Top 4 Domestic Partnership Questions

A domestic partnership is a legal relationship between two adults who are not married. The status confers many of the rights and benefits also available to married couples in many aspects of life but it is not marriage under Washington law. Originally only a few of these affected real property, but as of 2008 many elements of real property ownership applicable to married persons now also apply to domestic partnerships.

1. Who qualifies for domestic partnership?

How does domestic partnership affect real estate ownershipDomestic partnerships can apply to persons of the same sex, but also to those of the opposite sex where at least one of them is 62 years old or older. This is important to those who want some of the benefits of marriage but who do not want to be married. For instance, a domestic partnership will allow inheritance of a home as if the couple were married, but preserve the single status of those persons who do not want the relationship to affect, for example, pensions or Social Security benefits. For those couples it is important that the legal relationship not be equivalent to marriage.

“Domestic partnerships can apply to persons of the same sex, but also to those of the opposite sex where at least one of them is 62 years old or older.”

2. How do domestic partnerships effect real estate ownership?

Broadening the treatment of real property to apply to domestic partnerships means that now interest in real property is equivalent to both homestead and community property for a married couple. (Please see previous post on community property & homesteads in WA by clicking here.) And, of course, if either partner dies without a will, title to real property will be treated the same as for a married couple in similar circumstances. (Please see May 2011 post regarding probates.)

3. How can I have a domestic partnership legally recognized?

In order for the domestic partnership to be legally recognized in Washington State a declaration of domestic partnership must be completed and filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, Corporations Division. It can be terminated automatically if the partners marry each other as recognized in Washington (which would only apply to domestic partners of the opposite sex). It can also be terminated voluntarily by filing a notice and affidavit with the registry and meeting certain other criteria. The final way it can be dissolved is by a court process similar to marriage dissolution.

4. Will Washington State recognize a same-sex marriage registered in another state?

Limited reciprocity rules apply to domestic partnerships. A legal union formed in another state that is “substantially equivalent” to a Washington domestic partnership will be recognized here as such. However, a same-sex marriage that is legal in another state is not recognized in Washington as either a marriage or a domestic partnership.

Washington State Domestic Partnership Resources:

Domestic Partnerships – WA State
Frequently Asked Questions
Domestic Partnership Declaration.pdf

Questions or comments? Please respond by leaving a message in the comment box below!

Deeds Indeed

Deeds Indeed

Signing the deed

Consider this… A bank is selling REO property, but will convey by “special” warranty deed, rather than the statutory warranty deed we usually see. Isn’t it still a warranty deed? Will the purchaser accept this? And, isn’t a statutory warranty deed required?

Types of Property Deeds

There are several types of deeds. A warranty” deed warrants title for all matters, no matter what they are or when they were created prior to the date of sale. It binds the seller for the benefit of the buyer and all heirs and assigns of both. Express warranties aren’t shown in the deed because Washington’s statutes say what they are – hence a “statutory” warranty deed includes them without recitals in the deed. (The warranties are set out in RCW 64.04.030.)

A quitclaim deed means that no covenants of warranty are included at all. The buyer gets only whatever interest the seller has, good, bad or ugly (and may even be nothing). It is often used to clear a cloud on the title. (These deeds are provided for by RCW 64.04.050.)

A bargain and sale” deed falls somewhere in the middle. It also has statutory definitions, and means the seller is limiting covenants of good title to only matters created during the time that the seller was in title or as specified in the deed. (The specifics are in RCW 64.04.040.)

The ability to further limit warranties gives rise to the special” warranty deed. It’s not a statutory form, but simply means the grantor is expressly stating in the deed what the limited warranties, if any, are.

Warranties may be unacceptable to a seller who shouldn’t have to assume that type of liability. Thus, a special warranty deed is used in fiduciary situations, including (in addition to the sale of REO property) a personal representative in a probate, a deed of trust trustee, and a trustee of a trust – all parties who aren’t responsible for matters arising before coming into title or who don’t have any active ownership of the land.

Warranties are valuable to a buyer because if there are problems or defects in the title, it is important to be able to sue the seller, even when the buyer has title insurance. That’s also why title companies like a warranty deed, because they have subrogation rights under the policy, meaning it can step into the shoes of the insured and sue the seller under the deed warranties. The buyer’s title policy still provides the same coverage no matter which type of deed is used.

Only the parties’ respective attorneys can offer advice in this area. The seller and purchaser need to agree on the form of deed. They each have valid legal reasons for their requirements. While it is unlikely that any REO seller will be willing to offer a statutory warranty deed, the form of deed ultimately comes from negotiation.

Do you have a question or comment about deeds?  Please leave a comment below!

Ticor Gives Back – and has a little fun in the process

This week kicks off our “Ticor Gives Back” initiative.  We’ve formed a committee, done our homework on local organizations, printed up fliers, and rallied our staff with a little incentive to give a little extra this year.  And sure enough, the announcement to the sales team that we were having a community support-drive spurred on a bit of healthy competition.  Here are the challenges we have so far…

1 Picture = 1 Can. As an incentive to get the word out, I pledged to donate one can of food for every picture sent to me that relates to a client or employee making a donation.

The first to get 5 people involved. Our county manager (Marci) and sales manager (Ryan) challenged each other thusly:

The first person to get 5 clients to donate at least 1 can of food wins.  The loser has to donate 10 cans and $20.

This one was settled within 48 hours when Marci sent the following picture to the sales team, simultaneously winning the challenge and being the first to submit a picture, requiring me to donate 1 can!  Way to go, Marci!

canned foodImage by shooting brooklyn via Flickr

In all seriousness, we truly feel blessed and want to share with our community.  A little healthy competition on our team is sincerely intended to generate more relief in a shorter amount of time for people in need in the Puget Sound area.

If you would like to get involved, please email us, call 425-255-7575, or stop by one of our escrow branches with a donation of any amount.

Even one can of non perishable food can make a difference in someone’s day.  And remember every photo of someone participating in Ticor Gives Back will help a family!

Happy Giving!
Matt Sweet
Ticor Title

*All donations will be delivered to Northwest Harvest, Helping Hand House, Hope Link and the Humane Society.