Open House – 18 PARLIAMENT PLACE, LADERA RANCH CA – SUNDAY AFTERNOON, APRIL 19, 2015

Open House at 18 Parliament Place, Ladera Ranch CA – Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2015 – showing a best Tattershall home opportunity in one of the most sought-after neighbhorhoods.

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Spectacular home opportunity at fabulous location on one of the most sought-after cul-de-sac streets in Tattershall, Ladera Ranch.

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Wonderful open-concept floor plan with expansive great room kitchen/living area, fireplace and dramatic volume ceilings.
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4 bedrooms including downstairs master bedroom suite and guest bedroom/study, plus huge bonus room.

 

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Spacious kitchen designed with large center island, double ovens and white cabinetry – the perfect space for being together and entertaining friends.

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Great room has lots of windows and opens to back yard.

 

 
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Romantic master bedroom with volume ceilings and two walk-in closets.

Ensuite master bath includes dual vanities, shower and soaking tub.

 

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Second level of home presents 2 generous size bedrooms, both with walk-in closets, and bonus room for work and play.

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Private back yard with built-in grill, bar seating and gas fire pit.

 

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2nd bedroom or study on first level of home.

 

 

 

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3rd bedroom on second level of home

 

 

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Exterior entryway toward front door

 

 

 

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Loft area bonus room located on 2nd level near stairway

 

 

 

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Great room toward stairway to 2nd level

 

 

 
06 copyjpg_17048760246_lGreat room dining area

 

 

 

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Fire pit at back yard patio

 

 

 

 

 

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Home’s additional features include dual-paned windows, recessed lighting and extensive storage space.

 
Friendly neighborhood close to Flintridge community clubhouse, heated pool, spa, tennis court and playground.

Ladera lap swimming pool

Award winning Ladera Ranch schools. Community amenities include 18 community parks, private dog park, water park and skate park.

 

 

Flintridge sign-b-18 Parliament Place at Flintridge Village is presented for sale at $819,000 – MLS #15073225

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presented by Harrison and Christi Long – Realtors and professional real estate representatives – Evergreen Realty HomeSmart at Orange County CA – 949-854-7747 (direct) or 949-701-2515 (cell or text).  –  CAL BRE 01410855.

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Home Energy Audit Has Benefits for Orange County Owners

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Benefits of Your Home Energy Audit

Before you improve your home for possible energy savings, get a legitimate home energy audit by a qualified professional who will tell you how your home is performing based on current building codes and science.

You won’t need an auditor to tell you to turn off the lights, lower the thermostat, and put on a sweater in the winter to save on your energy bill.

Energy auditors will measure the level of a homes’ performance and provide that to you as owners.  This will help you make good decisions about how to spend money to improve your home performance, save energy and lower utility costs.

Auditors can also help you learn to make your home more comfortable and improve indoor air quality.

Two types of certified professionals conduct reliable energy audits:

  1. Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater – certified by the CA Energy Commission – provide audits for negotiated fee but will not likely be persons doing any retrofit or improvement because most are not licensed contracts.

HERS auditors will provide information about home performance from an energy efficiency standpoint, detail energy consumption, offer improvement advice, provide energy score that tell you how your home compares with a new home built to comply with current CA energy efficiency standards.

  1. Building Performance Institute (BPI) Contractors are perhaps the most respected in the U.S.  These people are auditors and licensed contractors and outline cost-effective scope of work that will help you achieve your home performance or energy efficiency goals.  They will also do the contract work if you choose.

BPI contractors will provide your energy audit report and also point out other areas of possible concern, such as moisture-related issues, indoor air quality, and comfort.

BPI contractors are participating in the CA Energy Upgrade program and can give you information about rebate and financing programs.  They will present you with a scope of work proposal (a contractor bid) for cost of your proposed repairs.

You won’t need an auditor to tell you that common improvements such as insulation, sealing to make your home less leaky, and energy efficient windows will usually reduce your energy bills and increase comfort.

However, the certified auditor can go further and advise you about how to achieve your best goals for energy and money savings.

Auditors should be qualified to advise you about project funding and rebates available through government or utility and financing programs, such as Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) or new CA Energy Upgrade program.

