California Family Code Section 852
We review de novo the determination of whether a writing comports with section 852. (In re Marriage of Leni (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 1087, 1096.) The requirements for a valid transmutation under section 852 can be divided into two basic components: (1) a writing that satisfies the statute of frauds, and (2) an expression of intent to transfer a property interest. (Estate of Bibb (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 461, 468 (Bibb).)
Section 852, subdivision (a), which states: "A transmutation of real or personal property is not valid unless made in writing by an express declaration that is made, joined in, consented to, or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the property is adversely affected."
In Estate of Bibb (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 461, the appellate court considered whether a grant deed satisfied the requirements of section 852.
The court determined:
"the grant deed, which was signed by the decedent, is a writing that was 'made, joined in, consented, to or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the property is adversely affected.' ( 852, subd. (a).) Thus, we need only determine whether the deed, independent of extrinsic evidence, contains a clear and unambiguous expression of intent to transfer an interest in the property. The grant deed on the Berkeley property states that Everett, as surviving joint tenant, granted the property to himself and Evelyn as joint tenants. The deed is drafted in the statutory form required for expressing an intent to transfer an interest in real property." (Bibb, supra, 87 Cal.App.4th at p. 468.)
The Bibb court concluded that the use of the word "grant" to convey real property satisfied the express declaration requirement of section 852, subdivision (a). Therefore the property was validly transmuted. (Bibb, supra, 87 Cal.App.4th at pp. 468-469.)