beneficiaries reflects the decedent’s in-
tentions. The validity of the testamenta-
ry documents is another factor that can
change the outcome of cases. Division I
did not explicitly address the testamen-
tary capacity or undue influence issues,
which had been decided by the trial
court. In this case, the trial court upheld
the decedent’s will that his son drafted.
If the decedent’s will had not been up-
held, the result would have been very
different, because the property would
have passed under a prior valid will or
by the laws of intestacy.
The Division I case has significance
for both litigation and transactional attorneys. It underscores the importance
of carefully and thoroughly drafting
estate-planning documents to properly
reflect the decedent’s intent. An estate
planning attorney’s determination
that a person has testamentary capacity is critical to upholding the validity
of a will. Drafting testamentary docu-
>> Revocable Living Trusts
>> Irrevocable and Testamentary Trusts
>> Special Needs and Settlement Trusts
>> Probate Management
>> Asset Consolidation and Valuation
>> Tax Reporting
Wealth Management Services
>> Investment Management Accounts
>> IRA Rollovers and Inherited IRA’s
>> Retirement Planning
We are a full-service wealth management team making life
simpler for many individuals and families across the Puget
Sound region, and we can do the same for your clients.
BECU Trust Services is a trade name used by MEMBERS® Trust Company under license
from BECU. Trust services are provided by MEMBERS® Trust Company, a federal thrift
regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Trust products not federally
insured, not subject to credit union or affiliate guarantee, and may lose value.
BECU Trust Services Team
Making Life Simpler
Contact Us Today
206-812-5176 or email us
ments to provide for the disposition of
property based upon certain express
contingencies will ensure that the tes-
tator’s intent is clearly known and will
be adhered to in the disposition of the
estate’s property. If a testator wants a
bequest to be conditioned on the ben-
eficiary’s survival of the testator, the
use of words of survivorship can play
an important role in expressing this
intent. Even if estate litigation arises,
well-drafted estate-planning docu-
ments can assist the court in readily
ascertaining the intent of the decedent.
In light of Division I’s decision on
this issue of first impression of the re-
lationship between the Slayer Statute
and the Anti-Lapse Statute, it will be in-
teresting to see how Washington laws
and policy protecting vulnerable indi-
viduals against financial exploitation
develop further. NWL
Jessica Stevenson practices commercial litigation at Tousley Brain
Stephens PLLC. She can be reached
1. Laws of 1999, ch. 176, § 3.
2. RCW 74.34.
3. Laws of 2009, ch. 525.
4. RCW 11.84.
5. RCW 11. 12.110.
6. The Court of Appeals decision consolidated
two cases, In the Matter of the Estate of Calvin H. Evans Sr., and Sharon Eaden v. Estate
of Calvin H. Evans Sr., ___ Wn. App. ___ ,
326 P.3d 755 (2014).
7. RCW 11.84.020.
8. RCW 11.84.010( 1).
9. RCW 11.84.030.
10. In re Estate of Niehenke, 117 Wn.2d 631, 638,
818 P.2d 1324 (1991).
11. RCW 11.96A.
12. The case included an issue about attorney’s
fees under TEDRA, but that issue is not covered in this article.