If you get your energy audit at the start of planning, that will help you make best decisions about possible use of solar panels, programs and saving of money.

A home’s comfort, air quality, energy efficiency, and performance work as a system, and sometimes one component is affected by another.

Check out web sites for information, such as Build it Green, CalCerts, California Air Resources Board, CA Energy commission, and others.

You can achieve best results and goals by working with either an HERS energy auditor, or a BPI contractor, to work within your budget for home improvements.

The Orange County Association of REALTORs® did a great job of putting together its March 2015 magazine – “THE GREEN ISSUE” – on theme of “HOW TO SAVE ENERGY, WATER & MONEY”.

By Harrison K. Long – Source of information is OC REALTOR® magazine article “Before You Improve, Have a Home Energy Audit”, March 2015.  Graphic is by iStockphoto.com – “Benefits of Your Home Energy Audit”

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Turtle Rock Irvine Home Selling Market Update

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Turtle Rock village at Irvine CA has about 3,500 homes and is one of the most sought after areas for residential living and investment at Orange County.

Turtle Rock homeowners and sellers have high expectations and significant confidence in values.

20 Turtle Rock Irvine homes are now listed for sale with the multiple listing service – with average asking price at $1,279,000.

Turtle_rock_Irvine_home_sales_boom_again,_3-6-2015With only 20 homes now listed for sale, Turtle Rock Irvine is trending to favor sellers at this time.

13 Turtle Rock homes are now under purchase contracts with buyers – in backup and pending status on the multiple listing service (which is twice as many since start of the year) – and average asking price for these homes at $1,256,000.

11 Turtle Rock homes have sold with closed deals during the past 30 days – with average sold price of $1,148,568.

Average time on market from listing to sale of homes at Turtle Rock Irvine is now less than 3 months – that time it would theoretically take to sell all Turtle Rock homes on the market at current pace of sales.

People continue to be attracted to Irvine, because of its positive economy and jobs, famous and award-winning schools, that it is one of the safest cities in America, and some of the best weather anywhere.

Turtle Rock Irvine home buyers got busy during February this year, and home sales are booming again. 

See Turtle Rock Irvine CA homes now listed for sale – click here

See Irvine CA homes now listed for sale – click here

See Irvine single level homes now listed for sale – click here

People are attracted to Irvine, because of its positive economy and jobs, famous and award-winning schools, that it is one of the safest cities in America, and some of the best weather anywhere.

By Harrison K. Long.  Source of some information is CRMLS multiple listing service and is for homes listed and sold by all brokers and agents.  Providing professional REALTOR® and broker representation – help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties.  Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about home prices and values at Turtle Rock Irvine and Orange County CA cities and areas.

What_is_your_Irvine_home_worth-b-

“Turtle Rock Irvine CA Home Selling Market Update”

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How to Protect Your Home’s Property Tax Basis and Transfer to Replacement

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Your property taxesProperty taxes are very important for home owners at Orange County CA.

This is true because property taxes are based upon assessed values at Orange County, and those have values have increased significantly since 2009.

Property tax protectionsPeople who have owned a home at Orange County for a number of years often ask about protecting their property tax basis when they buy and move to another home.

Ad valorem property taxes in California are primarily guided by California Proposition 13, a constitutional amendment enacted by voters during 1978.CA proposition 13

Annual property taxes according to Proposition 13 to be paid by owners are generally equal to one percent of assessed value of the home each year. (This assessed value can be increased by as much as two percent per year by the county assessor.)

Example: If you buy a home at Orange County CA at price of $700,000, the property value determined by county assessor/tax collector will be $700,000. So your annual ad valorem property tax during first year would be one percent of that – or the amount of $7,000.

If you want to sell your home and buy a replacement home in Orange County, and if you follow California law guidelines, you can sell first and then buy a different home – or you can buy a home in Orange County first and later sell the prior house – while taking advantage of transfer of Proposition 13 property tax basis.

To protect and transfer your home’s property tax basis to another home, you must follow all conditions for qualification and property tax relief as set forth by the Office of Orange County Assessor.

Proposition 60 was a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California in 1986 – codified in Section 69.5 of the California Revenue & Taxation Code – and allows the transfer of an existing Proposition 13 base year value from a former home to a replacement home, if certain conditions are met.

