Pros and Cons of Transmutation Agreements

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What is Transmutation?

Generally speaking, transmutation is a legal doctrine which allows separate property to be changed into community property, or vice-versa. Transmutation can have several major consequences on the property interests of a couple or the individual spouses. This is especially applicable in instances of divorce where property is distributed according to whether it is classified as separate or community property. 

How is Transmutation of Property Accomplished?

Transmutation can occur in two ways:
Alternatively, transmutation can be done through an oral agreement, though some states require the agreement to be in writing (which is always the better option for agreements and contracts). Some states also allow transmutation agreements to be incorporated into other legal documents such as a will or a deed.  

What are the Pros and Cons of Transmutation? 

There are many advantages and disadvantages associated with transmutation. Some of the pros of transmutation include:
Some of the drawbacks of transmutation include:
Transmutation can be beneficial for both persons, but it does take a certain amount of foresight in order to avoid any unwanted consequences. Thus, a couple should not engage in acts that might lead to transmutation, nor should they create a transmutation agreement, without first consulting with an attorney.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Disputes over Transmutation? 

The best way to avoid errors when dealing with marital property is to have a written transmutation agreement. The written document would provide a court with the “clear and convincing evidence” that is needed to prove what the couple truly intended. An attorney can help draft such a document so that it clearly reflects the couple’s aims. Also, in the event that a lawsuit becomes necessary, a family lawyer can help you resolve any significant property disputes.

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Last Modified: 01-07-2011 05:03 PM PST

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