Washington Law Review


In 1960, two events occurred which illustrate current disenchantment with Washington probate law and highlight the need for reformation and modernization. In that year the voters of this state overwhelmingly adopted an Initiative providing for joint tenancy, despite counsel from the bar that "the initiative is dangerous and that if adopted... will bring back a state of chaos and disrupt the operation of our modern and progressive community property laws." The concern from which this legislation issued was indicated in the Initiative's opening clause, "[J]oint tenancy with right of survivorship permits property to pass to the survivor without the cost or delay of probate proceedings...." What has resulted is a major overhaul of the Washington Probate Code which deserves careful scrutiny and considered analysis. The following is a discussion of the most important alterations and innovations, in terms of the changes recommended by the Committee and the need for and effect of such change.

First Page