Automatic Homestead

The State of Washington has a statute that provides for an automatic homestead -- RCW 6.13.  The automatic homestead statute was created by the legislature in 1981.  Prior to this law it was necessary for homeowners to record a formal declaration of homestead.  The 1981 statute makes the homestead rights automatic and no formal declaration is necessary. 

When property is acquired by an unmarried individual who later marries or enters into a domestic partnership or by a married person as a separate estate, it is necessary to determine if the spouse or domestic partner resides at the subject property.  Even if they are not a vested owner, if they reside at the subject property they will need to join in any conveyance in a sale transaction or security interest in a refinance transaction  to consent to the conveyance or encumbrance of their homestead.  A Quit Claim Deed to their spouse or domestic partner is not sufficient. 
Note:  If you would like to learn more about Homestead Rights, consider attending our 3 clock hour class "Community Property and Homestead Rights."  You can find it by checking the schedule on our website at