Over the weekend our firm helped with the Sunnyvale Public Library’s seminar series Aging in Place. The series focused on educating the public about common concerns for aging and retiring homeowners. Based on the feedback, one big realization for many attendees was few of the homeowners knew how they owned their property.
By this I mean the characterization phrase that comes after your name on the deed. Some common examples for a married couple in California are “Community Property,” “Sole and Separate Property,” and “Joint Tenancy.” If you own a house, then your deed has this on it. While you may not be aware of what it says, that short phrase may cause substantial taxes if not planned correctly with your situation.
We encourage all homeowners to check and make sure they know what the characterization on their property is, and that it matches their situation. Most Estate Planning Attorneys will confirm this while placing the property into the client’s trust, so this is an issue you can handle by hiring professional assistance.