Washington Law Review


Tom Graafstra


A new section of the Revised Code of Washington, effective October 1, 1974, has the potential for making probate the exception in Washington rather than the rule. The statute, R.C.W. § 11.02.090, characterizes as nontestamentary certain provisions in a variety of written instruments and enables property to pass at death without compliance with the statute of wills. It may extend the concept of probate-avoidance, best exemplified by the community property agreement, to a broader range of circumstances than under prior Washington case law. Although this section makes the Washington law on probate-avoiding instruments clearer and more consistent, as it was designed to do, problems will be encountered in its use: These problems and ways of overcoming them will be discussed in this note. It will be shown that further legislative action is needed before the full scope of R.C.W. § 11.02.090's provisions can be utilized.

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