Will a gift of a car to my married brother become part of his community property? 10 Answers as of March 08, 2011

My brother is separated from his wife, but he has not filed for divorce. My mother wants him to have the car, not his wife.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
No, especially if he doesn't put into the joint names of him and his wife. Post-separation earnings and acquisitions are separate property. However, sometimes one or the other spouses contests the date of separation, so it is best to be careful. A Gift is the separate property of the recipient. Best to make sure that the signed card that accompanies the gift specifies that it is a gift to him as his separate property, and he should keep the card. He should register the car in his own name.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Though a post-separation status would clearly make this a non-issue, the state of the law is that property acquired by gift, devise, or bequeathed by will in separate property, even during a marriage. There are some possible quasi-community claims that can be made when a piece of separate property increases in value, but that will not really pertain to the gift of a car.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
Your mother can make a gift of the car to your brother. The gift needs to be clearly DOCUMENTED that it is a gift, in order to make sure it remain separate property to defeat any claim the wife might try to make.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Naziri Hanassab LLP
Naziri Hanassab LLP | Vahid Naziri
A gift is separate property and any property or debt obtained after Date of Separation is Separate Property...your brother is covered.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP | Hal D. Bartholomew
Normally, a gift from a relative is considered the recipient's separate property. Hopefully, when title was transferred it was only to his name. Your brother needs to keep records that show the transfer. If need be, you will be available to confirm that it was a gift to him and to your brother and his wife. His attorney should be able to further advise him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    Gifts to one party are separate property and will not be considered Community Property when he files for divorce. I address these issues in my books, A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY and A MAN'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE STRATEGY.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/8/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Type a letter to the brother stating this car is a gift to you only.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/8/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    As a general rule, gifts are separate property and not divided with community assets. Furthermore, things acquired after a date of separation are typically separate property as well. So, this sounds like a safe gift. Make sure all the papers show it in his name alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/8/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Gifts are the property of the person receiving the property. Regardless of marital status, if the gift is to your brother alone, then it is his separate property. I would suggest a transfer that makes it clear that the car is a gift to him alone. If your brother needs help with a divorce action, please have him contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/7/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No, such gift to your brother in the circumstances you mentioned will not be community property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/7/2011
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