Community Property Agreement – What To Do After Death?

  1. A Community Property Agreement is a contract between husband and wife governing the disposition of their community property when one or the other dies.
  2. The Community Property Agreement, once executed, can only be revoked or modified in writing by both husband and wife.
  3. A Community Property Agreement, unlike a will, is not probated. However, it does not function automatically when the first death occurs.
  4. Certain legal steps must be taken on the death of the first spouse, namely:

A. Necessary tax returns must be filed with the taxing authorities and releases obtained.

B. Title to property, both real estate and personal property, must be cleared and/or transferred to the surviving spouse.
Shortly after the death of the first spouse, it’s a good idea for the surviving spouse to take the Community Property Agreement to an estate planning/probate attorney to determine what action is necessary to meet the requirements outlined above.

Elizabeth A. Perry, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, has been helping Clark County residents with their estate planning needs for over 20 years. Her practice emphasizes wills, trusts, probate and Medicaid planning. You are invited to call her to schedule an appointment or sign up for a class at (360) 816-2485. ©Liz Perry 2015

 (The above should not be construed as specific legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only)

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