Industry News

Gay marriages rewrite home ownership rules

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SAN FRANCISCO–While attorneys here battle over the legal semantics of marriage laws in the midst of the city's gay marriage spree, same-sex couples who co-own homes should consult a tax expert to find out how getting hitched could affect their property ownership rights. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's landmark decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses will radically alter the application of home ownership and tax laws for gay and lesbian couples. More than 2,000 same-sex couples have said "I do" in San Francisco since last Thursday. Most of the property-related benefits of marriage involve payment of taxes, according to attorney Marc Weissman, a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. His firm, Weiss & Weissman, is based in San Francisco and Foster City, Calif. "A married couple can take title as community property. An unmarried couple cannot," he said. Community property has the right of survivorship, which means ownership transfers to the...