In re Estate of Kordon, No. 77164-2.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtSanders
Citation137 P.3d 16,157 Wn.2d 206
Docket NumberNo. 77164-2.
Decision Date22 June 2006
PartiesIn re the Matter of the Estate of Robert KORDON, Deceased. Helen D. Cleveland, Petitioner, v. Leilani R. Duke, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Robert Kordon; Leilani R. Duke, individually, Respondent.
137 P.3d 16
157 Wn.2d 206
In re the Matter of the Estate of Robert KORDON, Deceased.
Helen D. Cleveland, Petitioner,
v.
Leilani R. Duke, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Robert Kordon; Leilani R. Duke, individually, Respondent.
No. 77164-2.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Argued March 21, 2006.
Decided June 22, 2006.

Page 17

Michael Edward de Grasse, Attorney at Law, Walla Walla, for Petitioner/Appellant.

John W. Lohrmann, Attorney at Law, Walla Walla, for Appellee/Respondent.

SANDERS, J.


¶1 Helen Cleveland appeals the dismissal of her petition contesting the will of Robert Kordon for failure to timely issue a citation to Kordon's personal representative under RCW 11.24.020. Cleveland argues the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA), chapter 11.96A RCW, eliminates the requirement to issue a citation to parties to an existing probate proceeding. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding TEDRA inapplicable to will contests. We affirm on different grounds, holding TEDRA applies to will contests, but does not affect the RCW 11.24.020 citation requirement.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Robert Kordon executed a will on April 2, 2001 and died on April 24, 2001. The will named Leilani Duke as Kordon's personal representative. On April 25, 2001, the superior court issued an order admitting the will to probate, declaring the estate solvent, and appointing Duke as personal representative to act without intervention of the court.

¶3 On August 24, 2001, Kordon's sister Helen Cleveland filed a petition contesting the validity of the will. Cleveland did not issue a citation but did mail a copy of the petition to Duke's counsel. On September 15, 2003, Duke filed a motion to dismiss the will contest, arguing Cleveland's failure to issue a citation under RCW 11.24.020 deprived the court of jurisdiction. Cleveland issued a citation on October 9, 2003, but the superior court dismissed the will contest for lack of jurisdiction on December 9, 2003.

¶4 Cleveland appealed. Initially, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding RCW 11.96A.100 exempted her from issuing a citation to Duke. On reconsideration, the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding chapter 11.96A RCW inapplicable to will contests. Cleveland sought discretionary review, which this court granted.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶5 Dismissal for lack of jurisdiction under CR 12(b)(2) presents a question of law

Page 18

reviewed de novo. State v. Squally, 132 Wash.2d 333, 340, 937 P.2d 1069 (1997).

ANALYSIS

¶6 The superior court correctly dismissed the will contest for lack of jurisdiction because Cleveland failed to request and timely serve a citation on Duke. A party contesting a will must request and serve a citation on the executor of the will. RCW 11.24.020. While chapter 11.96A RCW applies to will contests, RCW 11.96A.100 does not affect the RCW 11.24.020 citation requirement.

I. Failure to Issue a Citation Deprives the Court of Personal Jurisdiction Over a Party to a Will Contest

¶7 A will contest is a statutory proceeding governed by chapter 11.24 RCW. A party contesting a will must file a petition in the court with jurisdiction over the will. RCW 11.24.010. The party contesting the will must then request and serve a citation on all executors, administrators, and legatees of the will.1 RCW 11.24.020.

¶8 A citation is equivalent to a civil summons, conferring personal jurisdiction over a party to a will contest. See In re Estate of Wheeler, 71 Wash.2d 789, 795, 431 P.2d 608 (1967). See also In re Murphy's Estate, 98 Wash. 548, 553, 168 P. 175 (1917) ("A citation is the process designated by the statute in probate proceedings for bringing adverse parties into court. It is the counterpart of the summons in ordinary civil proceedings."). Proper service of process "is essential to invoke personal jurisdiction over a party." In re Marriage of Markowski, 50 Wash.App. 633, 635-36, 749 P.2d 754 (1988). Accordingly, under RCW 11.24.020, failure to issue a citation deprives the court of personal jurisdiction over the party denied process.

