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San Jose Community Property Attorney

Divorce, Marriage and Estate Planning

Marriage and divorce can impact your rights and your estate. Whether you are entering a first marriage, a second marriage, or facing divorce, you can make appropriate adjustments to protect your interests and ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes. I am Sue Campbell, Attorney at Law, an experienced San Jose, California, estate planning attorney. I will take the time to understand your situation and develop a comprehensive estate plan to meet your needs.

Community Property in California

In California, property can be held between spouses in a form of title known as community property. If title is held in community property, it qualifies for a limited court proceeding called a spousal set-aside that avoids a complete probate. Community property has been used increasingly as a form of holding title in California. Couples can avoid probate if the assets are passed to the surviving spouse. Unlike joint tenancy, if either spouse wants their share of the community assets to go to someone other than the surviving spouse, they may bequeath their interest by will to someone else.

I am a San Jose community property lawyer experienced in:

Rights of Spouse After Death and Joint Tenant Rights

The major advantage of holding title as community property is that at the death of either the husband or the wife, the survivor receives a 100 percent step-up in basis for income tax purposes. See explanation under joint tenancy. Holding title as community property can also avoid probate.

It is possible for spouses to agree that separate property - property owned solely by one spouse - will be considered community property. The spouse who transfers separate property to the community will have made a gift of one-half of that property to their spouse. This can be an effective estate planning tool in minimizing estate taxes, however, it can have serious consequences in the event of a divorce.

Free Attorney Consultation

For a free consultation with an experienced Santa Clara estate planning lawyer, contact me to set up an appointment. Feel free to call my office at 408-277-0648 or contact me by e-mail. Early morning and evening appointments are available by request.

My office in downtown San Jose is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I offer free parking located directly adjacent to my office.

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