Q: What asset protection is available for a single individual planning to buy real estate with a married individual ?
To what extent does it matter which state the property to be purchased is in, if the unmarried individual lives in community property state while the married person resides in an equitable distribution state? Thank you.
A: Your question seeks an answer that’s much more comprehensive than a lawyer can provide in this forum. Are you seeking to protect your portion of the real estate only or do you want to protect all of your assets? If the latter, what other types of assets do you own? (Trademarks are protected differently than household furniture, for example, yet they are both assets a person could own.) Assuming you are in California and only want to protect your real estate, one option may be to set up a limited liability company (“LLC”) and put your portion of the real estate into your LLC. Putting real estate into a revocable trust (one that you control and can change at any time) does not protect the property from creditors. But putting property into an irrevocable trust (one that you do NOT control and cannot change when you want) could protect it from creditors. As you can see, this issue is what estate planning lawyers deal with after detailed discussions with clients, so it is difficult to answer without more information. I hope this helps!
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