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Community Property At A Glance

Community Property At A Glance

Community property is property which is jointly owned in a marriage. In other words, community property is the equal property, as a percentage of that property, of both spouses. Homes are often community property, as are cars and other items which have a title. Community property may also include items found in the home, such as furniture and other items.
In most cases, community property becomes the property of the surviving spouse if one spouse should be deceased. However, a will may list an item which is deemed as community property and that percentage of ownership may be left to an individual other than the spouse in some jurisdictions. There are however, rules and laws which govern community property.
For example, some jurisdictions automatically grant full ownership of community property to the surviving spouse, even when a will says otherwise. Yet, the surviving spouse may have signed their rights away to a percentage of the community property in the will. For instance, if the couple has grown children, the spouses may have decided to leave a portion of the community property to those children. In that case, the children would be able to inherit a portion or percentage of the community property.
There may also be clause in the will which allows the surviving spouse to maintain ownership of that property while they are still alive, even if the deceased spouse granted ownership to another. When the surviving spouse passes away, the beneficiary may then take ownership of that percentage of the community property.
 

Trust Defined

Trust Defined

Trusts are used to set up a manner in which money or property will be distributed as a gift in life, or after the benefactor is deceased. Trusts are usually set up for family members, but they can be set up for any individual and even for an entity, such as a charity.
 
A settlor, or benefactor is the individual that sets up a trust and the beneficiary receives the monies from the trust as dictated by the settlor. The trustee is the person that is in charge of trusts and that person may be a legal professional or a family member. The trustee holds the property in order to benefit the beneficiary, according to the benefactors instructions.
 
A living trust is a trust that is set up while the benefactor is still alive. Although the trust may not be dispersed until after the benefactor passes away, it is still considered s salving trust. The trust may have restrictions as to how it will be administered, such as certain amount distributed at certain times. The money may have to be used for education or distributed at a certain age.
 
Trusts may also be set up after the benefactor passes away. The money, taken from the estate, is used to set up a trust fund. This trust fund may include immediate disbursements, or it may have the same restrictions as a living trust. For example, the beneficiary may begin to collect the money after they graduate college or reach a certain age.
 
 
 

Finding a Personal Representative of an Estate

Finding a Personal Representative of an Estate

The personal representative of an estate is the person who is held responsible for managing the financial affairs of a decedent. The appointing of a personal representative of an estate well be governed by whether or not the decedent left behind a will. 
A female personal representative if an estate that involves a will can be known as an executrix or an executor, while a male representative will always be known as an executor. If the decedent has not left behind a will, the female personal representative assigned to the estate can be known as an administratrix or administrator. A male personal representative of an estate that does not have a will can be called an administrator. 
If an executor named in a will cannot or will not serve as the personal representative of an estate, a probate court may have to name an administrator cum testamento annexo, which roughly translated from Latin mean “an administrator who sets aside a will.” 
A court may also appoint a personal representative to an estate in the event of an administrator de bonis non, or prior administrator who has not completed the handling of the estate. The final type of personal representative of an estate that might be appointed is one in which an interim administrator will be given restricted powers over an estate, with the interim period lasting until proper legal representation can be found.
 
 

Grantor Defined

Grantor Defined

A grantor is a person who settles property on an express trust in order to benefit the beneficiaries. In some legal systems, a grantor can also be known as a trustor, settlor, testator, or donor. Whatever name it is known as, the grantor is the person who is passing the property along to the trustees through a trust.
In many legal systems, there are no formalities required to create a grantor trust that affects the transfer of personal property. However, a grantor trust that deals with real property or a testamentary trust will have to adhere to the formalities laid out in the probate law section of the legal code. These formalities do not apply to a resulting, implied, or constructive grantor trust.
In order for a grantor trust to be considered legally valid, the grantor must establish three elements when they are creating the grantor trust. There must be a certainty of intention, of subject, and of objects. Certainty of intention requires the grantor to manifest an intention to create a trust. Certainty of subject matter requires that the property must be identified well enough to be accurately identified. Certainty of objects means that it must be possible to clearly ascertain the beneficiaries within the legally mandated perpetuity period.
Depending on how a grantor trust is construed, a grantor trust can help to avoid some of the taxes charged on the property, since it may allow the trust to be counted towards income tax assessments or estate/gift tax assessments in whichever way will require lower tax payments.

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