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Transfer-on-death trust triggers reassessment?

Oakland, CA |

I am single and own a home. I'd like to transfer my home to a trust that would vest title in my successor beneficiary outside of probate. I'd be the sole beneficiary during my lifetime. Would transfer to such a trust trigger a property-tax reassessment? Would transfer to the successor beneficiary trigger a reassessment?

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I would advise against trying to do your estate plan on your own. This is a simple issue that the estate planner would be able to assist you with. There are many other issues that you should consider from assets to health decisions while you are living that a qualified planner can walk you through.

That said, the simple answer is no. The transfer to a revocable trust in which you are the Settlor and Trustee will not trigger reassessment. The deed needs to be prepare correctly and you will need to submit as PCOR when recording the deed.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


Typically no since beneficial title remains in you.


There are a number of exclusions from reassessment, and transferring to a revocable trust in which you are the beneficiary is one of the exceptions. The deed will need to refer to the proper exclusion, and as noted, you will need to file a PCOR.

Any good estate planning attorney should be preparing a trust transfer deed for you as part of the package. After all, a trust does nothing if its not properly funded!

The information above should not be considered legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Transfer to a revocable living trust of your own home in California where you are the beneficiary of the home will not trigger a property tax reassessment. Transfer to your successor beneficiary WILL trigger a reassessment unless your ultimate beneficiary fits into one or more specific exclusions from reassessment.

You should have an estate planning attorney such as myself assist you with the proper planning, especially in reference to real estate transfers. I am down in San Jose.

Please remember to mark what you believe to be the best answer to your question. This answer is provided by estate planning attorney Robert P. Bergman, with offices in San Jose, California. Mr. Bergman is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law (State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization), and has been practicing since 1980. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is only intended to provide general legal advice within the limits of the question asked. If you wish to create an attorney-client relationship for specific legal advice, it will be necessary to enter into an engagement for legal services. More general legal information about wills, living trusts, and estate planning can be found at Mr. Bergman's main website at, or his information website at Mr. Bergman also offers free living trust seminars and wealth preservation seminars at his offices in San Jose. For those unable to attend a live seminar, an online living trust seminar may be viewed or downloaded at


Your previous counsel had advised you that your conveyance of your home into a trust with a successor beneficiary other than yourself after your demise would not trigger a tax reassessment. To take the analysis one step further, upon your demise unless the alternate successor beneficiary was a child or grandchild then there would be a reassessment of the property at that point and time.

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So long as the trust is for your sole benefit during your lifetime, then the initial transfer should not trigger a property tax reassessment. However, the transfer to another beneficiary at the time of your death will trigger a property tax reassessment unless a parent-child or grandparent-grandchild exemption is available.

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