Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Property Tax Annotations

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Annotation 625.0055

625.0055 Custodianship. Under California law, a minor may own real property or an interest therein, but a minor may not convey or make contracts relating to real property. Since a minor cannot sell or purchase property held directly in his or her own name, transactions involving a minor's interests in real property are usually conducted indirectly through a guardianship or trust. The California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (CUTMA) provides a statutory mechanism for transferring property to an adult "custodian" for the benefit of a minor. A CUTMA custodian holds, controls, manages, and invests the custodial property. When the custodianship terminates, title to the custodial property is transferred to the minor or the minor's estate.

When property is transferred to a minor's custodian under the CUTMA, a minor has beneficial ownership of the property, and the custodian only has legal title with powers and limitations similar to that of a trustee. Therefore, for property tax purposes, an assessor should treat a CUTMA custodianship in the same manner as a trust and "look through" to identify the transferor and the present beneficiary. A CUTMA custodian is not considered the beneficial owner.

Thus, there is no exclusion from change in ownership for a transfer of real property from a grandmother to her daughter as a custodian for her grandson under the CUTMA. Such a transfer is considered a transfer from a grandmother to the grandson, and not from the grandmother to the daughter that qualifies for the parent-child exclusion. Neither is the grandparent-grandchild exclusion available since the mother of the grandchild is still living. C 9/14/2007.