Bale v. Allison

294 P.3d 789 (2013)

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Bale v. Allison

Washington Court of Appeals
294 P.3d 789 (2013)

Facts

Robert E. Fletcher (Bob) owned a cabin in Winthrop, Washington. Bob was close to his nephews, John Fletcher (defendant) and Robert Fletcher (defendant). Throughout the 1960s, Bob took John and Robert, who were children, to the cabin several times each year. In 1971, Bob married Edna Fletcher. Edna had two adult sons, Denny Bale and Allen Bale (the Bales) (plaintiffs). Bob and Edna were married for 28 years. During that time, the Bales renovated, furnished, and maintained the Winthrop cabin because they believed that they would own the cabin upon Bob’s death. Edna did not like John and Robert and therefore they did not visit the cabin during Bob and Edna’s marriage. Edna died in 1999, and Bob invited John and Robert to begin visiting the cabin again. After Edna’s death, Bob married Garry Allison (Garry) (defendant). In 2003, Bob made a will bequeathing his property in Winthrop to the Bales. After Bob was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, he told John, Robert, and Garry that he wanted John and Robert to have the Winthrop cabin. Bob then signed a preprinted quitclaim deed conveying the property to John and Robert. The deed, which was notarized and recorded, stated that the conveyance was a gift, and that Bob did not receive consideration. Bob died in 2009 and Garry was named personal representative of his estate. The Bales learned of the quitclaim deed and sued Garry, John, and Robert, seeking an order transferring the Winthrop cabin from John and Robert to them. The court awarded clear title to the Bales, reasoning that the quitclaim deed contained fatal defects, including a failure to specify what consideration was given for the deed, and thus it was ineffective. The court further reasoned that because the deed was ineffective, the cabin passed to the Bales pursuant to the terms of Bob’s will. John and Robert appealed the trial court’s decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lau, J.)

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