Community Property with Right of Survivorship in Arizona

Like many western states, Arizona allows legally married couples to own real estate as community property, with or without rights of survivorship. The rules and definitions are set forth at Section 33-431 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Under this form of ownership, both spouses hold undivided shares of the whole, and when one spouse dies, the survivor gains ownership of the whole property without the need for probate, and both halves receive a new tax basis equal to the fair market value as of the date of death. Otherwise, when one spouse dies, the community property is divided equally, with half going to the surviving spouse and half distributed as directed by the deceased spouse’s will. In case of divorce or annulment, the judge often determines equitable distribution of community property.

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