“But Washington is a community-owned state, so why do I need a community ownership agreement?” Good question. First, by transferring joint property from one spouse to the other without succession, the surviving spouse does not take advantage of the short limitation period of the creditor of the succession. Certain issues relating to the written contracts of the deceased spouse may arise if a joint property contract has been used and no estate has been administered, six years after the death of the deceased spouse. Compared to an examination, these creditors` claims would be truncated after only four months. Married couples and couples in domestic partnerships may enter into a joint property agreement, under which all their property, separated and joint, becomes common property after the death of the first deceased spouse or partner1. Such an agreement can also be used to immediately characterise all property currently held by the couple and all property acquired in the future as Community property. The community property contract provides the means to achieve what most people understand, what the basic laws on community property provide: the confiscation of all property from the surviving spouse after death. A community ownership agreement prevails and may revoke all or part of a will signed before the agreement was concluded. If a person has made a will that gives a gift of his or her half share of the community`s property to a person other than his or her spouse or domestic partner — for example, to a child from a previous marriage — and the person subsequently executes a community property agreement, the gift goes to the person`s spouse or domestic partner, it does not matter what was stated in the will. Therefore, it is possible to involuntarily disinherit a loved one when a community ownership contract is concluded. I do not advise my clients to sign a community ownership agreement. I tend to advise them to revoke their community ownership contract if I find that my clients have executed one, although this rule is not always a rule I always adhere to.
Washington is a state belonging to the community. It`s one of nine (the others are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin). Married couples living in one of these States of community ownership often mistakenly assume that everything they own is community property. This is not always true. For example, if a spouse purchased property such as a house before the marriage, it is generally considered separate property from that spouse. Or, if a spouse receives an inheritance during marriage, it is also generally considered separate property. For estate planning, a community ownership contract makes it likely that all the assets of the first deceased person can be transferred to the surviving spouse without inheritance. This transfer facility could release the surviving spouse from the responsibility of administering the first spouse`s estate, which can be welcome amid the grief that comes with the loss of a spouse. Community property is a principle of law that applies to Washington and eight other states. In these states, a spouse or registered domestic partner owns 50% of the total property acquired during the marriage or domestic partnership.