Recording a Deed

Any Deed (that is, the document evidencing the transfer of real property) is required to be recorded in the County Auditor’s Office of the county in which the real property is located. All sales and other transfers of property (both personal and real) in Washington are also subject to the Washington State Excise Tax, generally, a tax based on what the buyer paid for the property. Sales or transfers of real property by the Personal Representative of a probate estate are subject to the Excise Tax, and a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit is required to by submitted to the County Auditor’s Office together with a Deed evidencing the transfer of the property. Fortunately, although such a transfer is subject to the Excise Tax and a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit is required to be submitted, Washington law provides that the transfer of real property from a probate estate to an heir or beneficiary is exempt from excise taxation; the Affidavit, however, is still required to be filed and a fee for its processing is required to be paid. Therefore, to transfer real property or a mobile home from a probate estate to an heir or beneficiary, the following items are required to be submitted to the pertinent County Auditor’s Office:

  • The Deed evidencing the transfer.
  • Either a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit or, if a mobile home, a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit for Mobile Home.
  • A copy of:
    • If a testacy: A certified copy of the Grantor’s Letters Testamentary, showing that the grantor in the Deed is the Court-appointed Personal Representative (ie, Executor).
    • If an intestacy: A certified copy of the Grantor’s Letters of Administration, showing that the grantor in the Deed is the Court-appointed Personal Representative (ie, Administrator).
    • See: WAC 458-61A-202
  • A check to the order of the County Auditor for its Deed recordation fee: $32 for the first page + $1 for each additional page.
  • A $10 check to the order of the County Treasurer for its Affidavit processing fee.

Regarding the Affidavit:

  • For Item 4, make sure to add (usually by an Attachment) the legal description of the property.
  • For Item 7:
    • The WAC No. for the excise tax exemption for a transfer to an heir or beneficiary is: 458-61A-202.
    • The reason for exemption is: Inheritance or devise.