Under Arizona law, “spouses have equal management, control and disposition rights over their community property.” A.R.S. There are nine states that recognize community property law: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Community property is a family law term used to refer to all of the personal and real property that a couple acquires during their marriage, which legally belongs to both spouses. Arizona is a community property state, which means that virtually all assets and debt acquired during the duration of a marriage are considered marital property, and are thus divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce. Assets held as joint tenancy or community property with rights of survivorship automatically passes to the surviving co-owner and avoids the lengthy probate process. As of today there are nine community-property states: Arizona Idaho, Louisiana Nevada, New Mexico Texas, Wisconsin Washington and California. Community property laws directly impact the probate process and how inheritance is determined. Community property is a property division system followed in Arizona, Idaho, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Washington. This can include items of value such as cars, furniture, paintings, and family homes, but may also include intangible assets (such as stocks, … When it comes to marital property law, American states mostly follow one of two schemes: community property or fair and equitable division.These laws decide how property is classified during a marriage, and most importantly how it will be divided for through either divorce or after death through probate. Community property is the third main form of real property co-ownership in Arizona, and is only available to a married couple. Their separate property can be devised to whomever they wish according to their will, or via probate without a will. When spouses divorce or die, spouses are often left with the daunting task of splitting up property and proceeds that were acquired during the marriage. (a) Upon the death of a married person, one-half of the community property belongs to the surviving spouse and the other half belongs to the decedent. § 25–214(B). Separate and community property are two categories used to distinguish whether property is owned by one or both spouses in a marriage. Death. Divorce or Legal Separation. Under this type of ownership, each party has an equal right to the associated property. Arizona is one of only nine community property states. All community property will be distributed “equitably” between the spouses, though not necessarily equally. Under Arizona law, all property (both real and personal) that this acquired by either the husband or the wife during the marriage is community property, except for property that is (i) acquired by gift (even from the other spouse), devise (through a will or trust) or descent (through the probate of a person who died without a will). While death is as certain as taxes, it does not wipe out debts, especially if you live in a community property state, such as Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin (community property law also applies in Alaska in certain circumstances). Generally, community property is property acquired while you were married, and separate property is property you acquired before marriage. Almost all property acquired during the marriage is treated as belonging to both spouses, even if only one spouse is listed on the property. Note: Arizona is a community property state. This limits the way in which title can be held, but also raises additional issues, such as what happens to the property upon the death of one of the individuals. at 636. Arizona's community property laws do not apply to the ownership of real property between unmarried individuals. MAY 21, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 20 Arizona is one of the nine U.S. states which recognize “community property” (a tenth, Alaska, allows couples to voluntarily create community property interests). The other eight community property states: California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In addition, all assets purchased during marriage are presumed to be community property assets, regardless of whether the property is titled in the name of one or both spouses. A community-property state follows the law that all assets acquired during marriage are legally owned 50/50. In Arizona, if you are married and you die without a will, what your spouse gets depends in part on how the two of you owned your property -- as separate property or community property. The title to personal property and real property can be held in in forms that will pass the owner’s interest in that property to surviving tenants or named beneficiaries. To qualify as community property, the couple must acquire the real estate during their marriage and clearly state their intention to vest as community property with right of survivorship. Deceased tenant's share is entitled to a "stepped up" tax basis as of the date of death. Source: IRS and Bills.com; Husband or wife liable for debts of other incurred before marriage? In community property states, most property acquired during marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is considered community property (owned jointly by both partners) and is divided upon divorce, annulment, or death. Property distribution upon death or separation: When one spouse passes away, his or her half of the community property passes to the surviving spouse. What is Quasi Community Property? In a community property state, each spouse has the right to half of the property that either earns during the life of the marriage, known as "community property." When one joint tenant dies, the others receive his share. However, your inheritance is not usually divisible in your divorce, depending on how you treated it during your marriage. Community property is generally defined as the property that is acquired during a marriage in a community property state. Arizona offers several options when it comes to real estate titles for more than one owner. The basic idea is that the fruits of the labor of either spouse is the property of the ‘spousal community’ and is therefore shared equally. Effect Of Death Of Married Person On Community And Quasi-community Property PROBATE CODE SECTION 100-105 100. 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