im seperated and file my tax rtns 'married filing sep'. I want to sell my house which i inherited will i owe him anything? live in calif

Asked by Mary Trigueiro Delouize, Isleton, CA Sun May 12, 2013

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Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Mon May 20, 2013
Okay I'll be the contrary one....sorry to say, I've heard more inaccurate advice from attorneys than I care to. They charge money for an often invalid response to your question.

Married filing separately does not address the laws in California that you need addressed so I'm not sure that a CPA can provide much guidance there except to say you've file in a manner that is legal. Married, filing separately, still requires, under federal law, that both parties list the full income for the marriage and the full expenses. Call Ed Cook at (916) 705-4958. He addressed this same question with me, as my CPA. It is often assumed that you can keep all assets separate that way but it's not true.

Still the two bigger questions are the way California views inherited property, and how CA views ownership in property acquired sometime during the marriage. I'd first ask an escrow officer. They deal with this issue every day. If you are still married, I assume you'll need the married partner to sign off on anything that you do, as a safeguard, whether they legally have any rights to the inherited property or not. THEN I'd go confirm with an attorney to see if any considerations were missing in your analysis. I know that you will need to prove that, despite inheriting it, that you used no common funds to maintain the property. If so, he might be able to make a claim that it is now community property, but would he?

The more prepared you are, the better chance that your objective will be attained without courts, etc. California throws lots of roadblocks that are different than federal views. Hopefully, your soon-to-be ex-husband will just cooperate if it's required that he sign off on it and he is presented the facts.

As a realtor, we aren't experts on the answers, but we sure can help you determine the questions and who might best help you. Keep asking.
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Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
I think that all of the responses here are emphatically stating that you would be better off directing that question to an attorney (divorce atty/real estate atty), not a real estate agent. Sorry.
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tinkerbell29…, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
PS also as long as he has not paid any of the bills on it. Also, I believe any taxes owed on any income from the sale will be yours alone to pay. But I think an accountant would be the person to talk to. Also, will you let me know the answer you find? Im just curious now.
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tinkerbell29…, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
I have thought for a long time that property you inherit is yours alone to keep or sell whatever. As long as he has not lived in it or done any work on it or of course as long as his name is not on the deed and you dont put the profits in any shared accounts, I beleive it all yours.
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Randall Ortiz, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
Definitely speak to an attorney.
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Ted Greene, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
Mary,
I am an attorney and also a real estate broker and I would be happy to talk to you about your situation since you really do need legal advice first. Please call me at the number below if you would like to discuss your options.

Ted Greene
916.442.6400
http://www.tedgreenelaw.com
Web Reference:  http://www.upsidedownca.com
0 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
I wish divorce attorneys had the magic powers described by Eddie (i.e. put documents in place that allow you a way around sharing in the proceeds). Getting legally separated at this point does not affect the characterization of property you inherited during the marriage. You should definitely seek legal advice from a family law attorney, but do it to find out what you can reasonably expect and what you should do or not do to protect your rights. I can refer you to an excellent family law attorney. The sooner you get legal advice the better. Unfortunately, I see too many people who act first and then consult with an attorney just to find out that they did the wrong thing.
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Eddie Martini, Agent, Auburn, WA
Mon May 13, 2013
Assuming that your inherited property will be an equity sale and will provide seller proceeds and the only action you have taken to show any separation from your husband is by filling separate returns you may have to share those with a legally married spouse.
A Divorce Attorney should have some documents to put in place to legally get you two separated which may allow you a way around having to share in the proceeds.
Feel free to send a message back if you have further needs.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon May 13, 2013
That is a question for your divorce attorney. as you are still married and unless you have a signed "seperation agreement" stating otherwise you may. So check with your lawyer
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Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Mon May 13, 2013
Hello Mary. Whether or not your husband from whom you say you have been separated will have any interest in the proceeds from the sale of the house cannot be answered without additional information. Although California is a community property state, there are circumstances under which property acquired during marriage is not community property (e.g., property inherited by one spouse alone and property acquired after the date of separation). How you file your taxes is not really relevant to your question. It may just help to show that you consider yourself separated. If you have already filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, there would also be an automatic restraining order that would affect your ability to sell the home without your husband's express consent or court order even if the house is your sole and separate property. You really should consult with a family law attorney who can evaluate your situation based on all the relevant facts. You can get a lot of good advice here on Trulia, but legal advice is not something you want to seek in a real estate online forum.
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Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Sun May 12, 2013
Hi Mary

I concur with my colleagues. Your question requires the insight of an individual who specializes in tax code and who has had an opportunity to review all of your documentation to make the right determination (and possibly a real estate attorney).

Hope that helps.

Keisha Mathews, REALTOR®
CDPE®, HRC®, HAFA® Certified
"SAR Masters Club Member 2012"
Mathews & Co. Realty Group
@ Century 21 Landmark Network
keisha.mathews@century21.com
http://www.SheSoldItForMe.com
(916) 370-1803 cell
lic#: 01439130
0 votes
Frank Verni, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Sun May 12, 2013
This is a question for an attorney and accountant... and answers will depend on who is on title, what did the will say, how long seperated, have you filed any papers for divorce, just to name a few of the questions that need clarrification to properly answer your question.
Good Luck and let me know if I can be of further help when you get ready to sell.

Have A Great Day!
Frank J. Verni
Broker / Realtor
c. 916-719-6161
realtorfrank1@gmail.com

Experienced Broker/Agent Implementing Honesty and Integrity helping Sellers
and Buyers to Reach their Financial Goals – I Know What To Do!!
DRE # 01390255

For additional Information visit http://www.FrankVerniRealtor.com or http://www.RealEstateHelpbyFrank.com
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0 votes
Laura Rosales, Agent, Austin, TX
Sun May 12, 2013
Hi Mary, This is a great question for a Tax professional. You may want to gather all of the documentation regarding the home you inherited and schedule time with a tax pro to review them.
Best wishes to you, Laura Rosales, Realtor
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