D was appointed administratrix of the estate of her husband who died intestate in 1943. Notice of the probate proceedings was given by publication as provided in RCW 11.76.040 [RRS § 1532; PPC § 192-17]. P, a daughter of deceased by a former marriage, was not given personal notice of the probate proceedings, or of the final decree. However, she learned of the death within a few hours, and of the decree of distribution a few months after it was entered. The final decree was entered in 1944, awarding the entire estate to D as sole heir at law. This action was brought in 1948 as a collateral attack upon the probate decree, P alleging that D was guilty of extrinsic fraud. There was conflicting testimony as to whether D knew that P was a daughter of deceased. The trial court found that D did not know that P was a daughter of deceased and ruled for D. Held: Reversed. The Supreme Court found extrinsic fraud in obtaining the probate degee because D knew of P's claim, and by failing to give personal notice of the proceedings she prevented P from presenting such claim in court. D was declared constructive trustee for P of one-half of the estate. Francon v. Cox, 38 Wn. 2d 530, 231 P. 2d 265 (1951).
William L. Williams,
Probate Decrees—Extrinsic Fraud—Personal Notice of Proceedings,
27 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol27/iss2/13