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4 tips to keep separate property from the transmutation coil

Perhaps you are about to enter your second marriage. You are well off, you enjoy a high standard of living and you have learned a few things from your first marriage. One of these lessons is that it is remarkably easy—and dangerous—for separate assets to become marital assets. You discovered how commingled funds can complicate a divorce action. This time around, you want to be more careful and keep your separate property from transmutation complications. 

You have various separate assets that you want to remain separate. Here are four tips that will help you keep those assets safe from transmutation.

1. Create a prenup

To avoid transmutation, the process of allowing separate property to become marital property, consider drawing up a prenuptial agreement. This will keep your property separate and state how it should be divided in the event of divorce or your death.

2. Avoid commingling

If you do not want to share with your soon-to-be spouse, avoid commingling assets. Do not combine your separate assets with marital assets. In addition, remember that you should not use your separate funds to pay household expenses or to purchase assets after you marry.

3. Keep records

Maintain complete records of your separate property along with its value as of the date of your marriage. If you own stock, recordkeeping might extend to formation documents or corporate minutes. If you own real property, keep copies of the deeds.

4. Consider other items

Preserve your bank account and brokerage account statements as of the date of your marriage. This will assist with the tracking of separate property should the funds become commingled with your future marital funds. You should maintain similar records of appraisals, any bills of sale, note cards or letters describing gifts to you personally and tax returns.

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