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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36967
Experience:  Texas Attorney for 30 years dealing in real estate
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I am a planner and I always plan things ahead. I have the

Customer Question

Hi,
I am a planner and I always plan things ahead. I have the following questions.
1) My mom recently transferred the ownership of a California real estate house to me and my sister so me and my sister are listed as Joint Tenants on the Grant Deed. I would like to know if I need to take any actions (e.g, signing any legal documents to claim co-ownership after getting the Grant Deed). At this time, I have not signed anything and all I have is the Grant Deed with certifying stamp from the county records office. Please let me know what I need to do.
2) I have ample saving but I am not married yet. Nowadays divorce are common. I am afraid my future husband will change and if divorce is necessary, I do not want him to get any part of the real estate house and any of my saving. Is it legal to have a prenuptial agreement saying that in the event of divorce, he will not be entitled to any of the house or any of my saving earned before marriage?
3) If the future marriage turns nasty and if I will be handicapped (e.g, in coma) and can not talk, can the husband ask the court to grant him my house and my saving under any circumstances? If so, before I marry him, is there any way I can prevent him from doing so?
4) If the future marriage turns nasty and if I will be handicapped (e.g, in coma) and can not talk, can the husband ask the court to use my house and my saving earned before marriage to pay for medical expenses? If so, is there any way I can prevent him from doing so?
4) What if I die, can the husband or registered domestic partner get any portion of the real estate house or any of my saving?
5) If I decide not to get married but instead register the guy as domestic partner, are there any laws in United States that allow the registered domestic partner to get any portion of the real estate house or any of my saving if he lives with me for a period of time (e.g, 2 years)?
6) In the event of divorce, if I make more money than him and am asked by court to pay for alimony, will my real estate house and my saving earned before the marriage be used in the alimony evaluation process or be used in paying alimony?
7) If the future husband is sued for whatever reason by others (e.g, car accident), will my real estate house and saving earned before marriage be affected (e.g, I am not legally obligated to use my house and saving earned to pay for legal fees or any damage fees in the lawsuit)?
8) Is it possible to convert the entire residential house to business use purpose? Is it possible to use first floor as business and second floor as residential? Is it possible to build a studio on the lawn and rent it out?
Thanks-
Rachel
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.

Let's go through these.

1) My mom recently transferred the ownership of a California real estate house to me and my sister so me and my sister are listed as Joint Tenants on the Grant Deed. I would like to know if I need to take any actions (e.g, signing any legal documents to claim co-ownership after getting the Grant Deed). At this time, I have not signed anything and all I have is the Grant Deed with certifying stamp from the county records office. Please let me know what I need to do.

There is an affidavit you file when the other person deceases.I will get that for you.

2) I have ample saving but I am not married yet. Nowadays divorce are common. I am afraid my future husband will change and if divorce is necessary, I do not want him to get any part of the real estate house and any of my saving. Is it legal to have a prenuptial agreement saying that in the event of divorce, he will not be entitled to any of the house or any of my saving earned before marriage?

Yes it is legal to have a prenup claiming this as your separate property.It is a good idea here since it is separate and premarital to have such a written agreement.

3) If the future marriage turns nasty and if I will be handicapped (e.g, in coma) and can not talk, can the husband ask the court to grant him my house and my saving under any circumstances? If so, before I marry him, is there any way I can prevent him from doing so?

Keep their names off you accounts, have a valid will and POA for another person tot menage your affairs.

4) If the future marriage turns nasty and if I will be handicapped (e.g, in coma) and can not talk, can the husband ask the court to use my house and my saving earned before marriage to pay for medical expenses? If so, is there any way I can prevent him from doing so?

No not if you have premarital agreement here and name someone else in a POA to manage your affairs.

4) What if I die, can the husband or registered domestic partner get any portion of the real estate house or any of my saving?

No not if they aren't on the accounts and you have a valid will here.

5) If I decide not to get married but instead register the guy as domestic partner, are there any laws in United States that allow the registered domestic partner to get any portion of the real estate house or any of my saving if he lives with me for a period of time (e.g, 2 years)?

No again if you keep it separate and his name off the accounts and out of the will.Premarital agreement is a good idea too.

6) In the event of divorce, if I make more money than him and am asked by court to pay for alimony, will my real estate house and my saving earned before the marriage be used in the alimony evaluation process or be used in paying alimony?

Court does look at both parties income and resources in setting spousal support,premarital agreement the parties can agree no spousal support.

7) If the future husband is sued for whatever reason by others (e.g, car accident), will my real estate house and saving earned before marriage be affected (e.g, I am not legally obligated to use my house and saving earned to pay for legal fees or any damage fees in the lawsuit)?

No if it is a separate debt and his name on judgment.You aren't legally obligated for his judgments.But if you are named it liens your properties here too.

