A community property agreement can be an invaluable estate planning tool for spouses. The agreement characterizes all the spouses’ property as belonging to the marital community, thereby allowing it to directly pass to the surviving spouse without tax and without the need for a court to probate the deceased spouse’s estate.
At Genesis Law Firm, we charge below-market hourly rates for our estate planning services, including the drafting of community property agreements. Perhaps more importantly, our attorneys enjoy some of the finest academic credentials in our geographic region, ensuring our clients receive exceptional representation and work product. We encourage you to call us toll free at 866-631-0028 to learn more. Or visit us in-person at our Everett, WA headquarters, located within walking distance of the Snohomish County court complex.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If I have a community property agreement, what happens when both my spouse and I have passed? A community property agreement has no impact upon the death of the second spouse. This is why the agreement, on its own, is not sufficient for full estate planning. Ideally each spouse should also have at least a will and a durable power of attorney, which are generally fairly inexpensive to draft and execute.
Do I need my spouse’s cooperation to revoke our community property agreement, or can I revoke it unilaterally? A community property agreement is a contract, which means it can only be revoked if both parties agree to do so. This can be a drawback to executing agreements of this type. There are times when one spouse might want to revoke the community property agreement and the other spouse would be unwilling, such as immediately prior to a divorce. And there are other times when a spouse might want to revoke the community property agreement but the other spouse would be unable, such as when the latter spouse goes missing or suffers a coma or dementia.
If I get divorced, does it automatically revoke my community property agreement? No, a divorce does not automatically revoke a community property agreement. However, these types of agreements sometimes contain clauses that cause them to auto-revoke in that situation. Divorcees should always review any community property agreement that pertains to them.
I have a community property agreement and a will. Which one will govern when I pass away? A community property agreement governs over a will when the first spouse dies. However, a community property agreement has no effect upon the death of the second spouse, since the marital community no longer exists at that point. As a result, the will essentially governs upon the second spouse’s death.