Question: My husband and I bought an RV with our money. He now has Alzheimer’s disease and has gotten aggressive; therefore, we are separated, and I am living in the RV full time with two grandchildren. I recently expressed an interest in selling the RV so that I could move into a house and pay off joint debt. My husband is now claiming that the RV was bought with his money, so I cannot sell it. The title is in my name, and I have Power of Attorney through the courts to settle his debts. Whose RV is it, and can I sell it?
Loraine’s Answer: In Georgia, unless you are in the process of getting a divorce, title controls ownership of an asset. If the RV is titled in your name, it’s your RV and you can sell it. Even if your husband paid for it, he made a gift to you when he put it in your name.
The answer changes if either of you has filed for divorce. In that case, there may have been a court order issued that could prevent you from selling it, and the RV may be considered “marital” property to which you and your husband both have rights. However, unless you are actually getting divorced, there is no such thing as marital property.
Key Estate Planning Takeaway: Unless a couple is in the legal process of divorcing, there’s no such thing as marital property in Georgia. The person whose name is on the title owns the asset.
This “Q&A with Loraine” blog series features answers from Morgan + DiSalvo Partner Loraine DiSalvo to common questions. A key takeaway from each exchange highlights an important facet of estate planning.