Equality Texas Director Chuck Smith today congratulated Fidelity National Title Group, and it’s parent company Fidelity National Financial for its progressive stance on the community property rights of same-sex married couples. Says Mr. Smith “It has come to our attention today, that Fidelity National Title Group is the first national underwriter to set an underwriting policy that treats all marriages equally, irrespective of when the gay couple was married. We wish to congratulate Fidelity National Title Group for doing the right things to protect the property rights of same-sex married couples, especially ones who die without a will.”
Other national title underwriters have continued unequivocally to refuse community property rights of gay couples who were married prior to the historic Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015. Undeniably, at least one other national underwriter has stated that they would not honor the community property rights of same-sex couples married before the ruling and would treat surviving spouses of such marriages differently than that of an opposite-sex couple in cases of intestacy (death without a will).
Chuck Smith further stated that “This unequal treatment by other title insurance underwriters of the community property rights for a gay or lesbian spouse who had died without a will could force the surviving spouse who would inherit the couple’s home to have to go and get other family member’s permission to sell the couple’s home. With that power over the sale, the surviving spouse could be forced to share the sales proceeds of the home with estranged family members, and possibly with other people who may have been hostile to the couple.”
Smith called for all other title insurance companies to follow the lead of Fidelity National Title Group. “When a spouse in a same-sex relationship dies without a will, the last thing the grieving spouse will want to do is have to fight to retain their home or fight for permission to sell their jointly owned home. We hope other title insurance companies will reverse their unequal and discriminatory policies on this matter and follow the lead of Fidelity.”