Consequences of Quit Claim Deed from my mother's Estate to my husband and myself? How to protect my interests?

Asked about 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

Mother died widowed, I am sole beneficiary. Finished probate (King County, WA). House paid off. Would like to have house in husband's name (listed first for senior tax reduction) and my own second. Any consequences I should consider? How to protect my own interests, such as Life Estate perhaps? Have Quit Claim Deed form and Real Estate Tax Affidavit form, but scared to complete!

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Elizabeth Rankin Powell

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . This isn't self-help law. You also have to deal with the real estate excise tax. There is one exemption, when the property is transferred from the estate to the next party, but this is complicated stuff and you could accidentally get the wrong information if there are omitted facts. Richard Wills is very, very good at probate; you should look at his website or give him a call.

    WA is a community property state. One of the three exemptions from community property presumptions is property passing to a spouse by bequest. The presumption is it is your separate property. My big worry is that if the estate quit-claimed the property to you, and you are quit-claiming it to your spouse for whatever reason, the State could decide that this is a taxable event. Please, please take all your documents to a probate attorney for review.

    Elizabeth Powell

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  2. Jeff Tomberg

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . you need to consult with the attorney handling the estate as to the manner in transferring the deed. ordinarily the estate will be required to deed the property to you as beneficiary. reasoning first that you and not your husband is beneficiary and second that you may be entitled to homestead exemption protecting the property from any creditors claims. further by consulting him you will find that you may have questions answered you didnt ask answered for you. if you dont have a lawyer handling the probate then by all means retain a lawyer to answer your questions.

    without a detailed review by a lawyer can all the issues raised in your question be appropriately addressed...... more
  3. Mark Alan Mackin

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . If you are afraid to touch the paperwork, that is an indication that you are in over your head. Heed the advice given and consult a probate/real estate lawyer. You could pay more for anxiety prescriptions for this than you would spend for 1-2 hours with a lawyer.

    DISCLAIMER: The forgoing comment is for general educational purposes only, and is not legal advice upon which the... more
  4. Kent Leroy Siegrist

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . Real estate title is nothing to trifle with. I work in title every day, and routinely see title problems caused by well meaning 'self help' individuals.
    Contact an attorney with real estate title experience. If it is only a simple matter, the cost will be minimal, and there will be someone to take responsibility for any mistakes. Trying to cure the title that a person has screwed up costs thousands.
    It is an extreme example, but I am working on a title now where the parties did their own deed in 1987, and probably saved themselves a hundred dollars. There was a typo leaving out two letters in the legal description. Now 25 years later we are going to spend in excess of $10,000 curing the title so that the property can be marketed. Had to attempt to locate 3 generations of heirs, and bring civil suit to quiet title.

    Be sure to ask about tax consequences - current and deferred - when deeding any property.

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