Posts tagged Evan McCauley
All About Transfer-On-Death Deeds

This article discusses the TOD deed features and limitations, and helps to explain why—more than three years after passing of the new law—the TOD deed has not been widely adopted as a planning tool.

In June of 2014, our state adopted a new law allowing for transfer-on-death (“TOD”) deeds, known as the “Washington Uniform Real Property Transfer On Death Act” or “Act”. The Act was intended to simplify your estate planning by allowing you to transfer real property to your family members or beneficiaries at your death outside of probate. This is similar to pay-on-death designations on a bank or investment account.

Previously, almost all real property transfers on death required a probate proceeding. This new law now provides a simpler and (potentially) more cost effective alternative for transferring your real estate at your death without the time or costs of probate.

The TOD deed, however, has its limitations and should be carefully considered in the context of your overall estate plan. It should not be used simply to avoid probate. There are very few circumstances where the benefits of saving administration costs outweigh the benefits of having a will with more defined planning provisions.

Legislative Changes In Public Records Requests

How Changes in the Laws will impact you

By Evan McCauley

By Evan McCauley

The next time you submit a public records request, you may notice something different. On July 23, 2017, two new House Bills went into effect. Below are highlights of the new legislation. 

House Bill 1595 —

Changes include: 

Public Records Charges

  • Electronic Records —  Agencies are now authorized to charge for providing copies of electronically produced records.
  • Custom Service Charge — Agencies may now assess a customized service charge for records requests that require the preparation of data compilations, or customized electronic access services, that are not used by the agency for other purposes. This fee is in addition to the authorized copying costs, and may include reimbursement for the actual costs of providing records.

Excessive Requests

  • Agencies may now deny frequent, automatically generated (bot) requests for public records that would interfere with the other essential functions of the agency.
  • Agencies may consider requests for all or substantially all agency records ‘invalid’ under the Public Records Act.

Additional details of House Bill 1595, including the costs that can be assessed for public records requests can be found here.

House Bill 1594 —

House Bill 1594 will create a grant program to help local governments, particularly smaller agencies, pay for training to better manage public records. It will also allow the Attorney General’s office to assist local governments in complying with requests, and will begin a study to explore creation of a statewide online portal for public records access.

Additional details of House Bill 1594 can be found here.