Estate Planning Assistance: Community Property and Deeds

Estate Planning Assistance: Community Property and Deeds

Our customers’ estate planning situations and questions are a great source of materials for our blog. Today we will be addressing community property and deeds when planning your estate.

One of our customers is holding title to a real estate property with his wife as Husband and Wife as Community Property with Right of Survivorship. We are drafting a new single trust for him and his intention is to fund this new trust with his interest in said property.

He indicated that the wife was not going to sign the deed and as a matter of fact he would like her not to know about his new single trust.

The problem is that he cannot defeat community property rules simply by making a change to the deed without his wife’s permission. The only way to properly fund the trust with a divided one-half interest (i.e. tenants in common), would be to have his wife sign off on it; she need not see the trust, but she would need to sign a quitclaim deed to that effect, and ideally a separate document noting the transmutation of the property from community property to separate property. If he does this all in secret, the trust could be funded with a one-half interest in the property or could not, depending on how a court wanted to read it; that would not be the proper manner of transfer, since he is transferring an undivided interest without the ability to sever that undivided interest. We hope this post helped you gain a better understanding of estate planning in Woodland Hills or throughout Los Angeles.

The Document People is a network of independently owned stores that share a common purpose: helping customers represent themselves. We are looking forward to providing you estate planning assistance. We serve Woodland Hills, Santa Monica, The San Fernando Valley, Torrance, Orange County and San Diego County.

The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.