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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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In Washington State, how can a document be signed, notarized

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In Washington State, how can a document be signed, notarized and filed with the clerk of the county but not be valid in a court of law for that state? How can a portion of that document be valid and others not?

TexLawyer :

Good afternoon. I'll be assisting you with your question.

Customer:

Good Afternoon.

TexLawyer :

A document can be properly executed and filed, but still be invalid based on it's contents.

TexLawyer :

For example, I could properly execute and file a lien on someone's property, but if that person did not really owe the debt I claimed they do, the lien could still be invalid.

Customer:

Understood, however if two parties agree in writing regarding real and personal property jointly owed that all would go to the other upon their death, how can that be considered invalid?

TexLawyer :

So, this was not a will, but an effort to claim a meretricious relationship, correct?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

from a legal standpoint, will you please define "meretricious" please

TexLawyer :

Without knowing all the facts of the case, my guess is that the judge found that no meretricious relationship actually existed. The court will look at many factors, but the intent of the parties involved is not the only factor.

TexLawyer :

A meretricious relationship is a term created by the Washington State legislature to define cohabitations that are marital in nature but not on paper. In many ways, something akin to a common law marriage.

TexLawyer :

There are several factors that the court will consider when determining whether or not a relationship meets the meretricious definition. These include:



  • The length of the relationship

  • The time the parties have cohabitated continuously

  • The nature of the relationship

  • The extent to which funds and assets have been comingled

  • The intent of the parties in question

Customer:

The intent as to what aspect? why they would draft such an agreement?

TexLawyer :

In theory, a judge could find that even though the parties intended to enter into a meretricious relationship, they did not meet enough of the other factors. Again, without knowing all the specifics of this case, it is hard for me to say why the judge would deny it.

TexLawyer :

The intent to be in a meretricious relationship. Clearly, the document they filed expressed that intent, but, as you can see, that is not the only factor a judge is to consider when deciding who is or isn't in a meretricious relationship.

Customer:

Is it possible for me to know "why" the judge ruled that way or do I have to just accept his decision

TexLawyer :

He should have put his reasons on the record when he made the decision, or put them in an order. If he did not, you can request a statement of facts and legal conclusions from the judge. Also, you (actually, your brother or his girlfriend) have a right to appeal his decision.

TexLawyer :

Again, I have no way of knowing why the judge made the decision he did since I haven't seen any of the documents, so I'm largely speculating.

Customer:

I am trying to determine my best option. My brother died 1/2012, I am the executor of his estate (or will be) the girlfriend died 9/2010. Her son, who did not live with her at the time, now resides at the residence

Customer:

given the agreement, disallowed by the judge, what are my rights as far as being on the property?

TexLawyer :

Who are his heirs?

Customer:

my brother was not married and has no children

TexLawyer :

Are your parents living? How many siblings does he have?

Customer:

It is only my mother, my sister and myself

Customer:

nieces and nephews

TexLawyer :

Since the judge has voided the meretricious agreement, his estate will follow the normal intestate succession laws.

TexLawyer :

Here is a breakdown of how his estate will pass in Washington:

Customer:

does my being named by the court as personal representative of his estate automatically give me the authority to handle the settling of these issues with regards XXXXX XXXXX estate with her son

TexLawyer :

That means you have the authority to act on behalf of his estate in the same way he could if he were living.

Customer:

would something else need to be filed if I wanted to pursue appealing the decision of the judge regarding there meretricious agreement

Customer:

their*

TexLawyer :

No, as representive of the estate, you have legal authority to act on behalf of the estate.

TexLawyer :

That legal authority includes the ability to engage in litigation you believe is in the best interest of the estate.

Customer:

can I be on the property at any time

TexLawyer :

That is a decision for the judge to make. There could be a conflict of interest if you are living in the home, but a judge would have to make that determination. Of course, if nobody is complaining, it will not likely be brought to the judge's attention.

Customer:

the son moved onto the property with the intent (so he states) of protecting the property from vandalism; the property and grounds are in bad disrepair. I want to determine what state the residence is in and what the property is worth as it will have to be sold

TexLawyer :

OK. You have that right as representative of the estate. You should give the son notice that you intend to do so, since he is basically a tenant, but you have the right to enter.

Customer:

Thank you very much for your help and information; you've provided more helpful information than any of the attorney's hired to pursue this case when my brother was alive.

TexLawyer :

Glad to help.

Customer:

You have lifted a weight off my shoulders

Customer:

Now moving forward with this doesn't seem quite as scary. I thank you.

TexLawyer :

It's been my pleasure.

TexLawyer :

If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer. Good luck!

Customer:

I could go on but you've been a big help already.

TexLawyer :

If you have any questions in the future, you can direct them to me here: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-texlawyer/

Customer:

Great! thanks!

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