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Saving high-net worth asset from community property law

St. Charles residents may know that under the law, Missouri is a community property state. This means that any property acquired by a husband or wife during marriage, such as real estate, is jointly owned by both spouses even if the accumulated property was originally acquired by one spouse. For this reason, each spouse may have the privilege of ownership in the event of divorce or death.

Ownership of real estate can come in many forms. For instance, when a piece of property is co-owned, the co-owners may sign an agreement regarding how the owner wants the ownership to be transferred in case of death. Upon death, the owner's successors will have the authority to use the assets to sell the property. But when it comes to divorce, ownership is commonly transferred depending on the agreement of each spouse. Unfortunately, the ownership may face complicated issues if community property law is involved.

Divorce often involves conflicts over dividing up assets, and community property law sometimes makes these conflicts even harder. Because of this, Missouri couples may protect their assets from the community property law by getting a prenuptial agreement before marriage.

Prenuptial agreements may help both spouses to protect the assets that they want to exclude from the joint ownership. Additionally, both spouses may be able to protect themselves from debt and financial obligations because of the agreement. When the prenuptial agreement is being written, full disclosure of all assets is required and failing to comply may render the agreement null and void.

Source: STLtoday.com, "YOUR PLACE TO CALL HOME: Who owns your real estate when you're gone?" Cort Schneider, Oct. 2, 2012

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