In re Estate of Rathbone (Majority)Annotate this Case
This case involved the issue of whether and to what extent superior courts have authority to intervene in the administration of nonintervention estates. Todd Rathbone was named personal representative of his mother's estate in her nonintervention will. Glen Rathbone, Todd's' brother and beneficiary of the will, took issue with Todd's administration of the estate and filed a petition requesting an accountancy under RCW 11.68.110. He then filed an action under chapter 11.96A RCW, the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA), requesting the trial court construe the will in his favor. The trial court held it had the authority to construe the will under RCW 11.68.070 and, in the alternative, TEDRA itself gave the trial court authority to construe the will. The court ruled in favor of Glen's construction of the will and overrode the interpretation of Todd. The Court of Appeals affirmed that the trial court had authority to construe the will but on the separate basis that Glen had invoked authority under RCW 11.68.110 when he filed his petition for an accounting. The Washington Supreme Court reversed, holding the statutory provisions under TEDRA did not give the trial court authority to construe the will in this case. Furthermore, the Court held the authority invoked under the nonintervention statutes, such as RCW 11.68.110 and .070, was limited to resolving issues provided under each statute.