WA Legal Roundup - Washington State Supreme Court
A has C, a son from a previous marriage. A buys Blackacre. A married B. A deeds Blackacre jointly to A & B. A dies instestate. Under the rules of separate property, Blackacre is property acquired before marriage and passes by the rules of intestate succession. Under the rule of presumed joint gifting, Blackacre goes to B.
The court simply framed the question as whether the warranty deed to A & B converted the property to community property such that it would pass to B. The rule is that absent sufficient evidence of an intent to convert the nature of the property, it stays what it was on the date of acquisition. "While this could be accomplished through a quit claim deed or other real property transfer, a properly executed community property agreement may also effectuate a transfer of real property." Thus, simply including the name on the warranty deed, without further evidence of an intent to actually transfer the property to the community, doesn't suffice. "We have consistently refused to recognize any presumption arising from placing legal title in both spouses' names and instead adhered to the principle that the name on a deed or title does not determine the separate or community character of the property, or even provide much evidence."
Always have to look to the true intent of the parties. If the evidence of intent is scant, you will have a hard time overcoming a presumption.
Now, given this was a 4-1-4 opinion, the breakdown of the law will only hold to the extent that it was concurred with:
See above. She adopted the lead opinion reasoning and wrote only to say that there was no other evidence outside the name on the deed, so the court, under our states abstention principles, should not have even looked to the question of what kind of evidence would be sufficient.