Attorneys Susan Caulkins and Ingrid McLeod prevail at the Washington State Supreme Court in a case refining the analysis of a court’s authority to adjudicate will contests: In re Estate of Jepsen, No. 90874-5, dated September 24, 2015.
Writing for the majority, Justice Mary Yu held that a will contest petitioner must comply with the strict statutory requirements in RCW 11.24.010 in order to commence a will contest action. These requirements include both timely filing the will contest petition with the court and personally serving the petition on the estate’s personal representative. Justice Yu further held that, in RCW 11.24.010, the legislature enacted reasonable statutory prerequisites to a court’s exercise of its constitutional subject matter jurisdiction over probate matters. Thus, absent a petitioner’s full compliance with the statutory prerequisites of RCW 11.24.010, Washington courts lack authority to consider will contest actions.