San Francisco Family Law Attorney Discusses Property Distribution
Both divorce and the death of a loved one are difficult life events for people to cope with. Both of these situations also deal with property distribution. It becomes a more complicated situation when someone dies whom you are in a divorce with because there are competing laws regarding property distribution: estate law, and community property law. Community property law states that everything that is acquired during marriage is the couple’s community property to be split in half on divorce. However, estate law allows for a person to distribute their assets in the event of their death to any person that they choose. So what happens when the decedent dies and wants to give away community property to another person? First, the ex-spouse or current spouse of the decendent has two options when someone dies. 1. The can elect to take from the will of the decedent or 2. they can elect to take their community property share. But the surviving spouse is not allowed to elect to take both. Therefore, in this event the surviving ex-spouse or current spouse should consider which distribution gives them the most assets and elect to take the more advantageous approach.
Either way death and divorce are times of difficulty and it will be hard to discuss property and distribution in the event that these things happen. However, these events are inevitabilities that need to be considered so that one can be protected when they are faced with these difficult situations.