S. Victoria Wells - Page 8

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          (c) transmute separate property of one spouse into separate                 
          property of the other spouse.5                                              
               California Civil Code section 5110.730(a) requires that a              
          valid transmutation be made not just in writing, but in "writing            
          [made] by an express declaration that is made, joined in,                   
          consented to, or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the               
          property is adversely affected."                                            
               The issue here is whether Mr. Wells validly transmuted his             
          one-half joint tenancy interest in the Paddock Lane property to             
               The California Supreme Court in In re Estate of MacDonald,             
          794 P.2d 911 (Cal. 1990), considered the requirements of a                  
          written transmutation under California Civil Code section                   
          5110.730(a).  The MacDonalds had both previously been married and           
          had children from their prior marriages.  After several years of            
          marriage to Mr. MacDonald, Mrs. MacDonald discovered that she was           
          terminally ill.  Wanting to leave separate property to her                  
          children, Mrs. MacDonald and her husband obtained legal and                 
          financial advice and divided their property into separate estates           
          before her death.  One of the items that they did not address was           
          the husband's pension plan benefits in which Mrs. MacDonald                 

               5 Former Cal. Civ. Code secs. 5110.710 through 5110.730                
          (West 1983) were in effect at the time of the transmutation in              
          this case.  These statutes were repealed and are now codified in            
          Cal. Fam. Code secs. 850-853 (West 1994).                                   

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