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WA-Probate > Probate Avoidance > Community Property Agreements

 

 

G.  For Married Couples: Community Property Agreements

  1. What Is a Community Property Agreement?

  2. Advantages of Community Property Agreements

  3. Disadvantages of Community Property Agreements

  4. Administration of Property Subject to a Community Property Agreement

 

1.  What Is a Community Property Agreement ("CPA")?    

 

A CPA is:

  1. The First Prong:  Declares that either all property, or an itemized list of property, currently owned by either or both of the spouses is community property.
     

  2. The Second Prong:  Declares that either all property, or an itemized list of property, acquired in the future by either or both spouses is community property (effectively converting receipt of future gifts during life or at death from the recipient's separate to their community property).
     

  3. The Third Prong:  Provides for the disposition of community property upon the death of the first of the spouses to die.  The typical CPA provides:
     

    1. Only for the disposition of property upon the death of the first spouse to die.  An argument could be made that a CPA can also provide for the disposition of the property upon the death of the surviving spouse, but this possibility remains to be confirmed by a Washington Court.
       

    2. That at the death of the first spouse to die, their community property will pass to the surviving spouse.  Here, too, an argument could be made that it may pass to one or more other parties, but this argument as well has yet to be confirmed by a Washington Court.  RCW 26.16.120

For purposes of probate avoidance:

For an example of a typical ("three prong") CPA that provides for all current and future property to:

Community Property Agreement form.

 

 

2.  Advantages of Community Property Agreements    

 

3.  Disadvantages of Community Property Agreements    

 

Practically speaking, the majority of persons who enter into CPAs do so so that upon the death of the first spouse to die, the property will pass to the surviving spouse outside of probate.  Unfortunately, numerous disadvantages remain:

 

Property Disadvantages:

Tax Disadvantages:

 

4.  Administration of Property Subject to a Community Property Agreement    

 

 

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