Protecting Your Rights as an Heir or Beneficiary

Seattle & King County | Tacoma & