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What is a prenuptial deed?

wedding rings on top of house deedMany couples in the luxury real estate market wonder, “What is a prenuptial deed?” After all, purchasing a luxury home is a major investment. Before you decide if this is the right choice for you and your significant other, you must examine the basic information about the various kinds of deeds:
1) Sole Owner. The most basic way a title can be held is when one person is the sole owner of the property. When that person dies, probate proceeding must be instituted; meaning the property will either be given according to the Last Will and Testament or by way of the laws of Intestacy.
2) A title with Tenants in Common comes into play when two people own a percentage of interest in the property. Since each person owns a portion of the property, upon the death of one owner that investment will be handled in the same manner as with a Sole Ownership.
3) For Joint Tenants titles, the parties jointly own the property. When one member of the party dies, the surviving owner automatically becomes the full title owner. No probate is required. There is an interesting, and relatively unknown, fact about joint tenancies: either joint tenant can unilaterally sever the relationship, simply by preparing and recording a deed.
4) Tenancy by the entireties is reserved exclusively for husbands and wives. In the event of the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse becomes the owner of the entire property and probate is not necessary.
As you can see, you have many choices as to how the deed should be titled. Whether you decide to institute a prenuptial deed or not, experts suggest the first thing that both of you should do is prepare Last Wills and Testaments using separate attorneys. These Wills should spell out the intention regarding the property disposition.
Since California is a community property state, the surviving spouse generally does not have a right to elect between the provisions of the Will and the share he or she would have received in the case of the decedent dying without a Will. The surviving spouse will be entitled to one-half of the community property. Even with this in mind, the question of a prenuptial deed is not a simple matter. You are strongly advised to seek separate legal counsel to assist you in making the right decision.
If you decide to move forward with such an agreement, experts also say you should prepare your prenuptial agreement before you get your marriage license. Meantime, if you are planning on buying a luxury property in Montecito or any of the surrounding areas, please give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com.

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