A question concerning what is considered joint property


Elderly parents, in order to avoid estate taxes after death, gave shares of their farm to two married daughters and their son-in-law husbands. Upon separation, the son-in-law husband of one of the daughters deeded his share of the farm back to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Question: Does the son-in-law huband’s share of the farm have to be considered as his property and his deeding it to her as a gift from him to her? (Even though it was clearly understood that the gift from the parents was for inheritance purposes, and the wife has in her possession her husband’s writing to the effect that he knew it was right to deed back his portion of the farm)(btw. The other brother-in-law also deeded his portion of the farm, even though their marriage is solid, to his wife so that the farm would be in the daughters’ name only)

Question: Does the answer to the previous question depend on when he deeded his share back to her? (He signed the deed one month prior to the official date of separation, but the deed was not filed until the official date of separation).

Bottom line question: Does the husband’s title transfer of his share of his wife’s parents’ property have to count as a gift from him to her even though, clearly, it would not be his in case of a divorce prior to the parents’ death? Must she now get less of her own parents’ assets?


The land can be considered martial property, and the daughter can be attributed to receiving that as part of a distribution no matter when it occurred, either before or after their separation. However it sounds like the soon to be ex husband is acknowledging that he never intended to have an interest in the farm. If agrees to eliminate the land from the martial estate voluntarily, this will not be an issue.