For more than 75 years, Althauser Rayan Abbarno has represented individuals and businesses in our community and throughout the State of Washington. Their attorneys pride themselves on providing the ‘small town’ attention everyone deserves and the ‘big city’ tools everyone should expect. That is what has made them and their clients successful since 1946.
Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorneys stay on top of new laws and technology that help clients achieve their desired goals. They also see their role as educating their clients and the public about important changes in the law. Althauser Rayan Abbarno wants to share several of these new laws passed by the Washington State Legislature, including laws that digitize legal processes.
Pursuant to Senate Bill 5005, corporations may give notices and other communications to shareholders and directors by email and other forms of electronic transmission without obtaining their consent. If a corporation previously gave notices to a shareholder only by mail or other methods of non- electronic delivery, the corporation must notify the shareholder before transitioning to email notices. There are some exceptions where a notice may not be given by email or other electronic transmission. For example, a shareholder can object to receiving email notices in writing. This objection can be sent by mail.
For residents of condominiums, Senate Bill 5011 amends the Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) to allow meetings of unit owners to be conducted by telephonic, video, or other conferencing process unless conducting meetings in that manner is restricted by the declaration or organizational documents.
The Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act (WNCA) was amended by Senate Bill 5034, a 230 page bill, to create a more efficient process for electronic transmission of notices and meeting procedures. Comprehensive rules governing members and directors, and updates to record keeping and filing requirements with the secretary of state were also included.
If you belong to, or work for a nonprofit, then the new changes found in SB 5034 are important for you to know. This new law impacts representative capacity and the authority of the attorney general to investigate and intervene to protect charitable assets. Virtually all aspects of nonprofit operations and management are addressed in this bill.
Estate Planning and Probate
The changes to the Uniform Electronic Wills Act in Senate Bill 5132 might be the most widely impactful change in the law this year. This bill addresses both wills and trusts, and permits testators to execute electronic wills and trusts and allows probate courts to give electronic instruments legal effect. The act retains core required formalities of writing, signature, and attestation, but makes them executable electronically.
An electronic will must be a record that is readable as text at the time of signing; signed by the testator or another individual in the testator’s name, in the testator’s physical presence, and by the testator’s direction; and signed by at least two competent witnesses at the testator’s direction or request and in the physical or electronic presence of the testator. The act also states who may be a qualified custodian of an electronic will and their legal duties to deliver the electronic will and make an affidavit relating to those duties.
In addition, SB 5132 amends the Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act. The legislation addresses fiduciary duties, conversions between income trusts and unitrusts, and adjustments between income and principal. Senate Bill 5132 also changes the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act, where donor, powerholder, and power of appointment are defined, as are other powers and responsibilities.
The new changes to wills and trust can be confusing. If you have questions about an estate plan, contact the experienced Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno. Without competent legal counsel, mistakes can be very costly and invalidate much of your planning intent.
Cases brought under the Land Use Petition Act and Administrative Agency decisions may be directly appealed to the Court of Appeals rather than appealed to the Superior Court, according to Senate Bill 5225. The final decision of an administrative agency in an adjudicative proceeding may be directly reviewed by the court of appeals upon certification by the superior court. The provisions creating a direct appeal process expire on July 1, 2026.
Mental Health Advance Directive
A mental health advance directive is a document that declares a person’s preferences regarding the person’s mental health treatment in the event of incapacity. Pursuant to Senate Bill 5370, the pattern form used to create a mental health advance directive has significantly changed; removing long notice requirements and adding, changing, and deleting other sections. Among the biggest change is allowing persons age 13-17 to execute a mental health advance directive if the person is able to demonstrate they are capable of making informed decisions relating to behavioral health care.
Access to Attorneys
Access to attorneys and their role in the judicial system was also significantly changed during the 2021 Legislative Session. Children in dependency cases will now be eligible for the appointment of counsel as a result of House Bill 1219; under certain circumstances, House Bill 1140 grants juveniles access to an attorney (in-person, telephonic, or video) before the juvenile waives any constitutional rights; and all tenants facing eviction under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act may be appointed an attorney pursuant to Senate Bill 5160.
Laws change fast and it is important to have a quality legal team on your side. Althauser Rayan Abbarno has offices in Centralia and Olympia and their attorneys are prepared to represent you and your businesses. If you have questions about these new laws or your case, contact Althauser Rayan Abbarno in Centralia or Olympia by calling (360) 736-1301 or visit www.CentraliaLaw.com.
This post is sponsored by Althauser Rayan Abbarno.
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Locations: 114 West Magnolia St., Centralia Market Centre, Olympia
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Phone: 360-736-1301 Website: www.CentraliaLaw.com