S. Victoria Wells - Page 9

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          possessed a community property interest.  Upon retirement, the              
          husband deposited the funds from these plans into three                     
          individual retirement accounts (IRA's).  The accounts were solely           
          in the husband's name, with the designated beneficiary of each              
          being a revocable living trust which had been created by the                
          pension plan.  The husband's children, in turn, were the                    
          beneficiaries of that living trust.  The forms for the IRA                  
          accounts contained a space for the signature of a spouse who was            
          not designated as the sole primary beneficiary to indicate the              
          spouse's consent to the designation.  Mrs. MacDonald signed the             
          consent form.  Upon her death, Mrs. MacDonald's estate petitioned           
          to establish its one-half interest in the IRA accounts.                     
               The issue in Estate of MacDonald was whether Mrs. MacDonald            
          had waived her community property interest or whether there had             
          been a transmutation of her community property interest in the              
          pension-IRA's.  The court held that Mrs. MacDonald's signature on           
          the space below the consent paragraph did not satisfy California            
          Civil Code section 5110.730(a).                                             
               a writing signed by the adversely affected spouse is                   
               not an "express declaration" for the purposes of                       
               section 5110.730(a) unless it contains language which                  
               expressly states that the characterization or ownership                
               of the property is being changed.  [In re Estate of                    
               MacDonald, supra at 918.]                                              
          In other words, the defect in the writing in Estate of MacDonald            
          was its ambiguity:                                                          

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