Washington Law Review


During the 1998 session, the Washington legislature added a provision to Title 11 of the Revised Code of Washington that allows for testamentary disposition of certain nonprobate assets. Although Washington's superwill provision is a pioneer in the field of probate and trust law, it is too limited in its scope to achieve filly its stated purpose. One of the statute's stated purposes is to enhance the testator's control over the disposition of nonprobate property. However, the provision limits the definition of "nonprobate asset" to include only joint tenant bank accounts with right of survivorship and revocable living trusts. This Comment argues that Washington took a bold step in the right direction by adopting its superwill statute, but cut that step short by failing to draft the provision to include all revocable nonprobate assets. This Comment proposes that the legislature expand the scope of the statute by redefining the term "nonprobate asset" to include all traditional revocable nonprobate devices. By permitting testamentary disposition of all revocable nonprobate devices, the state will provide a tool whereby the testator can better effectuate his or her intent.

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