What are Trust Loans?
Trust Loans or Loans to Trusts are loans made directly to a trust as opposed to an individual. With a conventional mortgage, a borrower applies for a loan and signs the loan documents personally guaranteeing the loan. With a trust loan it works a little different. Instead of a borrower guaranteeing the loan, the Successor Trustee will sign loan documents on behalf of the trust and the lender lends to the trust as opposed to a person. With a trust, usually a home is used as the collateral for the trust mortgage or trust loan. Often times there is no credit check, income verification or personal guarantee involved with a trust loan.
What is the purpose of a Trust Loan?
Most of the trust loans that we provide are to prepare a trust for distribution so that one of the trust beneficiaries can avoid property tax reassessment on an inherited home. California is one of the few states that provides a property tax security measure which prevents property taxes from increasing too rapidly. In California, Proposition 13 is what achieves this. California Proposition 13 caps the maximum increase of the assessed value of a home at 2% annually. This means that over a 10 year period, if your home doubled in value from $400,000 to $800,0000; you would only be paying property taxes on an assessed value of approximately $487,500 as opposed to the current market value of $800,000. In California, the typically property tax rate is 1% of the assessed value. So in the example above, it would mean an annual property tax savings of $3,125.
California Proposition 13 has been in effect since 1978. As you can imagine, since 1978 property values have increase significantly and Proposition 13 has kept the assessed values of many homes extremely low. In addition to preventing property taxes from increasing too rapidly, California has other laws to protect residents. Proposition 19, allows a parent to transfer a home to a child and avoid reassessment on that home if it is a primary residence. This is where a trust loan becomes very important. California Proposition 19 has specific requirements that must be met if a person inherits a home from a parent and wishes to avoid property tax reassessment on that home. One of those requirements pertains to trusts and estates. The California Board of Equalization requires that an equal distribution of assets be made to all child beneficiaries unless specific language exists in the trust. Information on this can be viewed here on the California Board of Equalization website When a trust is involved, a trust loan is likely the only way to accomplish an equal distribution.
Often times when a trust contains real estate, the home is by far the most valuable asset in the trust. When there are multiple beneficiaries in the trust, that often time means an equal distribution can not be made without cash being added to the trust. The trust loan resolves this issue by injecting cash into the trust while at the same time placing a lien or debt against the real estate. This allows for one child to inherit the home while other children receive an equal amount of cash, creating an equal distribution. Since the loan is made to the trust as opposed to the beneficiary, the child inheriting the home can qualify for the Proposition 19 exclusion from property tax reassessment. On average our clients save $6,500 a year in property taxes by avoiding property reassessment.
If you are inheriting a home and are interested in keeping a parents low property tax base, we may be able to help. We have assisted over 450 clients in avoiding property tax reassessment. We work with Trust & Estate Attorneys and Property Tax Consultants across California. Call us at (877)464-1066 and we can provide you with a FREE Trust Loan Benefit Analysis that will let you know if you may be eligible to avoid property tax reassessment and how much in annual property taxes a trust loan may help you save.