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Recent Developments in Washington Regarding Wills, Trusts, and Estates

A Washington state court ruled that a sizable gift to a church in a decedent's will was not the product of undue influence.

Washington
State:
Key point. A gift to a church contained in a decedent's will may be invalidated if the church "unduly influenced" the decedent in making the gift.
Key point. A non-attorney who assists a church member in drafting a will containing a gift to the church may be guilty of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. This may jeopardize the validity of the gift to the church.

A Washington state court ruled that a sizable gift to a church in a decedent's will was not the product of undue influence. It is common for church members to leave gifts to their church in a will. In some cases, family members object to these gifts and seek to void them by claiming that the church "unduly influenced" the member who made the gift. In some cases, church members or employees who are not attorneys assist members in drafting wills, and this represents another basis for challenging the legal validity ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1999

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