How Community Property Affects You and Your
Practice, Even Though You Think it Doesn’t!
Red State Blue State
Jan Copley and Brad Wiewel
The Gathering February 27, 2009
Community Property Basics:
• Which states? • What % of population?
What is Community Property, Exactly?
• Separate Property • Community Property
– Owned by spouse – Earned during marriage
– Forced share – Each spouse owns ½
– Brought into marriage – Each spouse has right
by gift or inheritance to control whole
– No forced share rights
That’s Not So Hard!
So What’s So Special About It?
Let me tell you a real-life story
How Do You Decide What’s What?
Another real-life story!
What Happens to the Stuff?
• Divorce • Death
– Spouse’s share of – Spouse’s share of
community property community property
distributed to him/her distributed by will or
– Includes interests in trust (not necessarily
retirement benefits, to survivor!)
The Mobile Community
• People move around
• What are Diedre and Bennett gonna do?
• Living together?
• Domestic partnerships?
• Same-sex marriage?
Defense of Marriage Act
aka Defense Against Marriage Act
PUBLIC LAW 104–199—SEPT. 21, 1996 110 STAT. 2419
Public Law 104–199
An Act To define and protect the institution of marriage.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Defense of Marriage Act’’.
Thank You For Joining Us
Jan Copley Brad Wiewel
Attorney at Law Attorney at Law
300 North Lake Avenue 1601 Rio Grande
Suite 920 Suite 550
Pasadena, CA 91101 Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 626-568-4020 Phone: 512-480-8828
Fax: 626-568-4025 Fax: 512-480-0888
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com
Web: www.jancopley.com Web: www. texastrustlaw.com
PowerPoint Presentation by SmartMarketing 2009