You know what term I like? "Super Will." In 1998, Washington became the first state to pass a "Super Will" law (technically the Testamentary Disposition of Nonprobate Assets Act, RCW Chap. 11.11). Washington's "Super Will" law allows you to make provisions in your Will that govern the beneficiaries of nonprobate assets. Previously-designated beneficiaries of nonprobate assets may be overridden by the provisions naming beneficiaries in your Will, if the Will expressly describes the nonprobate assets at issue.

To effect control of a nonprobate asset with a Super Will, a Personal Representative must notify the financial institution holding nonprobate assets, the nonprobate beneficiaries, and the testamentary beneficiaries in the form provided in the statute. Without such notice, the financial institution holding the nonprobate asset may rely on the form of the nonprobate asset and its beneficiary designations.

If a nonprobate beneficiary receives a nonprobate asset to which he is not entitled because of a Super Will's provisions, the testamentary beneficiary or Personal Representative may petition the court for control of the asset. Where a financial institution holding a nonprobate asset is aware of a dispute contesting right to the nonprobate funds, the financial institution may hold the nonprobate asset until it receives an Order from the court or an agreed consent of all nonprobate and testamentary beneficiaries. The financial institution may also require a bond from the person to whom it makes transfer of the nonprobate asset in twice the amount of the asset's value.

This is complex, I know, but Super Wills can be a pretty cool estate planning tool, depending on the client's particular circumstance. If you have questions about Super Wills, or any other aspect of estate planning, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can be of service.