Bulletin: FL2015001

Date:
March 12, 2015
To:
All Florida Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Same Sex Marriages

Dear Associates:

On August 21, 2014, a federal district court struck down Florida's ban on marriage for same sex couples as being unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied a request to extend a stay in this ruling, and the freedom for same sex couples to marry took effect on January 6, 2015. Consequently, this decision will have an impact on our underwriting guidelines for insuring title to property held by same sex couples. The purpose of this bulletin is to assist you in resolving the various issues that may confront you.

HOW SAME SEX COUPLES CAN TAKE TITLE:

How a couple chooses to take title is a personal decision. You should obtain written instructions from the buyer regarding their preference, but all of the following are acceptable: married, a married couple, husband and husband, wife and wife. In addition, if in fact, the couple is married, no words are required to indicate their marital status.

HOMESTEAD PROPERTY:

Same sex couples will have the homestead rights and protections afforded by Article X, Section 4 of The Florida Constitution. Therefore, when conveying or mortgaging homestead property, the same sex spouse must join in and execute the deed of conveyance or mortgage.

ESTATE BY THE ENTIRETIES:

Inasmuch as aspects of an estate by the entireties have not yet been judicially determined, if you are handling a transaction where one spouse has died or a certified judgment has been recorded against one spouse, please call underwriting counsel to discuss requirements for insuring.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.

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