Monday, August 11, 2014
In a recent case out of Washington State, the Court of Appeals held that the state’s anti-lapse statute applies to constructive death of beneficiary. Washington law disqualifies a person who financially abuses a “vulnerable adult” from taking under that person’s will or by intestate succession. Upon finding that the decedent’s child was an abuser, the trial court held that the anti-lapse statute applied and the child’s children took the gift to the child. On appeal by other beneficiaries of the will, the intermediate appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision in a thorough opinion discussing the history of the disqualification statute and its relationship to the anti-lapse statute. The court also found that the will did not exhibit a “clear intent” by the testator to override the anti-lapse statute. In re Estate of Evans, 326 P.3d 755 (Wash. Ct. App. 2014).
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.