Saturday, July 18, 2009

Transfer on Death Deeds Bill Dies Again

As expected (see earlier post), the Senate Judiciary Committee again rejected this year's installment (AB 724) in Assembly Member Chuck DeVore's multi-year campaign to create Transfer on Death Deeds (TODD, otherwise know as "Beneficiary Deeds") in California. But it's getting much closer.

Last year, when the committee was comprised entirely of lawyers, DeVore's predecessor bill (AB 250) received only one vote on the five-member panel in the face of a killer committee analysis (pretty much replicated this year) highlighting concerns that TODD could be tools for elder financial abuse and would undoubtedly increase litigation. This year, the AB 724 failed by a narrow - and interestingly nonpartisan - 2-3 margin. Conservative Orange County Republican Mimi Walters and liberal San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno voted for the bill, while the committee's two remaining lawyers, committee chair Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) and vice chair Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) - both of whom practiced T&E law in their pre-Legislature professional lives - were joined by non-lawyer Dean Florez in opposing.

Committee members extended DeVore the traditional courtesy of unanimously reconsidering the vote on the bill, so DeVore will have one more shot next year before he's termed out of the Assembly (he's running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer). Unless he can convince another committee member (presumably Florez) to change his mind, however, it will be up to some one else to pick up the TODD issue for the next session.

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