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Trust and Estate Litigation: What You Need to Know About the Washington Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA)

Adrienne final-min

Washington state's trust and estate litigation can be challenging to navigate and understand. We consulted our own Adrienne McEntee for help. Adrienne has been a member at Terrell Marshall Law Group since 2014 and has significant experience in class actions, real estate and commercial matters, and TEDRA litigation.

Q: What is TEDRA?

Washington adopted the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA) in 2000 to provide more expedient nonjudicial options for resolving trust and estate issues. These alternate methods include mediation, arbitration, and agreements created by the parties. If these alternate dispute methods are unsuccessful, TEDRA allows the parties to pursue their claims in a traditional court proceeding. TEDRA provides a specific framework for dealing with disputes concerning wills, intestate estates, and trusts in Washington.

Q: When is it worthwhile to contact a TEDRA litigator?

TEDRA applies to those in a trust or estate dispute. Disputes may relate to the following:

  • the meaning of terms of a will, trust, community property agreement, or other writing;
  • the capacity of the person who made a will or trust;
  • allegations that someone who died was unduly influenced into making or changing a will or trust;
  • the manner by which assets are distributed when there is no will or trust; the status of a person as an heir or beneficiary, including but not limited to a surviving spouse or child not mentioned in a will;
  • the administration of an estate or trust, including the determination of whether a personal representative or trustee should be ordered to do something, be ordered to stop doing something, be removed from his or her position, and/or third party claims against an estate or the rights of creditors of an estate.

When a trust or estate dispute arises, you may consult with a TEDRA attorney to explore different approaches to dispute resolution. Under TEDRA, if all interested parties enter into a written agreement resolving the dispute, the agreement is equivalent to a final court order and is considered binding on all parties.

Q: What are some of the benefits of litigating estate disputes through TEDRA?

TEDRA favors settlement over trial, which means that resolving disputes is generally a faster, less costly process than would occur in a traditional civil matter.

Q: How can one access justice under TEDRA?

Individuals facing disputes over matters in the trust and estate context can work with an experienced TEDRA attorney to file a TEDRA petition, respond to a TEDRA petition, or seek to avoid litigation altogether through mediation. Our TEDRA team has experience helping clients resolve disputes and in achieving their goals in an efficient manner. In addition, our attorneys have significant trial experience and can assist you in the event that settlement is not possible.

Q: What are some cases that you have litigated?

  • I represented the beneficiary of an education trust in a dispute with the trustee over its refusal to distribute education-related funds to my client, eventually settling at mediation.
  • I represented the surviving spouse of a decedent in a dispute with her brother-in-law after the Department of Retirement Services notified her that her deceased husband’s estranged brother was the named beneficiary of decedent’s retirement plan, eventually settling at mediation.
  • I represented a trustee in litigation initiated by her sister to challenge amounts their deceased mother left to the trustee’s children, eventually settling at mediation.
  • I represented a vulnerable adult in an action against her son who was accused of having misappropriated nearly half a million dollars from her, eventually settling at mediation.

Q: Where can I learn more about Washington State TEDRA?

See Chapter11.96a RCW here:

To arrange a time to speak with a TEDRA attorney, email us at or call us at 206-816-6603.