What’s In A Name Under The Washington State Uniform Commercial Code? – Update
Posted Feb 27, 2014
By Washington State Business and Real Estate Lawyer Per E. Oscarsson
In 2011, the state of Washington adopted amendments to the secured transactions provisions of its Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). These amendments were to become effective on July 1, 2013. One of the amendments dealt with identifying individual persons on financing statements filed with the Washington Department of Licensing.
When the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws proposed amendments for identifying individual persons, it provided two alternatives. Under the first alternative, the financing statement sufficiently identifies an individual debtor only if it provides the name of the individual as it appears on the individual’s unexpired driver’s license issued by the state where the financing statement will be filed. If the individual does not have such a driver’s license, the individual debtor’s surname (last name) and first personal name may be used. Most states that have adopted the proposed amendments adopted this alternative. The second alternative permits the use of the individual’s name if sufficient under current law, the surname and first personal name of the debtor, or the debtor’s name as indicated on an unexpired driver’s license as provided in the first alternative. The state of Washington was one of six states, at the time of the 2011 amendments, to adopt the second alternative.
However, when amending a different area of the UCC less than two months before the 2011 amendments were to become effective, the Washington legislature changed from the second alternative to the first alternative. This change became effective July 1, 2013. As a result, the second alternative never became the law in the state of Washington. Consequently, in Washington, if the debtor is an individual to whom the state of Washington has issued a driver’s license or identification card that has not expired, the financing statement sufficiently identifies the individual if the financing statement provides the name of the individual as indicated on the driver’s license or identification card. If the state of Washington has issued an individual more than one driver’s license or identification card, the one that was most recently issued is the one to which the statute refers. If the individual does not have such a driver’s license or identification card, the financing statement must provide the individual name of the debtor or the surname (last name) and first personal name of the debtor.
This change in the law does not necessarily make things “easy” because the state of Washington has different forms of driver’s license and identification cards, such as the standard license, enhanced licenses, and commercial licenses, and they can include different formats depending upon when the license was issued. The format may not make the individual’s name (at least for UCC financing statement purposes) as clear as one might think.
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