Distributing the assets of a deceased loved one can be difficult. Disputes can arise with even the most well-crafted will or trust, resulting in costly court battles among beneficiaries that can last years and split families apart. To make these disputes less contentious and easier to resolve, Washington lawmakers passed the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act, also known as TEDRA.
TEDRA allows interested parties to an estate to settle probate disputes through mediation or arbitration through legally binding written agreements. The stated purpose of TEDRA is to provide a binding nonjudicial procedure to resolve matters through these agreements. Any interested party can file a petition in court to begin the process of obtaining a TEDRA agreement.
This agreement can be used for almost any dispute that may come up during estate or trust administration. Some of the disputes that can be resolved with a TEDRA agreement include:
- Intestate succession disputes
- Competency of the deceased when the will or trust was written
- Validity of a will, trust or other testamentary instrument
- Third-party claims against an estate
- Validity of pre-death transfer of assets
- Issues with a personal representative or trustee
- Claims of a surviving child not named in a will
Once the TEDRA petition is filed, mediation or arbitration will be scheduled for all interested parties, who will meet with a neutral third party to try to resolve the dispute. If this meeting is successful, a written agreement will be drawn up, signed by all parties and filed with the court. Any party entering a TEDRA agreement should consult with a skilled probate attorney prior to signing it. Once the TEDRA agreement is filed, the court will issue an order binding all parties to its terms.
Probate disputes can be difficult without experienced and knowledgeable counsel to advocate on your behalf. If you or a loved one is in need of counsel, Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C. in Tacoma can help. We provide capable representation for both beneficiaries and fiduciaries. Call us at 253-272-5653 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.