Quick Guide For Death Of A Property Owner

Chicago Title March 2, 2023


Quick Guide For Death Of A Property Owner

The death of a loved one can be a life-changing and traumatic event. Setting affairs after a death should be straightforward. The following are a few important things that need to be done if they owned property in the State of California.


Anytime a property owner dies, the County Assessor must be notified so it can maintain accurate records. This is done by filing a Change in Ownership – Death of Real Property Owner form, which must be filed within 150 days of the date of death, or if the estate is probated – at the time the inventory and appraisal is filed. Failure to notify the Assessor may result in the assessment of failure-to-file penalties. The penalty for failure to file a Change in Ownership Statement upon a written request by the Assessor is $100 or 10% of the new base year value resulting from the transfer, whichever is greater, but cannot exceed $2,500 unless the failure to file was willful.


Property tax savings are available for children inheriting property from their parents.

The Parent-Child and Grandparent-Grandchild Transfer Exclusion (Prop. 19) allows for the transfer of property along with its Prop. 13 base year value to a person’s children or grandchildren if the following conditions are met:
1. The property must be the principal residence of the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
2. The property must become the principal residence of the child(ren) or grandchild(ren) within 1 year of the transfer, and applicants must file a Homeowners’ Exemption (HOX) claim within 1 year of the transfer, for this benefit to apply.
3. A Parent-Child Transfer Exclusion or Grandparent-Grandchild Transfer Exclusion claim form must be filed within 3 years of the transfer or before the property is transferred to a third party, whichever is earlier, for the full benefit to apply.

For more information, please visit your local County Assessor website for help and assistance.

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