There are many different important facets in estate planning to consider as you create your own plan. A common question presented to our Pasadena estate planning attorneys is what qualifies as community property and how is this classified when you pass away.
Community property in the state of California refers to any property acquired during a domestic partnership or a marriage. Any property that meets this definition is owned equally by both parties. This can include income earned during the partnership or marriage since partners or spouses are presumed to have contributed equally to marital earnings.
Community property in California, however, does not include anything that meets the grounds as separate property. Separate property includes all assets and property owned solely by the deceased person, and this excludes any property that was jointly owned with anyone else.
The most common types of separate property include gifts, inheritances, property from a trust, property acquired after the parties separated, and property that is separate by agreement of the domestic partners or spouses. A person who owns community property can transfer their portion of it to a beneficiary through a will. The surviving partner or spouse will still own the other half.
In the event that the partner passes away without a will, the deceased person’s portion of the community property passes immediately to the surviving partner.
If you’re looking for estate options that protect your spouse and maximize giving to other beneficiaries, talk to our attorneys in Pasadena.