In 1977, eight of the United States use community property systems instead of the common law systems used in the other 42 states. Because the community property system is totally alien to common law states which do not recognize community interests in property, when domiciliaries of a community property state migrate to a common law state problems develop over the definition of property rights. Two questions usually arise: do the spouses’ rights and interests in the community property change if they move to a common law state? And if not, how are these rights and interests protected? The first question clearly has been answered in the negative. The answer to the second question is in doubt, however, because the common law states have developed no consistent pattern for dealing with the disposition of estates which include both the separate property of each spouse and community property or property traceable to community property.
To remedy this confusion, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws approved and recommended for enactment the Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act in 1971. Kentucky adopted this uniform act in 1974. It provides a clear, statutory method for dealing with the disposition of estates in Kentucky which consist of both separate property and property acquired as community property under the laws of another state.
Response or Comment
Sarah N. Welling, Comment, The Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act, 65 Ky. L.J. 541 (1977).