When used in this title, unless otherwise required from the context:

Terms Used In Washington Code 11.02.005

  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Fee simple: Absolute title to property with no limitations or restrictions regarding the person who may inherit it.
  • Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
  • Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
  • Joint tenancy: A form of property ownership in which two or more parties hold an undivided interest in the same property that was conveyed under the same instrument at the same time. A joint tenant can sell his (her) interest but not dispose of it by will. Upon the death of a joint tenant, his (her) undivided interest is distributed among the surviving joint tenants.
  • Lineal descendant: Direct descendant of the same ancestors.
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • person: may be construed to include the United States, this state, or any state or territory, or any public or private corporation or limited liability company, as well as an individual. See Washington Code 1.16.080
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Right of survivorship: The ownership rights that result in the acquisition of title to property by reason of having survived other co-owners.
  • Testator: A male person who leaves a will at death.
(1) “Administrator” means a personal representative of the estate of a decedent and the term may be used in lieu of “personal representative” wherever required by context.
(2) “Codicil” means a will that modifies or partially revokes an existing earlier will. A codicil need not refer to or be attached to the earlier will.
(3) “Degree of kinship” means the degree of kinship as computed according to the rules of the civil law; that is, by counting upward from the intestate to the nearest common ancestor and then downward to the relative, the degree of kinship being the sum of these two counts.
(4) “Executor” means a personal representative of the estate of a decedent appointed by will and the term may be used in lieu of “personal representative” wherever required by context.
(5) “Guardian” or “limited guardian” means a personal representative of the person or estate of an incompetent or disabled person as defined in RCW 11.88.010 and the term may be used in lieu of “personal representative” wherever required by context.
(6) “Heirs” denotes those persons, including the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the real and personal property of a decedent on the decedent’s death intestate.
(7) “Internal revenue code” means the United States internal revenue code of 1986, as amended or renumbered as of January 1, 2001.
(8) “Issue” means all the lineal descendants of an individual. An adopted individual is a lineal descendant of each of his or her adoptive parents and of all individuals with regard to which each adoptive parent is a lineal descendant. A child conceived prior to the death of a parent but born after the death of the deceased parent is considered to be the surviving issue of the deceased parent for purposes of this title.
(9) “Net estate” refers to the real and personal property of a decedent exclusive of homestead rights, exempt property, the family allowance and enforceable claims against, and debts of, the deceased or the estate.
(10) “Nonprobate asset” means those rights and interests of a person having beneficial ownership of an asset that pass on the person’s death under a written instrument or arrangement other than the person’s will. “Nonprobate asset” includes, but is not limited to, a right or interest passing under a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, joint bank account with right of survivorship, transfer on death deed, payable on death or trust bank account, transfer on death security or security account, deed or conveyance if possession has been postponed until the death of the person, trust of which the person is grantor and that becomes effective or irrevocable only upon the person’s death, community property agreement, individual retirement account or bond, or note or other contract the payment or performance of which is affected by the death of the person. “Nonprobate asset” does not include: A payable-on-death provision of a life insurance policy, annuity, or other similar contract, or of an employee benefit plan; a right or interest passing by descent and distribution under chapter 11.04 RCW; a right or interest if, before death, the person has irrevocably transferred the right or interest, the person has waived the power to transfer it or, in the case of contractual arrangement, the person has waived the unilateral right to rescind or modify the arrangement; or a right or interest held by the person solely in a fiduciary capacity. For the definition of “nonprobate asset” relating to revocation of a provision for a former spouse upon dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage, RCW 11.07.010(5) applies. For the definition of “nonprobate asset” relating to testamentary disposition of nonprobate assets, see RCW 11.11.010(7).
(11) “Personal representative” includes executor, administrator, special administrator, and guardian or limited guardian and special representative.
(12) “Real estate” includes, except as otherwise specifically provided herein, all lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and all rights thereto, and all interest therein possessed and claimed in fee simple, or for the life of a third person.
(13) “Representation” refers to a method of determining distribution in which the takers are in unequal degrees of kinship with respect to a decedent, and is accomplished as follows: After first determining who, of those entitled to share in the estate, are in the nearest degree of kinship, the estate is divided into equal shares, the number of shares being the sum of the number of persons who survive the decedent who are in the nearest degree of kinship and the number of persons in the same degree of kinship who died before the decedent but who left issue surviving the decedent; each share of a deceased person in the nearest degree must be divided among those of the deceased person’s issue who survive the decedent and have no ancestor then living who is in the line of relationship between them and the decedent, those more remote in degree taking together the share which their ancestor would have taken had he or she survived the decedent.
(14) References to “section 2033A” of the internal revenue code in wills, trust agreements, powers of appointment, beneficiary designations, and other instruments governed by or subject to this title are deemed to refer to the comparable or corresponding provisions of section 2057 of the internal revenue code, as added by section 6006(b) of the internal revenue service restructuring act of 1998 (H.R. 2676, P.L. 105-206); and references to the section 2033A “exclusion” are deemed to mean the section 2057 deduction.
(15) “Settlor” has the same meaning as provided for “trustor” in this section.
(16) “Special administrator” means a personal representative of the estate of a decedent appointed for limited purposes and the term may be used in lieu of “personal representative” wherever required by context.
(17) “Surviving spouse” or “surviving domestic partner” does not include an individual whose marriage to or state registered domestic partnership with the decedent has been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated unless, by virtue of a subsequent marriage or state registered domestic partnership, he or she is married to or in a domestic partnership with the decedent at the time of death. A decree of separation that does not terminate the status of spouses or domestic partners is not a dissolution or invalidation for purposes of this subsection.
(18) “Trustee” means an original, added, or successor trustee and includes the state, or any agency thereof, when it is acting as the trustee of a trust to which chapter 11.98 RCW applies.
(19) “Trustor” means a person, including a testator, who creates, or contributes property to, a trust.
(20) “Will” means an instrument validly executed as required by RCW 11.12.020.
Words that import the singular number may also be applied to the plural of persons and things.
Words importing the masculine gender only may be extended to females also.