8) Is it possible to convert the entire residential house to business use purpose? Is it possible to use first floor as business and second floor as residential? Is it possible to build a studio on the lawn and rent it out?

It is but you need to check zoning for the area you may need zoning change if this is zoned residential.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Thanks again.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks. I did not get the affidavit. Can you send that to me?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
in my question one, I was not asking if the other person is deceased or not, I was asking "
1) My mom recently transferred the ownership of a California real estate house to me and my sister so me and my sister are listed as Joint Tenants on the Grant Deed. I would like to know if I need to take any actions (e.g, signing any legal documents to claim co-ownership after getting the Grant Deed). At this time, I have not signed anything and all I have is the Grant Deed with certifying stamp from the county records office. Please let me know what I need to do."
Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

If you have right of survivorship you file an affidavit with county deed records.

  • Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant
  • Affidavit of Surviving Spouse
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am a little confused. Are these 2 affidavits required for me to claim co-ownership? Are you saying the Grant Deed ( which says the house has been transferred to me and my sister) is not enough? So are you saying that with the Grant Deed, I am still curently NOT co-owner of the house?This Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant is to give the surviving co-owner of the Joint Tenant 100% ownership if one of the co-owners is dead?? If there is no such affidavit, it automatcally gives the ownership of the house to surviving co-owner????
This Affidavit of Surviving Spouse is to give my sister's future husband co-ownership of the house if she is dead? If there is no such Affidavit of Surviving Spouse, it automatcally gives the ownership of the house to surviving co-owner (which in this case is me if my sister is dead)????
Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

I am sorry.If you are the only opens on the grant deed then you both own it.I was not clear I though all three of you were on it with joint tenancy with right of survivorship.If this is in both sisters name you are tenants in common and each own 50 %.The affidavits are where a parent keeps an interest as joint tenant with right of survivorship.Didn't mean to confuse you.

No need to do anything other than to file deed and make sure tax assessor here has you on the taxes as legal owner.

Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

Sounds like you don't have JTWROS here but just tenants in common.

Tenants in Common

A tenancy in common is a form of property ownership that does not provide any survivorship rights among the co-owners, unlike with a joint tenancy. When one tenant in common dies, that tenant’s interest in the property does not automatically pass to the surviving tenants in common. Each tenant in common has the right to posses the entire property. In California, a tenancy in common is presumed, absent language to the contrary.

Joint Tenants

Like tenants in common, joint tenants have the right to possess the entire property. To hold title as joint tenants, the deed to the property must include the language “as joint tenants” or “as joint tenants with right of survivorship.” To create a joint tenancy, the joint tenants must have taken title to the property at the same time, they must have the right to possess the whole property, and they must have the same property interest. The key feature of the joint tenancy is the right to survivorship. Unlike a tenancy in common, when one joint tenant dies, that joint tenant’s interest automatically passes to the surviving joint tenants. This is true even if the decedent tenant’s will or trust provides otherwise.

Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

Thanks for letting me clarify this.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
On the Grant Deed, it states Joint Tenants, not Tenant in Common. My monm has transferred the real estate house to me and my sister and me and my sister are joint tenants.You mentioned that "No need to do anything other than to file deed and make sure tax assessor here has you on the taxes as legal owner." The Deed is already in county records office. Which tax assessor office in California do I need to contact to have my name on the tax as legal owner?Also, when the propety tax is due, the government office must receive 50% ( since me and my sister are joint tenants so we split) of the property tax under my name ( from my check)? If my sister turns in the property tax 100% all by herself, then will the government removes my name as Joint Tenant and automatically gives my sister the 100% ownership of the house?
Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

Here is list of tax assessors..

https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/assessors.htm

Each of you can deduct their half on their taxes since it is jointly owned here.

Govt. here just wants taxes due against property, both of you are legally liable for all.

Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

If you can positive rate it is always much appreciated.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I understand I am legally liable for it, but I was asking if the government office must receive the check from me. If my sister is willing to turn in the property tax 100% all by herself (because she has been living in the house with parents while I have been living by myself since 18 somewhere else) then will the government removes my name as Joint Tenant and automatically gives my sister the 100% ownership of the house if the government does not receive a check on property tax from me? Please answer yes or no. Though I am the co-owner of the house ( me and my sister are listed as Joint Tenants), my sister and my paremts agree to pay the property tax in its entirety themselves because they are living in the house. The property tax will be paid with one check instead of spliting into 2 checks.I could have rented it out and use the rent to pay property tax but I am letting my parents and sister live there in the house and they agree to pay the property tax. My concern is if the government does not receive a check under my name ( again the property tax will be paid in its emtirety by one check from my sister), will my ownership/title be removed?
Expert:  Ray replied 5 months ago.

No here paying the taxes does not give her the whole thing.You both remain half owners.This is not a problem.She lives there with your consent here, it is not adverse possession because you allowed her too.Again its not a problem to do this.

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