What Is The Super Will Provision In Washington State?

Posted: Mar 27, 2019

By: Washington State Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Per E. Oscarsson

A person’s Will does not usually deal with “non-probate assets.”  Non-probate assets are the rights and interests of a person in an asset that pass on the person’s death under a written instrument or arrangement other than the person’s Will.  Examples include property owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship, payable-on-death bank accounts, and transfer-on-death securities or security accounts.  There are numerous other examples.  For a payable on death bank account, the person to receive the funds in the account upon the owner’s death is identified in the forms creating or modifying the account.  As a result, such assets are not included in the probate estate and, often, the personal representative of the estate does not have control over such assets.

For certain types of non-probate assets, Washington law allows the owner of the asset to change the beneficiary of the asset upon the owner’s death without changing the written instrument or arrangement that otherwise governs the asset.  Subject to the community property rights of the owner’s spouse, the owner can do this by including a “super will” provision in their Will.  The owner can identify the non-probate asset or category of non-probate asset in their Will and name beneficiaries in the Will to receive that asset even if the beneficiaries named in the Will are not the same beneficiary or beneficiaries named in the written instrument or arrangement that otherwise governs the asset.  However, this only works for certain types of non-probate assets and it only works for such non-probate assets when the beneficiary is designated in the written instrument or arrangement before the date of the Will.  If the Will is signed before the beneficiary is designated in the written instrument or arrangement that otherwise governs the asset, the Will provision will not govern the disposition of that asset.  Use of a super will provision may or may not be appropriate depending upon the estate planning that may have been done before the Will is prepared and the owner’s goals for a comprehensive estate plan.

If you need assistance with your estate planning, contact Per E. Oscarsson or one of the other attorneys in Beresford Booth’s Estate Planning and Probate Group.

Beresford Booth PLLC (425.776.4100), www.beresfordlaw.com.

BERESFORD BOOTH PLLC has made this content available to the general public for informational purposes only. The information on this site is not intended to convey legal opinions or legal advice.

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