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My home is in a trust in my name, and I am considering marriage. Would it be considered an asset of my husband's if we married?

Sacramento, CA |

My home is on a large piece of property and is paid in full. My intended has some tax issues. We are in our 50's. Could creditors from before our marriage come after me or the trust? I am mainly concerned with IRS and Franchise Tax Board. He went through bankruptcy 2 years ago. We live together and I have a good grip on both our finances now, so I am not too concerned. I have no intention of putting him on the deed, though he is the first beneficiary of the trust. I have no parents, children or close relatives.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. The debts your husband acquired before marriage are not your debts. However, property of the community is liable for debts of either spouse before or during marriage. Family Code section 910. “(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, the community estate is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse before or during marriage, regardless of which spouse has the management and control of the property and regardless of whether one or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the debt….”

    It is possible, subsequent to marriage, that you could take certain actions with respect to the real property you now own that is your separate property that would me it, or a portion of it, community property. In that event a that portion that was community property would be liable for your husband’s debts.

    For more information see this self-help page at the California Court’s website: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1039.htm

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  2. I assume that the trust is revocable - if so, all of the trust assets are available to your creditors. The key here is "community property." If you make an effort to segregate all of your assets and bank accounts so as to keep them separate and do not commingle your assets with his, you may be able to keep the property away from creditors of the community. If there is income earned by either of you for your efforts after marriage that is community property - that property should be used to support the community and not commingled with your separate property. All expenses of maintaining the property and tax payments, etc. should be made from your separate funds so that the community cannot be claimed to have an interest. I might also suggest that you consider a premarital agreement.

    DISCLAIMER: The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship or any right of confidentiality between you and the responding attorney. These responses are intended only to provide general information about perceived legal issues within the question. Each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

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