2022 Revised Code of Washington
Title 11 - Probate and Trust Law
Chapter 11.98 - Trusts.
11.98.110 - Contract and tort liability.

RCW 11.98.110

Contract and tort liability.

As used in this section, a trust includes a probate estate, and a trustee includes a personal representative. The words "trustee" and "as trustee" mean "personal representative" and "as personal representative" where this section is being construed in regard to personal representatives.

Actions on contracts which have been transferred to a trust and on contracts made by a trustee, and actions in tort for personal liability incurred by a trustee in the course of administration may be maintained by the party in whose favor the cause of action has accrued as follows:

(1) The plaintiff may sue the trustee in the trustee's representative capacity and any judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff is collectible by execution out of the trust property: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, If the action is in tort, collection shall not be had from the trust property unless the court determines in the action that (a) the tort was a common incident of the kind of business activity in which the trustee or the trustee's predecessor was properly engaged for the trust; or (b) that, although the tort was not a common incident of such activity, neither the trustee nor the trustee's predecessor, nor any officer or employee of the trustee or the trustee's predecessor, was guilty of personal fault in incurring the liability; or (c) that, although the tort did not fall within classes (a) or (b) above, it increased the value of the trust property. If the tort is within classes (a) or (b) above, collection may be had of the full amount of damage proved, and if the tort is within class (c) above, collection may be had only to the extent of the increase in the value of the trust property.

(2) If the action is on a contract made by the trustee, the trustee may be held personally liable on the contract, if personal liability is not excluded. Either the addition by the trustee of the words "trustee" or "as trustee" after the signature of a trustee to a contract or the transaction of business as trustee under an assumed name in compliance with chapter 19.80 RCW excludes the trustee from personal liability. If the action is on a contract transferred to the trust or trustee, subject to any rights therein vested at time of the transfer, the trustee is personally liable only if he or she has in writing assumed that liability.

(3) In any such action against the trustee in the trustee's representative capacity the plaintiff need not prove that the trustee could have secured reimbursement from the trust fund if the trustee had paid the plaintiff's claim.

(4) The trustee may also be held personally liable for any tort committed by him or her, or by his or her agents or employees in the course of their employments only if, and to the extent that, damages for the tort are not collectible from trust property as provided in and pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.

(5) The procedure for all actions provided in this section is as provided in RCW 11.96A.080 through 11.96A.200.

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to change the existing law with regard to the liability of the trustee of a charitable trust for the torts of the trustee.

[ 1999 c 42 § 622; 1988 c 29 § 8; 1985 c 30 § 54. Prior: 1984 c 149 § 85; 1983 c 3 § 50; 1959 c 124 § 10. Formerly RCW 30.99.100.]


Effective date—1999 c 42: See RCW 11.96A.902.

Short title—Application—Purpose—Severability—1985 c 30: See RCW 11.02.900 through 11.02.903.

Severability—Effective dates—1984 c 149: See notes following RCW 11.02.005.

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