Explanatory statement2018 c 22: See note following RCW 1.20.051.
Uniformity of application and constructionRelation to electronic signatures in global and national commerce act2014 c 58: See RCW 64.80.903 and 64.80.904.
ApplicationEffective date2011 c 327: See notes following RCW 11.103.020.
Part headings not lawSeverability2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.
Effective date2001 c 320: “This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect July 1, 2001.” [ 2001 c 320 § 22.]
Application2000 c 130: “Section 1 of this act applies to decedents dying after December 31, 1997.” [ 2000 c 130 § 2.]
Effective date1999 c 358 §§ 1 and 3-21: See note following RCW 82.04.3651.
Effective dates1998 c 292: See RCW 11.11.903.
Application1997 c 252: “Sections 1 through 72, chapter 252, Laws of 1997 apply to estates of decedents dying after December 31, 1997. Sections 81 through 86, chapter 252, Laws of 1997 apply to all estates, trusts, and governing instruments in existence on or at any time after March 7, 1984, and to all proceedings with respect thereto after March 7, 1984, whether the proceedings commenced before or after March 7, 1984, and including distributions made after March 7, 1984. Sections 81 through 86, chapter 252, Laws of 1997 do not apply to any governing instrument, the terms of which expressly or by necessary implication make the application of sections 81 through 86, chapter 252, Laws of 1997 inapplicable. The judicial and nonjudicial dispute resolution procedures of chapter 11.96 RCW apply to sections 81 through 86, chapter 252, Laws of 1997.” [ 1998 c 292 § 205; 1997 c 252 § 89.]
Effective dates1994 c 221: See note following RCW 11.100.035.
Short titleApplicationPurposeSeverability1985 c 30:See RCW 11.02.900 through 11.02.903.
Severability1984 c 149: “If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.” [ 1984 c 149 § 181.]
Effective dates1984 c 149: “This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [March 7, 1984], except sections 1 through 98, 100 through 138, and 147 through 178 of this act which shall take effect January 1, 1985.” [ 1984 c 149 § 180.]
PurposeIntentSeverability1977 ex.s. c 80: See notes following RCW 4.16.190.
Effect of decree of adoption: RCW 26.33.260.
Kindred of the half blood: RCW 11.04.035.