Certification of Trust: When and why is One Necessary?

In the State of California a Certification of Trust, per probate code section 18100.5, is used in place of the trust itself as proof of its terms whenever all parties that created the trust area still viable.  It should be signed and notarized and include the following provisions:

  1. Legal name.  The legal name lists the name of all Trustees, the trust name and date it was signed.  For example: John Smith and Jane Smith, trustees of the John and Jane Smith Revocable Living Trust dated January 2, 2008;
  2. Date the agreement (trust) was created;
  3. The name of the Grantor;
  4. The name and address of the current trustees;
  5. A statement as to whether the trustees are authorized by the document to sell, convey, pledge mortgage, lease, or transfer title to any interest in real or personal property and if so are there an limitations;
  6. Whether the agreement is revocable or irrevocable;
  7. A certification statement to guarantee the voracity , correctness and authenticity of all claims being made in the document by the true and rightful representatives of the trust.

If any of the trustees/trustors of the trust are no longer capable of signing, the complete trust and any amendments should be forwarded to the title officer for review. 

Click here to download Trust Certification

IMPORTANT NOTE: A Power of Attorney cannot be used with a trust.

Understanding Legal Descriptions

A Legal Description (also known as a Land Description) consists of the written words which delineate a specific piece of real property.  In the written transfer of real property, it is universally required that the instrument of conveyance (in California, a Grant Deed) include a legal description of the property.  Please click here to download PDF examples of how legal descriptions appear on title documents of record.


As a title company, it is the Legal Description and the corresponding Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) that we insure, NOT the property’s address.  The Post Master and Tax Assessor employ two different means of classifying property.

If you have additional questions please contact your Western Resources Title Representative.

Southland May Home Sales Highest in 7 Years; Median Price Hits 5-Year High

As seen on DQNEWS.com

Southern California home sales held at a seven-year high last month thanks to a stronger economy, pent-up demand, low mortgage rates and the widening perception that a home is a good investment. Prices continued to regain lost territory as buyers competed for a thin supply of homes for sale and poured a record amount of cash into the housing market, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 23,034 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 7.6 percent from 21,415 sales in April, and up 3.8 percent from 22,192 sales in May 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of May since 30,303 Southland homes sold in May 2006, but they were still 10.1 percent below the May average of 25,617 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Over the last seven years Southland home sales have been below average for any particular month.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county Southland was $368,000 last month, up 3.1 percent from $357,000 in April and up 24.7 percent from $295,000 in May 2012. Last month’s median was the highest for any month since May 2008, when it was $370,000, and the year-over-year increase was the highest since the median rose 24.8 percent in October 2004.

The median has risen on a year-over-year basis for 14 consecutive months, with those annual gains ranging between 10.8 percent and 24.7 percent over the past 10 months. May’s median remained 27.1 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007. The median fell $256,000 from that peak to its $249,000 trough in April 2009, and it is currently on pace to regain half of that peak-to-trough loss sometime this summer.

Click here for entire article.

When is a Power of Attorney Needed and What does it Do?

Just any old Power of Attorney is not sufficient to buy, sell or convey title to real property. A Power of Attorney for healthcare decisions, for example, is meaningless when it comes to real estate matters as it does not grant authority to deal with the assets of the other party.

Types of Power of Attorney:

  • Limited/Specific Power of Attorney – Preferred Grants only those powers specifically outlined to the transaction at hand and no other authority is given. For this reason, the Power of Attorney must specifically define the property, whether or not this property is to be sold or encumbered, and the authorities given. It is vital that when the transaction requires reliance upon a power of attorney that the document be submitted as soon as possible to the title company so that it may be reviewed. (Should not be older than 1 year.)
  • A General Power of Attorney  Allows the Attorney in Fact to act on behalf of the Principal for all phases of all of their business up to and including the sale or purchase of real estate. It will cover any property owned by the Principal. (Should not be older than 1 year.)
  • A Durable Power of Attorney Is often given for healthcare decisions to be made in case of coma or other physical and mental incapacity. It survives the incapacity of the Principal if it contains the proper language.

Some terminology you should be familiar with includes:

  • Principal: The person who grants authority to another party to act on his/her behalf.
  • Attorney in fact: The person given the authority by the principal to act as his agent.

Other pertinent facts:

  • A Power of Attorney cannot be used to act on behalf of a trustee of a trust.
  • Since title insurance requires that the Power of Attorney be recorded, the document must be notarized.
  • Any documents regarding the sale or purchase of a home that must be signed out of the country must be signed at an American Consulate.
  • No Power of Attorney survives the death of the principal.
  • The statutory form provided in California’s Probate Code Section 4401 is the best one to use, provided that the appropriate and necessary boxes are checked and that the form is not modified. 

As with all complex legal matters, legal counsel should be obtained before making decisions or for complete review of such matters.