as a tenant in common (meaning a person's interest in the house passes to that person's heirs upon death who may or may not be the other joint tenants). Your father should speak to an estate planning attorney well-versed in Medicare and MediCal planning and eligibility.
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In addition to the points raised above, putting you and your siblings on title to property while your father is still living raises serious tax issues. First, you and your siblings would have your father's basis in the properties - as opposed to a stepped-up basis if transferred after death. Second, there are some gift tax consequences.
I urge you to have your father visit with a qualified estate planning attorney to address all of these issues. This is not something to be done lightly without legal assistance.
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The prior answers by the other two attorneys are correct. One further comment I would like to add is that because one of your siblings is receiving entitlement government benefits, if proper estate planning isn't done for your father, the inheritance to that sibling will likely interrupt, if not terminate, his eligibility to receive those benefits. Have your father see an qualified estate planning attorney to address these issues of the special needs of your brother, potential gift tax and property tax issues, as well as issues to avoid the probate process and having an orderly transfer of assets to you and your siblings.
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I generally agree with the previous attorneys' answers, with the clarification that the exclusion from reassessment for parent to child transfers of property other than a personal residence is for $1,000,000 of assessed valuation of property, not market value at time of death or transfer.
I believe that nothing should be considered without consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney. Your question does not indicate why your father wants to put you and your siblings on the title, and it may well be that the reasons can be dealt with more properly by good planning rather than a "simple" change in title.