Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Lawyer's Edge
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish

Yours, Mine and Ours
Nevada is a community property state which has laws providing that all earnings or assets acquired during a marriage by either spouse are considered community property, unless it was acquired by gift, inheritance or personal injury settlement. Property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage, as well as gifts, inheritances and injury awards received during the marriage, is the separate property of that spouse.

Since October 1, 2009, these same rules apply to unmarried couples who register as domestic partners.

The laws governing community and separate property can acquire increased importance when one or both of the spouses or partners own a significant level of assets prior to the new marriage. Of course, the legal status of a couple’s property becomes a major focus when divorce proceedings take place. A prenuptial agreement helps avoid confusion and disputes in these cases.

When people remarry following a divorce or death of a spouse, it is essential to see an estate-planning attorney with regard to new Wills or a Living Trust. The spouses or partners will have to decide whether to join together in a new trust or keep separate ones. Even when a joint trust is created, the separate property character of either spouse’s prior-owned assets can be preserved, and specific provisions for the children or other relatives of each can be included. If there is a prenuptial agreement, its provisions can be honored in the estate-planning documents.

A failure to create new Wills or Trusts after a new marriage can result in unintended consequences when one of the parties dies. This can also be true when neither spouse nor partner has been in a prior marriage or domestic partnership but has acquired separate assets. In the absence of a new Will or Trust, the law will dictate how such assets are distributed upon death.

Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, call him at 293-3674 or 699-7500, or visit his website at

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