Proposition 58’s Parent to Child Exclusion in 2021

Proposition 58's Parent to Child Exclusion in 2021

Proposition 58’s Parent to Child Exclusion in 2021

It is both crucial and about time for homeowners and commercial property owners in California to step back and take little time to read up on property tax breaks available in all 58 counties in the state – to fully understand exactly how property tax relief works now; how it’s still possible to transfer your current tax-basis to children or grandchildren. With the Proposition 19 property tax measure having revised crucial Proposition 58 property tax relief protections; in place since 1986.

It’s critical for property owners, no matter what their total property value or net worth is, to:

a) take full advantage of property tax relief as it is in 2021 going forward;

b) make sure the changes to Prop 58 “Parent to Child Exclusion” are well understood… that property inherited from a parent is either moved into as a primary residence, within 12-months after the remaining parent passes;

c) make sure they plan on selling their inherited property at a  break-even price or at a profit, if they are not able to move in as a primary residence within 12-months;

d)  insure that, if selling out to an outside buyer is not a preferred option, they understand how to enlist the help of a seasoned trust lender, such as the Commercial Loan Corp in Newport Beach… to get approved for Proposition 58, and to be able to take full advantage of loan funding to an irrevocable trust – used in conjunction with Prop 58 – in order to buyout property ownership from a co-beneficiary, or several siblings, waiting to inherit the same inherited home.

All of this entails learning how to operate successfully under the auspices of CA Proposition 19, passed in Nov of 2020; affecting property tax relief benefits that have been taken for granted by Californians since 1986, and if you factor in key property tax breaks from Proposition 13, having the right to property tax transfer, to avoid property tax reassessment to attain and keep a low property tax  base – since 1978.

It is also important to acknowledge that the majority of “Parent to Child Property Transfers” occur after both parents are gone; and to fully understand how Proposition 58 helps regular middle class homeowners and business property owners in the state of California, and not fall prey to conspiracy theories that claim property tax relief is only for the wealthy. 

The date of passing of the last (surviving) parent is used as the date of transfer for beneficiaries (offspring, or “children”, typically grown children of decedents leaving property to their heirs or beneficiaries).

The average trust beneficiary takes roughly a year and a half to settle an estate after a lone surviving parent passes away, leaving liquid assets and/or real property to heirs or beneficiaries. It is also important to remember that during this time the children of decedents are responsible for continuing to pay the property taxes on their parent’s home and any other property in question. 

Under California law, Proposition 58, Proposition 193 and Proposition 13 (which may also be combined with Proposition 60 and Proposition 90) allows  a parent or grandparent to transfer their current tax-basis to their children or grandchildren. You can still transfer your current tax-basis to heirs in California, it’s just not as ‘free and easy’ as it has been. These benefits can still apply to a gift, a sale, an inheritance, or a hybrid of these property transfers.

More specifically, Proposition 58 and Proposition 193 allow a parent or grandparent to gift or sell their real property during their lifetime, or gift their property at death, to their child or grandchild, and concurrently transfer their Proposition 13 tax basis, and other Proposition 13 benefits, along with the property, thus saving the child or grandchild potentially thousands of dollars per year for as long as they own the property. So not only can you transfer your current tax-basis to beneficiaries,  your beneficiaries who are inheriting property  are also allowed to combine benefits provided by Proposition 58 with a loan to an irrevocable trust, to buyout inherited property shares from siblings who are co-beneficiaries.

Prop 19 was promoted as a way to: “Increase funds for firefighters and wildfire containment programs; to eliminate unfair tax loopholes used by East Coast investors, celebrities, wealthy non-California residents, and trust fund heirs…” again, citing conspiracy theories publicized by critics of property tax relief in California. 

Looking at this legislation in-depth reveals that it also eliminates property tax increase protections for many more California property owners. “East Coast Investors” is a thinly disguised euphemism suggesting that it’s not really about your right to transfer your current tax-basis — it’s about thousands of voracious outside investors “gobbling up properties” on the beach or wherever, and renting them out at egregious prices to rich visitors and vacationers.

Not so. In fact, these property tax measures would affect mostly local residents inheriting property from their parents, not families from nearby states – as critics of property tax relief are claiming – with no evidence whatsoever to back up their claims. No evidence and no proof… simply free-floating conjecture.

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.