Modifying Wills Or Trusts Post-Mortem With TEDRA Agreements And A Probate Lawyer
Although the provisions of a Will, a formerly revocable trust or a non-probate asset may generally not be modified after the decedent has died, Washington law provides an alternative dispute resolution that is sometimes very useful. The Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA) in Chapter 11.96A RCW provides for a method of modifying the provisions of Wills and trust agreements by unanimous agreement of all interested persons without necessarily involving the court. An example of when this is commonly used is if a Will mandates part or all of the assets of the first spouse or registered domestic partner to die’s estate be held in trust for the surviving spouse or partner for life. Usually this structure is used to save estate taxes. It comes with certain expenses and some complexity. If the original reason for the design no longer applies because the estate tax law has changed or the value of the estate has gone down, the interested persons may choose to enter into a unanimous written agreement eliminating the need for the testamentary trust. The agreement can be kept private or, if it is filed with court, it assumes the authority of a court order. For more information, contact a probate lawyer from Puget Sound Probates here in Bellevue, WA.