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    • CommentAuthorwatchful7
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017
    I have living in my wife's house alone for close to 5 years. Although legally my wife's trust indicated that I could stay there up to 3 years after her death, I decided I would live better in a senior community. I was all set to buy a condo when the title company said because I'm married (live in California a community property state) the title would have "a cloud over it" and I might have to get a letter/form from 2 of my wife's doctors and maybe even a notarized signoff by her sons and daughter allowing me to do without any vested interest of theirs.

    Does anyone have any experience in this? The closing date is less than 3 weeks away- I've made initial contact with a few lawyers............ugh ugh ugh
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017
    One of our members from California might be able to weigh in on this one, but it sounds like you need a lawyer to advise you ASAP about the terms of this particular trust.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2017 edited
    Hi watchful7. I live in CA, have a revocable trust, and have researched community property law a bit. I am NOT a lawyer and you definitely need legal advice on this one.

    I wrote a long response last night and when I posted it, the system had signed me out and I was unable to get it back. I am going to try again using a different method. If you are here this morning, check back in a little while and I should have something posted here. Might help when you meet with a lawyer.

    Oh yeah, if you live anywhere near Redlands or Riverside I can recommend a lawyer with the experience you need.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2017 edited
    Ok, so I gather your wife owned her house as separate property before you got married. Her trust allows you to continue living there while she is alive and up to three years after she dies. After that I gather the house becomes her offspring's property.

    You didn't mention if you are trying to use the proceeds of a sale of that house to buy the condo. If you are trying to do that, then you would need something from the kids.
    You probably should consult the lawyer who drafted her trust. He/she should have an understanding of her intentions when she created the trust.

    If you have separate assets with which to buy the condo as separate property, that would be the best course. I am unclear if my IRAs are separate property. They are in my name alone and I have assigned beneficiaries, but there are legal hoops if I were to choose to not list my spouse as primary beneficiary. He would have to consent to that. In my view he is not capable of understanding the ramifications of that, and my IRA assets were earned while we were married so they are community property in my mind and my intention when saving the money was to provide for our care in our old age. So in my situation he should be my primary beneficiary. I am currently working with my financial company to make sure that my alternate trustee will be able to manage my IRA for my husband's benefit if I were to die first. It is very confusing! The other day I made flow charts for the trust assets and for each of our IRAs. I am working with the financial company to remove him as trustee of our trust accounts and they have his Durable Power of Attorney on file that appoints my brother as his POA if I am unable to serve. I have to get some forms notarized.

    But since your wife is still alive, I wonder if you could buy a condo with your IRA money and title it as "Separate Property". Not sure about that. If your IRA contains money you earned BEFORE the marriage and you have records, you could make a case that you are using that money to buy the condo as separate property. CAUTION: I don't know how old you are, so be sure to be aware of tax consequences of using your IRAs.

    If you are not using the proceeds of a sale of your wife's house to buy the condo, then I don't see why the kids would be involved. If you are using community assets to buy the condo then it would be titled in both of your names as joint with survivorship or community property. Make sure NOT to put it in her trust. Except, I suppose, if you are using those proceeds, if you titled it in her trust, that would preserve the intent of benefitting her kids. If the condo is cheaper, you could establish an account in the name of her trust to put the extra money in there to preserve the kids' interest in that money. (It would be best to keep that money in the trust so it would be available for your benefit up to three years after her death, but that money would have restrictions as defined in the trust on how it could be used for you.) Then if you have a condo titled as joint or community property a lawyer with medicaid experience may be able to have your wife sign a Quit Claim on that property, leaving it your property. But that would need to be notarized by someone who can say she understood what she was signing and signed of her own free will. If you have already declared her incompetent to handle her financial affairs, that might be difficult to pull off. However, with Alzheimer's, there are good and bad days so you can always say she was having a good day when she signed that. Assumes she can still sign her name.

    I hope this has not confused the matter more for you. Remember I am not a lawyer. This is just based on my understanding of CA community property and trust law. Use it to discuss options with your lawyer.
    bhv, the system will time out if you take too long to write a post, and sometimes it will lose it just because it wants to. You can write in Word and then copy and past, or if you are writing in the comment box, copy it before you hit the "add your comments" box. That way if it is lost, you still have a copy. There is a limit on length as well. You may notice that Wolf sometimes has serial posts marked "1," "2," and "3" - and that is why. If you need more details on how this works, Wolf and others are more knowledgeable. But do save what you write every time - just in case.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2017 edited
    Thanks Marche. I usually post it and then edit it and save several times if I am writing more than I planned. I forgot to do that last night. This morning I did it in word and then pasted it here. I haven't found the limit on length yet, so perhaps I am not as verbose as I think I am. LOL.
    I just hope Watchful7 checks back after all this.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2018
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2018
    watchful - have you been able to find someone who can answer your questions?