Community property is a principle of law applicable in Washington and eight other states. In these states, a spouse or registered domestic partner owns 50% of all property acquired during the marriage or domestic partnership. Unless the couple has agreed otherwise in writing, this will include money earned during the marriage or domestic partnership and anything purchased with that money. However, if one person receives property as a gift or an inheritance, or obtained it before the marriage or domestic partnership, that property is considered separate property.
Washington law allows a husband and wife or domestic partners to sign and notarize a community property agreement, a document that automatically transfers an individual's community property shares at his or her death to his or her spouse or registered domestic partner.
To avoid probate after the first spouse or registered domestic partner dies, the agreement must state that all property, including any property acquired by either person after the document is signed, is community property. This means that later gifts and inheritances will also become community property. After the first person dies, the survivor has total control of the community property. When the survivor dies, he or she may distribute the property however he or she wants: the survivor is not required to consider the preferences of the deceased spouse or domestic registered domestic partner.
There are certain limitations on community property agreements. You can't use a community property agreement to appoint a guardian for your minor children, or to avoid probate when the second person dies. In addition, the document can't be revoked unless both spouses or partners agree. If you wish to learn more about community property agreements, please contact an attorney in your area.
In addition to certain guarantees provided by law, LegalZoom guarantees your satisfaction with our services and support. Because our company was created by experienced attorneys, we strive to be the best legal document service on the web. If you are not satisfied with our services, please contact us immediately and we will correct the situation, provide a refund or offer credit that can be used for future LegalZoom orders.
LegalZoom Satisfaction Guarantee Details:
- If you're not satisfied, simply call us toll-free at (800) 773-0888 during our normal business hours. All requests made under this guarantee must be made within 60 days of purchase. We will process your request within 5 business days after we've received all of the documents and materials sent to you. Unfortunately, we can't refund or credit any money paid to government entities, such as filing fees or taxes, or to other third parties with a role in processing your order. We also cannot refund any money paid by you directly to third parties, such as payments made by you directly to attorneys affiliated with our legal plans or attorney-assisted products.
- If you want to exchange the product you ordered for a different one, you must request this exchange and complete your replacement order within 60 days of purchase. The purchase price of the original item, less any money paid to government entities, such as filing fees or taxes, or to other third parties with a role in processing your order, will be credited to your LegalZoom account. Any payments made directly by you to attorneys affiliated with our legal plans or attorney-assisted products are not eligible for exchange or credit. Any price difference between the original order and the replacement order or, if a replacement order is not completed within 60 days of purchase, the full original purchase price (in each case less any money paid to government entities or other third parties) will be credited to the original form of payment. If you paid for your original order by check, LegalZoom will mail a check for the applicable amount to your billing address.
- Please note that we cannot guarantee the results or outcome of your particular procedure. For instance, the government may reject a trademark application for legal reasons beyond the scope of LegalZoom's service. In some cases, a government backlog can lead to long delays before your process is complete. Similarly, LegalZoom does not guarantee the results or outcomes of the services rendered by our legal plan attorneys or attorney-assisted products. Problems like these are beyond our control and are not covered by this guarantee.
- Since we're dedicating time and effort to your legal document preparation, our guarantee only covers satisfaction issues caused by LegalZoom - not changes to your situation or your state of mind.
Updated April 13, 2012