Funding California Real Estate Into Living Trusts: Tip Sheet

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Californians create living trusts, but often fail to fund the trusts. The real property is at risk for probate. Deed and Record delivers tip sheet on how to use quit claim deeds to fund trusts.

Mark W. Bidwell, Attorney at Law

Real property not owned or titled in a trust is at risk for probate.

Trusts are unfunded due to refinancing or omitted transfers. Real property not owned or titled in a trust is at risk for probate. Deed and Record prepares quit claim deeds to fund trusts and avoid probate.

How a trust avoids Probate    
Real estate is transferred into trust by quit claim deed while the person is living. When the person dies real property is transferred by the successor trustee from the trust to persons who are living as directed in the trust. These documents are filed with the county recorder’s office. The successor trustee does not need letters testamentary or an order from the probate court. For more information.

Quit Claim Deed Explained
Quit claim deeds do not contain any implied warranties. The owner ‘quit claims’ whatever ownership interest he or she has along with any debt or loans secured by the property. The quit claim owner makes no promises and the property is taken ‘as is.’ A quit claim is the easiest and cheapest way to transfer ownership of real property into a trust.

Preliminary Change of Title Report Explained
Each county assessor's office in California reviews all recorded deeds for that county to determine which properties require reappraisal under California law. Proposition 13 requires the county assessor to reassess the property to its current fair market value as of the date the change.

Since property taxes are based on the assessed value of a property at the time of acquisition, a current market value higher than the previously assessed Proposition 13 adjusted base year value will increase the property taxes. But there are exclusions.

Transfers in and out of a trust are exempt. To obtain the exclusion, the grantee fills out a form for the county assessor entitled Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR).

Why Record the Deed?
The deed must be made part of the public record so the world knows there has been a change of ownership. The deed must be recorded in the county where the real property is located.

Make it “Legal”
A properly prepared quit claim deed must have a legal description so the county recorder’s office can add the deed to the public chain of title. The legal description is not the street address. The legal description has at a minimum the map, block and lot number of the real estate property. County recorders will not accept a quit claim deed without a legal description.

Company Profile
The website,, is an online service to prepare quit claim deeds for real property transfers into or out of trusts, remove former spouses and add or remove co-owners. The Company records deeds it has prepared with the appropriate government agency. Deed and Record does not offer legal advice or services.

The Company markets through websites, primarily The owner of the websites is Mark W. Bidwell, Attorney at Law and CPA Inactive. The office is located at 18831 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 270, Irvine, California 92612. Phone number is 949-474-0961. Email is

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