PEOPLE 55 YEARS OF AGE OR MOREThis protection benefit is open to homeowners once in a lifetime who are at least 55 years old and are able to meet all qualifying conditions.

The following conditions must all be met for qualification and property tax relief to be granted under California Proposition 60:

a) Both the original property (former residence) and its replacement must be located in the same county. If the replacement property is located in a different county from the original, see possible transfer basis rules set for at California Proposition 90.

b) As of the date of transfer of the original property, the seller or a spouse living with the seller must be at least 55 years old.

c) The original property must have been eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption or entitled to the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption.

d) The replacement dwelling must be of equal or lesser value than the original property.

e) The replacement dwelling must have been purchased or newly constructed on or after 11/06/86.

f) Without exception, the replacement dwelling must be purchased or newly constructed within two years (before or after) of the sale of the original property.

g) The original property must be subject to reappraisal at its current fair market value as the result of its transfer, in accordance with Sections 110.1 or 5803 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

h) Without exception, a claim for relief must be filed within three years of the date a replacement dwelling is purchased or new construction of a replacement dwelling is completed.

For more information about Orange County CA home selling and possible protection and transfer of property tax basis – see the web site at Office of Orange County CA Assessor.

Possible transferring your property tax basis from a home at Orange County CA while buying a replacement home at another county is a different subject – and covered by California Proposition 90. Orange and Riverside and two of the nine counties in California that are participating with the Prop 90 transfers between counties.

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By Harrison K. Long.  This is for information only about California law and is not the providing of legal or tax services. For questions about your own situation, you should consult with an experienced real estate attorney and/or with the office of Orange County Assessor where your home is located

Providing professional REALTOR® agent representation and help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA. Contact us with your questions about home prices and values at Irvine, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and other Orange County CA cities and areas.

“How to Protect Your Home’s Property Tax Basis at Orange County CA and Transfer to a Replacement”

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Orange County CA Housing Demand Blasts Off

The Orange County CA housing market has shifted with sudden jump in buyer demand.

IMAG0223 (Large)_optDuring the past month from January 15 to February 15, 2015, buyer demand has increased by 64%.

After the first month of 2015, it looked like this year would be similar to 2014.  However, the market shifted with greater buyer demand during the past month.

Orange County Property NewsHome buyer demand increased by 566 pending sales in the past two weeks and now totals 2,619.   This two week surge was the largest increase since February 2012.  Last year at this time demand was at 2,381 pending sales, 9% fewer than today.  As a result of the rapid increase in demand, the expected market time dropped to 62 days from 78 just two weeks ago, pushing housing deeper into a seller’s market.

Something changed, and the big difference is cheaper money in the form of low interest rates.  Low interest rates are fueling housing demand and, as a direct result, the Orange County housing market has blasted off.

Today’s rates are a half a point cheaper than a year ago.  For a jumbo conforming loan, loans between $417,001 and 625,500, rates are at 4% versus 4.5% a year ago. For the median priced home in December 2014, $591,000, and a 20% down payment, a buyer is looking at a monthly mortgage of $2,257 at today’s rate, versus $2,396 at 4.5%.  That’s a savings of $139 per month, nearly $1,700 per year, or $50,000 over the 30-year term.

Buyers are making wise choices to pull the trigger now – to buy now because rates are cheap and are down to historical lows.

Current home loan interest rates are low, because they have been artificially pushed down by the Federal Reserve for years.  The Federal Fund rate has been kept at nearly zero since December 2008.  They have hinted at raising these rates.  When short term rate increases, long term rates, home mortgages, will soon follow.

Prior to the recession of 2007 to 2009, mortgage rates were about 6.5%.  For the December median sales price home, that’s an extra $731 per month every single month.  In 2000, rates were at 8%, or an extra $1,212 per month.  In 1990, rates were at 10%, and in 1981 they reached 18%.

Today’s rates are unbelievably low – and smart buyers will take advantage of this gift compliments of the U.S. government.

It’s likely that the FED will keep rates in the low to mid-five-percent range within the next couple of years.  That difference in monthly payments will put a dent in buyers’ pocketbooks and their monthly budgets.  Cashing in on low rates today means more disposable income.

Many Orange County CA buyers will continue to look to pay the Fair Market Value for a home this year.   From the official start of spring at the end of March, through the start of summer at the end of June, more homes will come on the market than any other season.  Home selling success will be determined by value and correct seller pricing.

 

By Harrison K. Long, professional real estate representative, Realtor, real estate broker, and professional real estate representative at Orange County CA.  Source of some information is ReportsOnHousing.com and CRMLS multiple listing service. 

Coldwell Banker residential brokerage

Professional real estate agent and broker representation – with help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA. Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about home prices and values at Orange County CA cities and areas with Home Selling and Real Estate market updates.

Orange County CA Housing Demand blasts off.

Posted in Home selling, Home selling guide, Listing and selling, Orange Count home buying, Orange County home selling, Orange County home values, Orange County real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Millennials in California Value Home Ownership

Millennials in California value home ownership.  A new survey by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® was designed to evaluate the millennial generation’s attitude toward home ownership.

MillennialsLookingTowardHomeownership, 11-19-2014Respondents were asked questions about different things from effect of the recession on their attitude toward home buying to what they look for in a home, and their biggest concerns about home buying.  This online survey polled 1,000 CA residents aged 18 to 34, and here are some of the findings:

  • Though nearly two in 5 millennials (49%) live with parents, 93% plan to buy a home.
  • More than half gave home ownership an importance rating of of 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being not at all important and 10 being extremely important.
  • Millennials don’t tie home ownership to a life event, but instead to years; they plan to buy in 5 yeas rather than when they marry or have children.
  • More than half (59%) said the housing crisis didn’t affect their attitude toward home ownership being a good investment.
  • Majority of those surveyed were uncertain or doubtful they could obtain a mortgage now; 45 percent said they were not sure, while 33 percent said they would not be able to do so.
  • 67 percent rent because they cannot afford to buy a home.
  • 45 percent cited high home prices and affordability as their main concerns about home ownership.
  • Millennial’s top reasons for home buying are freedom to do what they want with their property, privacy, and satisfaction of ownership.
  • 57 percent think that location in home buying is most important, above the neighborhood, home features, and walkability, among other things.
  • 67 percent plan to purchase a single-family detached home.
  • 42 percent want a lot of land, and 41 percent want to live in the suburbs.
  • The young group aged 18 to 26 find privacy important, while older millennials aged 27 to 34 find equity important and see home ownership as an investment.
  • Of those currently renting, 36 percent would be motivated by affordable home prices to buy now.
  • 16 percent said they would be motivated to buy by having the down payment necessary to purchase.

Millennials want home ownership

By Harrison K. Long, real estate broker, Realtor, professional real estate representative and attorney at Orange County CA.  Source of information is the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® magazine, February 2015. 

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We provide professional real estate agent and broker representation – help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA.  Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about home prices and the home selling and/or buying process at Orange County CA cities and areas.  ~  “Millennials in California value home ownership”.

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17 Important New Provisions of the CA Residential Purchase Agreement

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Professional real estate representatives in California must study, be prepared to discuss with their buyers and sellers, and utilize the CA Residential Purchase Agreement form.

This new RPA-CA was revised and published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®  on November 25, 2014.

California real estate

This contract form has grown in size and scope to include statutory clauses and incorporate evolving needs of real estate professionals.

Residential purchase agreementThe RPA-CA is a most-trusted contract form used by Realtors and professional real estate representatives in California.

Here are 17 of the most important new provisions that real estate professionals and their clients will consider about the new RPA-CA:

1.   This form now takes a unified approach to inspections and repairs.  Wood-destroying pests and organisms inspection, and all other inspections, are treated equally (see paragraph 7.A).

2.   The time to remove the buyer loan contingency has been extended from 17 to 21 days by default on this form (However, this amount time is negotiable between the parties). Coinciding with this change is removal of an optional paragraph allowing the loan contingency to remain until the loan is funded.

3.   A new paragraph has been added to explicitly address the issue of items included in the sale that may not be owned by the seller or that may, by virtue of their presence, cause a lien to be recorded against the property (such as installed solar panels and equipment).

4.   The paragraph concerning what is included in the sale now specifically mentions what is being call “home automation systems”.  These devices allow a home owners to remotely control certain home functions, such as turning on the water, lights, or appliances, or setting the alarm, and adjusting the thermostat on the HVAC system (see paragraph 7.B.8).   Items excluded from the sale (see paragraph 7.B.8.C.).

5.   The default method for the buyer’s obligation to bring a deposit directly to escrow has been changed to an electronic deposit rather than a check (see paragraph 3.A.(1).

6.   No longer will the removal of the loan contingency automatically be deemed a removal of the appraisal contingency (see paragraph 3.J.2).  These two separate important terms are to be independent.  And if the appraisal contingency is removed and the buyer’s chosen lender refuses to loan because the appraisal is too low, the buyer cannot rely on the lender’s appraisal as a reason to cancel the contract without penalty.

7.   Who pays for government requirements and retrofit (see paragraph 7.B)

8.   Agent Visual Inspection disclosure impact (see paragraph 10.2)

9.   Buyer’s right of inspection (see paragraph 12.A.)

10.  Preliminary title report to buyer (see paragraph 13.A).

11.  Time periods and removal of contingencies (see paragraph 14.A. and B)

12.  Effect of Cancellation of Contract (see paragraph 14.G.)

13.  Repairs by seller (see paragraph 16)

14.  Scope of duty of brokers (see paragraph 18.B.)

15.  Representative capacity for signing of documents (see paragraph 19)

16.  Assignment of contract rights (see paragraph 26).

17.  Mediation and arbitration provisions preserved (see paragraph 22.C.)

By Harrison K. Long.  Professional REALTOR® agent and broker representation for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA.  Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about market information  and home prices and values at Orange County CA cities and areas.  Thank you. 

Coldwell Banker residential brokerage

 

 

17 Important New Provisions of the CA Residential Purchase Agreement

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Mortgage Rates Staying Down is Excellent News For Home Buyers at Orange County CA

Purchase money lending

Fantastic news for homebuyers is that home loan mortgage rates at Orange County CA went down big-time during 2014 and have stayed down.

4.5% was the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan offered by lenders one year ago today –  see article from that time –Mortgage rate watch report for December 28, 2013.

Average payment on a $417k conforming loan one year ago was $2,113 per month.

3.75% is the average rate offered by lenders on a 30-year fixed loan at Orange County today on December 29, 2014 (for those who qualify) –  see article –Mortgage rate watch report for December 28, 2014.

Average payment on that same $417k loan is now $1,930 per month (for those who qualify).

So a monthly payment on that $417k loan now will save a homebuyer $183 per month as compared with same time last year.

What this means is that prospective homebuyers should get organized, qualified or pre-approved with a lender, and move forward with decisions to buy now!

Coldwell Banker residential brokerage

 

 

By Harrison K. Long, Realtor, real estate broker, and professional real estate representative at Orange County CA.    

Professional REALTOR® agent representation and help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA.  Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about home prices and values at Orange County CA cities and areas with Home Selling and Real Estate market updates.

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Turtle Rock Irvine Homes and Real Estate Market Update – December 27, 2014

Turtle Rock Irvine Homes and Real Estate Market Update – December 27, 2014

20141112_124742Turtle Rock village at Irvine CA has about 3,500 homes and is one of the most sought after areas for residential living and investment at Orange County.

Turtle Rock homeowners and sellers have high expectations and significant home buyer confidence in values.

26 Turtle Rock Irvine homes are now listed for sale – with average asking price at $1,156,972.  These range from a 2-bedroom Ridge Bren townhome priced at $549k to a Highlands single family detached home priced at $1,895,000.

Turtle Rock Irvine CA real estate This number of homes for sale listings has decreased as compared with October through November at Turtle Rock, and that’s consistent with seasonal drop in active listings.

8 Turtle Rock homes are now under purchase contracts with buyers – in backup and pending status on the multiple listing service – and average asking price for these homes at $1,546,063.

8 Turtle Rock homes have sold with closed deals during the past 30 days – with average sold price of $1,139,625.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAverage time on market from listing to sale at Turtle Rock Irvine is now about 3.2 months – which is time it would theoretically take to sell all Turtle Rock homes on the market at current pace of sales.

Irvine home sellers are serious are serious this time of year and considering “fair market value” – the amount that other homes in the neighborhoods have actually sold for.  Home selling markets at Irvine are more balanced now as compared with first six months of 2014 – while buyers have some negotiating power and improved choices.

People are especially attracted to Irvine, because of its positive economy and jobs, famous and award-winning schools, that it is one of the safest cities in America, and some of the best weather anywhere.

See Turtle Rock Irvine CA homes now listed for sale – click here 

See Irvine CA homes now listed for sale – click here

See Irvine single level homes now listed for sale – click here

See Quail Hill Irvine homes now listed for sale – click here.

Coldwell Banker residential brokerageBy Harrison K. Long. Source of some information is CRMLS multiple listing service and is for homes listed and sold by all brokers and agents.

Professional REALTOR® agent representation and help for property owners, home sellers, private trust estate representatives, estate administrators, executors and heirs, probate and trust attorneys, estate planners, income tax professionals, public guardians, fiduciaries, investor group managers, bankers, and individuals, with listing and sale of properties at Orange County, CA.  Contact us at 949-854-7747 with your questions about home prices and values at Irvine and Orange County CA cities and areas and about Turtle Rock Irvine Homes and Real Estate market update.

Posted in Irvine CA, Irvine CA real estate guide, Irvine home selling, Irvine homes, Irvine Live, Turtle Rock Irvine real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does a Will Cover Everything I Own?

Does a Will Cover Everything I Own?

California estate planning

No. Generally speaking, your will affects only those assets that are titled in your name at your death. Those assets that are not affected by your will include Life insurance. The cash proceeds from an insurance policy on your life are paid to whomever you have designated as beneficiary of the policy in a form filed with the insurance company—no matter who the beneficiaries under your will may be.

  • Retirement plans. Assets held in retirement plans, such as a 401(k) or an IRA, are transferred to whomever you have named as beneficiary in the plan documents—no matter who the beneficiaries under your will may be.
  • Assets owned as a joint tenant with right of survivorship. Assets such as real estate, automobiles, bank accounts and stock accounts that are held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship will pass to the surviving joint tenant upon your death, and not in accordance with any directions in your will.
  • “Transfer on death” or “pay on death.” Certain securities and brokerage accounts include a designation of one or more beneficiaries to receive the assets in that account when the account owner dies. The names of the beneficiaries are preceded by the words “transfer on death” or “TOD.” Other assets, such as bank accounts and U.S. savings bonds, may be held in a similar form using the owner’s name and the beneficiaries’ names preceded by the words “paid on death” or “POD.”
  • “Community property with right of survivorship.” Married couples or registered domestic partners may hold title to their community property assets in their names as “community property with right of survivorship.” Then, when the first spouse or domestic partner dies, the assets pass directly to the surviving spouse or partner without being affected by the will.
  • Living trusts. Generally, assets held in a revocable living trust are distributed according to the instructions in the trust regardless of the instructions in your will—with no need for court supervision. You can name yourself as the initial trustee of your living trust (most people do), and then name a successor trustee to manage the trust if you become unable to do so. With a living trust, your assets are managed for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die without court supervision. For more detailed information, see the State Bar pamphlet entitled Do I Need a Living Trust? (See #1 for information on ordering pamphlets.)
  • Your spouse’s or domestic partner’s half of community property. In California, any assets acquired by you and your spouse or registered domestic partner from earnings during your marriage or registered domestic partnership are community property. You and your spouse or registered domestic partner own equal shares of those assets. Your will, therefore, affects only your half of the community property. Assets that either of you owned before your marriage or registered domestic partnership, and gifts or inheritances acquired later, are usually separate property. Your will affects all of your separate property assets.

Even if your entire estate consists of assets held in joint tenancy, a life insurance policy and a retirement plan, there are still good reasons for making a will. For example, if the other joint tenant dies before you do, then the property held in joint tenancy will be in your name alone and subject to your will. If named beneficiaries die before you do, the assets subject to a beneficiary designation may be payable to your estate. If you receive an unexpected bonus, prize, refund or inheritance, it would be subject to your will. And if you have minor children, nominating a guardian for them in your will is very important.

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Source of this information is the California State Bar Association (www.CalBar.org). This is for information only about California law and is not the providing of legal services. If you have questions about your own situation and what is covered by your will, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

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