Community Property Agreement

For married couples, a community property agreement is an excellent tool to confirm that all of the property that either spouse currently owns or will own in the future is: (1) characterized as community property; and (2) should be transferred to the surviving spouse on the first spouse’s death. They are an excellent tool to simplify the administration of the first spouse’s estate as they allow the surviving spouse to skip probate.

However, community property agreements are not perfect for everyone. If you do not want to give all of your property to your spouse when you die, you should not use a community property agreement. This often comes up in the context of a blended family when a spouse wants to make sure her kids from a previous relationship are included in her estate.

Upon the death of the first spouse, the community property agreement is recorded with the county and it effectively transfers everything to the surviving spouse without probate and without having to do any additional paperwork.