Bulletin: NY000477

Date:
July 19, 2011
To:
All New York State Policy Issuing Offices
RE:
Marriage Equity Act

This Bulletin addresses the estate which is created when fee title is conveyed to a same sex couple married pursuant to New York’s Marriage Equality Act, Chapter 95 and Chapter 96, Laws of 2011.

The Act, which becomes effective July 24, 2011, provides in pertinent part

S 10-A. PARTIES TO A MARRIAGE. 1. A MARRIAGE THAT IS OTHERWISE VALID SHALL BE VALID REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE ARE OF THE SAME OR DIFFERENT SEX.

2. NO GOVERNMENT TREATMENT OR LEGAL STATUS, EFFECT, RIGHT, BENEFIT, PRIVILEGE, PROTECTION OR RESPONSIBILITY RELATING TO MARRIAGE, WHETHER DERIVING FROM STATUTE, ADMINISTRATIVE OR COURT RULE, PUBLIC POLICY, COMMON LAW OR ANY OTHER SOURCE OF LAW, SHALL DIFFER BASED ON THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE BEING OR HAVING BEEN OF THE SAME SEX RATHER THAN A DIFFERENT SEX. WHEN NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SPOUSES UNDER THE LAW, ALL GENDER-SPECIFIC LANGUAGE OR TERMS SHALL BE CONSTRUED IN A GENDER-NEUTRAL MANNER IN ALL SUCH SOURCES OF LAW.” 

The same underwriting requirements are to be applied for a same sex couple legally married under the Marriage Equality Act as for a legally married heterosexual couple and title will be insured as tenants by the entireties provided:

  1. The couple is legally married at the time of the conveyance.   As to a same sex couple, this would be a couple legally married pursuant to the Marriage Equality Act on or after the effective date.
  2. In connection with all conveyances into a married couple, whether heterosexual or same sex, we would want to see the intention stated in the granting clause, such as that it reads “A to X and Y, as tenants by the entireties”, “A to X and Y, married”.

If you have any questions please contact Stewart Title Insurance Company Agency Legal Service at 212-922-0050.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None