Freeman's Blog


June 9th, 2016 by

The question of  ownership can be contentious in the event of a divorce, but even in the happiest marriage it may be helpful to understand the laws regarding ownership of property obtained before and during the marriage.

Community Property Laws in these States:

Community Property Laws

Currently, nine states have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Alaska allows a married couple to opt for community property status.) In these states, all property earned or acquired by either spouse during their marriage is owned in equal shares by each spouse.

Equitable Distribution Laws:

In other states, ownership is determined by “equitable distribution” laws, which means that property is divided fairly though not necessarily equally, typically by a judge if the couple cannot agree. If you have more than one home, the laws that affect your property ownership will depend on the state where you are officially “domiciled”, according to IRS rules.

If you are domiciled in a community property state, identifying community property and income can be important when filing separate tax returns. Depending on the state, income derived from separate property may be community or separate. The IRS generally considers the following as separate property. (Reference to “marriage” in this list also refers to a legal domestic partnership.)

1. Property owned separately before marriage

2. Money earned while domiciled in a non–community property state

3. Property received separately as a gift or inheritance during marriage

4. Property bought with separate funds, or acquired in exchange for separate property, during marriage

4. Property converted from community property to separate property through an agreement valid under state law

5. The proportion of property bought with separate funds, if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds

In order to do your estate planning correctly, you should know the community property laws. There are no restrictions on how each spouse can give away his or her half of the community property, and a spouse is not required to leave his or her half to the surviving spouse, though many people do so. Be sure to consult a legal or estate planning professional familiar with the laws of your state before taking action regarding taxes or property distribution. Designating heirs that are appropriately ages and named is essential in your estate planning.

Freeman Owen, Jr -Retirement Specialist

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June 2nd, 2016 by

Everyone who is over the age of 18 needs a legal documents including estate planning, which includes a will or trust saying who is in charge, who gets what, and what is the manner in which they get it.

What I think is more important is incapacity planning, which includes a:
1. Financial Power of Attorney: Pay assets, pay bills, and keep credit in shape.
2. Medical Power of Attorney: Make non terminal medical decisions.
3. Advanced Medical Directive: If you are in a terminal condition, what are you wishes.

We are all mortals. You need to have these for any estate planning. Some colleges do not even communicate to the parents if the children are over 18. They won’t give them their grades. Some parents want to get the power of the attorney so they can know what they are paying for and/or if their child is well. The hospitals want to avoid risk.

Chronic Condition Planning is Critical.

Age is a factor – if you are young and healthy, you are a good bet. As you age, it becomes more important to have plans in place. Also, you want to make sure that your loved ones have these plans set so their decisions prevail. If you don’t have that in place, the states have statues in place and will make the rules for you. You might not like the results.

What are the characteristics of a senior that is prepared for elderly care?

A prepared senior is prepared for elder care when they have:
1. Secured the documents for estate and investment planning.
2. Have a relationship with a legal professional.
3. Have gathered personal data for planning (birth certificates, bank statements, etc.).
Read more for a comprehensive list of “being prepared” documentation.

Get professional help

Learn more about how to be well prepared for elder care in the event you end up with a chronic condition.