Monday Market Myth: Community Property

Myth: Because two people are legally married, the surviving spouse will automatically be granted the property.

False: Many people are under the assumption that the surviving spouse can absorb the monthly mortgage and automatically transfer title.  If it is not written, notarized, and recorded properly, then the property can be seized by the government or foreclosed by the bank.

Here are a few tips on what a owner can do to protect his family and property, should the unfortunate happen:

  1. Find out if you want to hold your property in a Trust, will, or change title to a. community property, b. joint tenants, or c. tenants in common
  2. Talk to your CPA about the tax consequences and capital gains when the property is sold.
  3. If it is not in writing, it does not exist as far as real estate is concerned.
  4. For the most accurate advice for your situation, please consult an attorney.
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