II. TEDRA Does Not Affect the RCW 11.24.020 Citation Requirement

¶9 Cleveland argues TEDRA eliminates the requirement for a party contesting a will to issue citations to parties to the existing probate proceeding. It provides in relevant part:

Unless rules of court require or this title provides otherwise, or unless a court orders otherwise: . . . . A summons must be served in accordance with this chapter and, where not inconsistent with these rules, the procedural rules of court, however, if the proceeding is commenced as an action incidental to an existing judicial proceeding relating to the same trust or estate or nonprobate asset, notice must be provided by summons only with respect to those parties who were not already parties to the existing judicial proceedings.

RCW 11.96A.100(2). Indeed, Cleveland commenced this will contest as an action incidental to the existing probate proceeding, to which Duke was a party. However, the plain language of TEDRA indicates RCW 11.96A.100(2) does not affect the RCW 11.24.020 citation requirement.

¶10 The Court of Appeals incorrectly concluded a will contest is not a "matter"...

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42 practice notes
  • State v. LG Elecs., Inc., No. 91391–9
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 21, 2016
    ...Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc. , 180 Wash.2d 954, 963, 331 P.3d 29 (2014) (citing In re Estate of Kordon , 157 Wash.2d 206, 209, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) ). When a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is resolved without an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff's burden is only t......
  • People v. Demetrulias, No. S046733.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • July 10, 2006
    ...of a common plan or the shared distinctive pattern required to show identity. (Id. at pp. 402-403, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 646, 867 P.2d 757.) 137 P.3d 16 Twice in one evening, defendant entered an older man's home, confronted the man alone, and stabbed the man several times hard enough to inflict v......
  • Futureselect Portfolio Mgmt., Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc., No. 89303–9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 17, 2014
    ...Wash.2d 198, 215, 118 P.3d 311 (2005). Similarly, we review a CR 12(b)(2) dismissal de novo. In re Estate of Kordon, 157 Wash.2d 206, 209, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) (citing State v. Squally, 132 Wash.2d 333, 340, 937 P.2d 1069 (1997)).II. Personal jurisdiction ¶ 9 Oppenheimer argues that it lacks ......
  • Putman v. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, No. 80888-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 17, 2009
    ...Inc. v. Gen. Steel Fabricating, Inc., 95 Wash.2d 600, 627 P.2d 1321 (1981) (garnishments); In re Estate of Kordon, 157 Wash.2d 206, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) (will contests); In re Det. of Aguilar, 77 Wash.App. 596, 892 P.2d 1091 (1995) (sexually violent predator petitions); Pac. Erectors, Inc. v.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • State v. LG Elecs., Inc., No. 91391–9
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 21, 2016
    ...Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc. , 180 Wash.2d 954, 963, 331 P.3d 29 (2014) (citing In re Estate of Kordon , 157 Wash.2d 206, 209, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) ). When a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is resolved without an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff's burden is only t......
  • People v. Demetrulias, No. S046733.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • July 10, 2006
    ...of a common plan or the shared distinctive pattern required to show identity. (Id. at pp. 402-403, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 646, 867 P.2d 757.) 137 P.3d 16 Twice in one evening, defendant entered an older man's home, confronted the man alone, and stabbed the man several times hard enough to inflict v......
  • Futureselect Portfolio Mgmt., Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc., No. 89303–9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 17, 2014
    ...Wash.2d 198, 215, 118 P.3d 311 (2005). Similarly, we review a CR 12(b)(2) dismissal de novo. In re Estate of Kordon, 157 Wash.2d 206, 209, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) (citing State v. Squally, 132 Wash.2d 333, 340, 937 P.2d 1069 (1997)).II. Personal jurisdiction ¶ 9 Oppenheimer argues that it lacks ......
  • Putman v. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, No. 80888-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 17, 2009
    ...Inc. v. Gen. Steel Fabricating, Inc., 95 Wash.2d 600, 627 P.2d 1321 (1981) (garnishments); In re Estate of Kordon, 157 Wash.2d 206, 137 P.3d 16 (2006) (will contests); In re Det. of Aguilar, 77 Wash.App. 596, 892 P.2d 1091 (1995) (sexually violent predator petitions); Pac. Erectors, Inc. v.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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