My spouse wants me to transmute all our property to community for our new trust. I want to be assured my child from prior marriage (and grandchildren) receive certain assets if I die first. Is it necessary (or wise even) to transmute as requested? (Our total estate is about $7 million of which about $4 million is in my name.)

The definition of estate planning is control. “I want to control my property while I am alive; manage my assets depite any disability; and in the event of my death I want to give my assets to whom I want, when I want and exactly the way I want with the least cost and hassle possible to me and to the people that I love.” If you transmute your assets into community property you will willingly and voluntarily give up control of those assets. Control of those assets will rest with the community — meaning you and your spouse. Control will no longer belong to you. On the other hand if you put these assets in your own separate trust you will be able to maintain control.

I would recommend that you speak to your own individual attorney, to design an estate plan that suits your wishes and needs as well as the needs of the rest of your family. Keep control.