California deeds, part 2
Ask the LDA
January 21, 2023
This article (part 2 of 2) will help you understand California deeds, including the different types of deeds and available options, when transferring real property interests. We have tried to answer many of the most frequently asked questions about assignments of title in California, provide a basic understanding of simple terminology relating to real property and explain the function of the most common deeds utilized by California real property owners.
Affidavit – Death of Joint Tenant
Upon the death of a person who was holding title to real property as a joint tenant, the surviving joint tenant(s) records this affidavit to vest the deceased tenant's interest in the surviving joint tenants (as of the time of death of the deceased). A complete property description is required, as well as an attached certified copy of the death certificate of the decedent.
Affidavit – Death of Spouse, Community Property with Right of Survivorship
This affidavit works similarly to an Affidavit - Death of Joint Tenant. The persons holding title to the property must have been married at the time of the first death, and the deed to the real property must show they hold title as "Community Property with Right of Survivorship."
Affidavit – Death of Spouse Succeeding Title to Community Property
The persons holding title to the property must have been married at the time of the first death, and held title as "Community Property." At least 40 days have passed since the death, and no will was found for the deceased person. Note: If a will was found, or if you have to collect assets other than real property that are held only in the name of the deceased spouse, you may have to file a Spousal Property Petition instead. Consult CALDA's Probate brochure to read about Spousal Property Petitions.
Affidavit – Death of Trustee
The person(s) holding title to the property owns the property as trustee of his or her living trust, and the successor trustee will sign the Affidavit of Death when succeeding to the role of trustee. This does not change the ownership of the property; it merely shows that a new trustee has taken over management of the trust and the property it owns.
Affidavit – Change of Trustee
This process is outlined in Probate Code Section 18105, and is a more versatile document for recording the change of trustee to a living trust. In addition to being used when a trustee dies owning property, it can also be used if a trustee resigns or becomes incompetent because of dementia or another medical condition. You must state the reasons for the change of trustee, and attach supporting documentation, such as doctor's letters.
Mobile home transfers
Only mobile homes that have been installed on a foundation are considered real property and, thus, can be transferred by deed. Mobile homes and manufactured houses that are not installed on a foundation approved by the California State Department of Housing and Community Development, are transferred by a title document similar to title to a car. When the mobile home is put on an approved foundation (building permit is required), a local agency issues a certificate of occupancy and records, with the county recorder, a document stating that a mobile home has been affixed to real estate. The Department of Housing cancels the registration, and the owner gives the certificate of title back to the Department. From then on, the mobile home is transferred by a deed to the land it is situated on.
Diana Wade is a Legal Document Assistant. She can be reached at (661) 821-0494 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Diana is not an attorney; she can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Kern County LDA #185, ex 4/11/23.