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Arizona high court rules on community-property issue

PHOENIX — An Arizona Supreme Court ruling said a married person has some
flexibility in deciding how to divvy up a retirement account that’s his or her
marriage’s community property.

According to the court, a spouse who dies can leave more than one-half of a
retirement account to a beneficiary other than his or her spouse even if the
retirement account is community property.

The unanimous ruling said that can be done as long as the surviving spouse
receives at least one-half of the value of the total community property.

The court issued its ruling Friday in a Pima County case in which a man listed
his son from a previous marriage as the beneficiary of 83 percent of an
individual retirement account.

The account was community property in his current marriage.


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