How Does a Spousal Consent Form Work?
Spousal consent forms are enacted to prevent the spouse from violating the terms of an agreement. An example would be transferring stock shares, real estate lending or beneficiary designation on retirement accounts. The form provides clarity on how to administer assets and/or designate interest upon death, divorce or separation. This form may be a requirement of a financial institution, employer or the state. This document must be dated and notarized by the spouse.
Spousal Consent Witness
While typically notarized in person, the spousal consent form can (in some states) be witnessed remotely. This is known as remote online notarization. This allows a notary public to utilize electronic signatures to sign documents and an electronic seal to certify that it was notarized. It utilizes technology to complete a notarial act when all parties are not able to be present in the same location. This has become a fast-growing and convenient way for documents to get notarized. Accelerated by COVID, many local governments have embraced this platform. However, not all states allow this type of notarization. As more states are passing laws authorizing these types of notarizations the practice is becoming more widespread.
Spousal Consent Forms
The IRS is proposing that remote witnessing of spousal consent forms become a permanent regulatory practice. This was not the case prior to Covid and was allowed as a temporary contingency to avoid gaps in paperwork. The proposed regulations recognize that remote witnessing options are valuable tools for participants while balancing concerns about authenticating spousal signatures. The ability to witness remotely gives flexibility to plan participants and their spouses and may save them time and money. Also, it affords consideration of those with situations where mobility limitations, health concerns, or geographic distance make in-person witnessing a challenge. Keep in mind that state remote notarization laws are ever-changing. Check your state law requirements.
When it comes to property there is a difference with spousal consent forms depending on if you live in a community property state or a spousal state. If you are a married homeowner and the only person on a mortgage in a spousal state, your spouse has to consent to knowledge of any loans. While not financially obligated, they are simply acknowledging that a new mortgage is being taken out against the property. In a community property state, the difference is that they are also financially obligated.
Spousal consent forms are needed for various documents and can be required for various purposes. The form is typically used for asset designation and real estate properties. The form must be notarized and depending on your state this can happen by various means. Normally, the consent form is dictated by your financial institution or lender. These are legal forms and should be carefully reviewed.
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