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Does title of asset make it personal property in community property state?

San Francisco, CA |

My spouse had title of two vehicles in his name only. I have been told that it doesn't matter since we live in a community property state and they were purchased during our marriage and with community funds. He has passed away and his family is saying that those assets were his separate property and belong to them. I have also been told that I have to prove that I considered them community property assets and not his personal assets. We both considered them to be community property while we were married. I did not sign any written statement saying I agreed that they were his personal property. What is the bottom line on this? Does this mean that anything in my name is mine and anything in spouses name is his separate property? Even though we live in community property state?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This is a probate issue and you may want to change the practice area to probate. Did your husband have a will? If so, does he give those vehicles to his family members or does he leave all his assets to you or his children?

    You should consult with a probate attorney in your area to protect your rights as the surviving spouse before things get further out of control with your husband's family and have his estate handled properly.

    If you have found this helpful and/or the best answer, please let the attorney know by checking the appropriate box below. It will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and best of luck to you. .

    This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.


  2. If you acquired the property during marriage with community property funds, then they are community property. They are now your property, regardless that he took title in his name only.

    I can be reached at 714-442-1522 if you have further questions. Before accepting any answer as a final answer, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney. No attorney on Avvo has read your paperwork and therefore cannot give a completely valid answer suited to your case.


  3. This is probably a probate matter but I do also practice probate law. Anything acquired during the marriage and with CP funds is presumed CP. But if your husband died and there was no trust and or will that specificially devised the personal property to you, in theory, 1/2 of his CP goes to his children and the other 1/2 of his CP goes to you. I suggest you see a probate attorney.

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