Washington Intestacy Laws

The following are excerpts from Washington’s intestacy laws. Please reference the full body of the Revised Code of Washington for any changes to those laws that may not be reflected below.

WASHINGTON INTESTACY EVALUATOR℠

You can also open the Washington Intestacy Evaluator℠ to see the distribution of a Washington intestate estate based upon any person’s unique family and financial circumstances.

Washington Intestate Laws

Title 11. Probate and Trust Law

11.02.005
Definitions and use of terms.
When used in this title, unless otherwise required from the context:
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.

11.02.070
Community property—Disposition—Probate administration of.
Except as provided in RCW 41.04.273 and 11.84.025, upon the death of a decedent, a one-half share of the community property shall be confirmed to the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner, and the other one-half share shall be subject to testamentary disposition by the decedent, or shall descend as provided in chapter 11.04 RCW. The whole of the community property shall be subject to probate administration for all purposes of this title, including the payment of obligations and debts of the community, the award in lieu of homestead, the allowance for family support, and any other matter for which the community property would be responsible or liable if the decedent were living.

11.04.015
Descent and distribution of real and personal estate.
The net estate of a person dying intestate, or that portion thereof with respect to which the person shall have died intestate, shall descend subject to the provisions of RCW 11.04.250 and 11.02.070, and shall be distributed as follows:
(1) Share of surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner. The surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner shall receive the following share:
(a) All of the decedent’s share of the net community estate; and
(b) One-half of the net separate estate if the intestate is survived by issue; or
(c) Three-quarters of the net separate estate if there is no surviving issue, but the intestate is survived by one or more of his or her parents, or by one or more of the issue of one or more of his or her parents; or
(d) All of the net separate estate, if there is no surviving issue nor parent nor issue of parent.
(2) Shares of others than surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner. The share of the net estate not distributable to the surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner, shall descend and be distributed as follows:
(a) To the issue of the intestate; if they are all in the same degree of kinship to the intestate, they shall take equally, or if of unequal degree, then those of more remote degree shall take by representation.
(b) If the intestate not be survived by issue, then to the parent or parents who survive the intestate.
(c) If the intestate not be survived by issue or by either parent, then to those issue of the parent or parents who survive the intestate; if they are all in the same degree of kinship to the intestate, they shall take equally, or, if of unequal degree, then those of more remote degree shall take by representation.
(d) If the intestate not be survived by issue or by either parent, or by any issue of the parent or parents who survive the intestate, then to the grandparent or grandparents who survive the intestate; if both maternal and paternal grandparents survive the intestate, the maternal grandparent or grandparents shall take one-half and the paternal grandparent or grandparents shall take one-half.
(e) If the intestate not be survived by issue or by either parent, or by any issue of the parent or parents or by any grandparent or grandparents, then to those issue of any grandparent or grandparents who survive the intestate; taken as a group, the issue of the maternal grandparent or grandparents shall share equally with the issue of the paternal grandparent or grandparents, also taken as a group; within each such group, all members share equally if they are all in the same degree of kinship to the intestate, or, if some be of unequal degree, then those of more remote degree shall take by representation.





11.04.035
Kindred of the half blood.
Kindred of the half blood shall inherit the same share which they would have inherited if they had been of the whole blood, unless the inheritance comes to the intestate by descent, devise, or gift from one of his or her ancestors, or kindred of such ancestor’s blood, in which case all those who are not of the blood of such ancestors shall be excluded from such inheritance: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That the words “kindred of such ancestor’s blood” and “blood of such ancestors” shall be construed to include any child lawfully adopted by one who is in fact of the blood of such ancestors.

11.04.081
Inheritance by and from any child not dependent upon marriage of parents.
For the purpose of inheritance to, through, and from any child, the effects and treatment of the parent-child relationship shall not depend upon whether or not the parents have been married.

11.04.085
Inheritance by adopted child.
A lawfully adopted child shall not be considered an “heir” of his or her natural parents for purposes of this title.

11.04.095
Inheritance from stepparent avoids escheat.
If a person dies leaving a surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner and issue by a former spouse or former domestic partner and leaving a will whereby all or substantially all of the deceased’s property passes to the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner or having before death conveyed all or substantially all his or her property to the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner, and afterwards the latter dies without heirs and without disposing of his or her property by will so that except for this section the same would all escheat, the issue of the spouse or domestic partner first deceased who survive the spouse or domestic partner last deceased shall take and inherit from the spouse or domestic partner last deceased the property so acquired by will or conveyance or the equivalent thereof in money or other property; if such issue are all in the same degree of kinship to the spouse or domestic partner first deceased they shall take equally, or, if of unequal degree, then those of more remote degree shall take by representation with respect to such spouse or such domestic partner first deceased.