It’s mine! Case decided in court as heirs via for real property

By Jennifer Felten

Carne v. Worthington

This case involves a dispute over the ownership of a property owned by Kenneth Liebler before his death. Liebler’s daughter, Melanie Carne, as successor trustee to the Kenneth Liebler Irrevocable Trust dated December 21, 2009 (the “2009 Trust”), filed a petition in probate court to confirm the validity and assets of the 2009 Trust. In particular, Carne sought to confirm that the real property located on Via Regla (the “Via Regla Property”), had been properly transferred to the 2009 Trust. The 2009 Trust states, “I transfer to my Trustee the property listed in Schedule A, attached to this agreement,” and lists the Via Regla Property in Schedule A. The 2009 Trust is signed by Liebler as grantor.

Liebler’s grandson, Dillon Hasting, filed an opposition to the petition. Hasting was a beneficiary of a previous trust created by Kenneth Liebler in 1985 (the “1985 Trust”). In his opposition, Hasting argued that Liebler had not effectively transferred the Via Regla Property into the 2009 Trust because Liebler had failed to execute a deed transferring the property to the trust.  It is common practice for a deed to be recorded transferring title to real property into a trust.

Hasting also argued that Liebler had not properly transferred the Via Regla Property to the 2009 Trust because Liebler was not the legal owner of the property at the time of the purported transfer to the 2009 Trust. Instead, Hasting argued that Liebler held legal title to the Via Regla Property as trustee of the 1985 Trust, and the 2009 Trust contained no language indicating that Liebler was acting as the trustee of the 1985 Trust at the time of the purported transfer to the 2009 Trust.

The trial court ruled for Hasting on the grounds stated above.  The appellate court overruled the trial court.  They concluded that the language in the 2009 Trust quoted above was sufficient to convey the Via Regla Property to the 2009 Trust and that Liebler was not required to execute a separate deed in order to effectuate such conveyance. They further concluded that, because at the time the 2009 Trust was created, the 1985 Trust was a revocable inter vivos trust, and Liebler was the sole trustee who owned no interest in the Via Regla Property as an individual, Liebler’s signature on the 2009 Trust was sufficient to “to convey good title” to the Via Regla Property from the 1985 Trust to the 2009 Trust.  This case buttresses the value of a trust and its ability to effectuate the intentions of its drafters, even when technical errors are present.

tug.of.war

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Jennifer Felten

Jennifer Felten, Esq., Relaw Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.  Relaw APC 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105 Westlake Village, CA  91361 US Phone: (805) 265-1031 or email her at: jennifer@relawapc.com

Upcoming Speaking Events for Ms. Felten:

May 10, 2016 – The Inland Gateway Association of Realtors – Realtor Round Table

May 11, 2016 – Santa Clarita Valley Escrow Association – Dinner Meeting

May 17, 2016 – Riverside County Escrow Association – Dinner Meeting

May 21, 2016 – Escrow Training Institute – Class: When Escrow Meets the Courts 

For inquiries or questions about any of these events, please email info@relawapc.com.

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One Response to It’s mine! Case decided in court as heirs via for real property

  1. William "Bill" Hicks May 6, 2016 at 8:12 am

    This all sounds like job security for lawyers.

    Reply

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