Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1999 NO. 3 >

The Legislature may by law authorize the investment of moneys in the Permanent Common School Fund, and may define by statute the manner in which such funds may be invested.

AGO 1992 NO. 3 >

1.  The Enabling Act and article 16, section 1 of the Washington Constitution constitute a declaration of trust with regard to the property granted to the State by the United States in the Enabling Act.  The constitutional trust established in article 16, section 1 does not apply to land donated to the Washington Territory that was not confirmed or reconveyed to the State in the Enabling Act. 2.   The State's ability to use or transfer property acquired from the United States by grant is limited by any restrictions contained in the federal grant.  However, since title to the property rests with the State, it may use or transfer the property as it chooses, so long as the State's use or transfer conforms to the restrictions in the grant.  3.  Under RCW 79.01.006(2), federal restrictions on property, that limit its use to public recreational and other specific purposes, are binding conditions that conflict with other provisions of RCW 79.01.006.  Therefore, property subject to such restrictions is not included in the corpus of the educational, penal, and reformatory institution account pursuant to chapter 79.01 RCW.

AGLO 1976 NO. 5 >

(1) If a mutual savings bank is acting as a trustee under RCW 32.08.210, and if by reason of its mismanagement of a trust a loss is sustained for which the bank is legally liable, all of the assets of the bank will be available to cover the loss, including the guaranty fund provided for by RCW 32.08.100 and 32.08.110. (2) In the event such a mutual savings bank becomes insolvent, such parties as may have been injured by reason of the mismanagement of a trust by the bank, for which the bank is legally liable, will not generally have a legal preference of the depositors of the bank with respect to any particular funds or any assets thereof.

AGO 1986 NO. 5 >

The permanent common school fund, public pension and retirement funds, and the industrial insurance trust funds may be invested in securities lending agreements and reverse repurchase agreements pursuant to amendments to the Washington Constitution which allow such funds to be invested as authorized by law.

AGO 1996 NO. 12 >

1.  Under current Washington case law, a county auditor or similar recording officer has a ministerial duty to record a document purporting on its face to affect title to real estate located within the jurisdiction, if the document is presented for recording and the appropriate fee is tendered. 2.  “Non-statutory abatements" are not documents purporting to affect title to real property, and county officers have no duty to record such documents. 3.  A county auditor or similar officer lacks authority to decline to record a document presented for recording, and otherwise qualifying to be recorded, based on doubt that the entity purporting to record the document has been lawfully created or constituted. 4.  County auditors and recording officers have no duty to record documents purporting to establish "trusts;" such documents are not among those listed in statute as recordable. 5.  Conveyance of real estate to a "Massachusetts trust" or other "business trust"  does not affect the property tax liability for the real estate. 6.  Conveyance of real estate to a private trust, in which the grantors and their family members or other designees are among the beneficiaries of the trust, does not affect the property tax liability for the real estate. 7.  Where the owners of real estate transfer title to a trust or business organization without any change in the beneficial ownership of the property, the transfer is not a "sale" as defined in RCW 82.45.010 and is exempt from excise tax. 8.  A county auditor or similar officer is prohibited from recording real estate transfer documents until the County Treasurer has affixed a stamp reflecting either that the taxes have been paid or that none are due. 9.  A county treasurer or other officer has no authority to require that documents offered for recording be first submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney, the Department of Revenue, or the Attorney General's Office for review and comment, except that a county officer has a reasonable time to consult with the Prosecuting Attorney for advice concerning his or her duties.

AGO 1989 NO. 14 >

1.The State Treasurer may invest funds contained in the natural resources deposit fund established pursuant to RCW 43.85.130(1)(c), except for funds derived from the sale or disposition of public lands.2.The State Investment Board may invest funds contained in the natural resources deposit fund and derived from the sale or disposition of public lands, and held in a temporary depository, pursuant to RCW 43.33A.010.3.The State Treasurer may, pursuant to RCW 43.84.080, invest funds in the resource management cost account (RCW 79.64.020).4.The State Treasurer may, pursuant to RCW 43.84.090, deduct twenty percent of all income received from the investment of the surplus contained in the natural resources deposit fund and the resource management cost account, except for income from the investment of trust moneys; this income must be apportioned to the appropriate funds pursuant to RCW 43.84.090 does not authorize the State Treasurer to deduct any portion of income received from the investment of trust funds which obtain their revenue from the management of trust lands; the Legislature could authorize such a deduction to the extent consistent with general trust principles. 

AGLO 1974 NO. 50 >

(1) To the extent that a prearrangement contract calls for the furnishing of services and/or the delivery of merchandise, the contract must be fully performed by the cemetery authority with which it was made, in accordance with its terms, before any withdrawals of moneys from the prearrangement trust fund provided for in RCW 68.46.030 can be made. (2) When an endowment care cemetery accepts a reservation for a burial plot with no requirement on the part of the beneficiary to make any payments until actual interment, and where the beneficiary is not obligated to utilize the reservation, the cemetery authority is not required to make any payments into its endowment care fund under RCW 68.40.010.