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Property Keyed to Saxer
Estate of Phillips v. Nyhus
Citation:124 Wash. 2d 80, 874 P.2d 154 (1994).
The decedent, Theodore P. Phillips, and the Defendants, Charles and Christina Nyhus, signed an agreement under which Phillips would be a silent partner in the purchase of some real estate. It also provided that the property would be divided between Phillips and Defendant Charles. Phillips bought the property at issue and signed an addendum which stated that he would quitclaim one-half of the property to the Defendants and upon his death would transfer to the Defendants all of his remaining interests in the property. Later that same day, Phillips executed a quitclaim deed to himself and the Defendants which included a statement that the parties intended to acquire the premises as joint tenants with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common. The quitclaim was endorsed “accepted and approved” by the Defendants and Phillips.
Around a year later, Phillips and the Defendants signed an earnest money agreement to sell to Jeffrey and Carol Ann Wiley a portion of the property held in the joint tenancy. The agreement provided for partial payment on closing with the rest of the balance secured by a deed of trust.
Later that same month, Phillips died before the final closing of the transaction with the Wileys. The Defendants brought action against The Plaintiff, Phillips’ estate, to declare their entitlement to proceeds from the sale to the Wileys under the joint tenancy agreement. The Plaintiff counterclaimed for partitioning of the proceeds and for a payment of one-half to the Plaintiff.
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