The Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act establishes the process Washington uses to resolve estate and trust conflicts. The state strives to mediate these issues outside of court.
Understanding the key tenets of TEDRA can help inform your estate plan or guide the next steps when you have a dispute about a family member’s estate.
Issues resolved by TEDRA
Some of the estate and trust situations that fall under TEDRA jurisdiction include the following:
- A person dies without a will and family members disagree about intestate succession
- Suspicion of invalid asset transfers
- Estate claims by a creditor or third party
- Estate claims by a survivor left out of a will
- Questions about whether a will exists or is valid
- Questions about the deceased person’s competence when making or changing a will.
TEDRA does not apply to probate matters.
The TEDRA process
TEDRA helps settle trust and estate disputes outside of court. Participants involved in this type of conflict can negotiate an independent agreement, undergo mediation or attend an arbitration. With mediation, a neutral party facilitates the negotiation process between the parties. During arbitration, a private judge hears each participant’s case and makes a decision.
The process begins when someone files a Washington state TEDRA petition, which names other parties to the dispute. These parties will receive official legal service and have a chance to respond. The court may appoint representatives to act on behalf of children and others who cannot participate independently.
Carefully weighing each option can help ensure TEDRA negotiations that serve the needs of all involved parties.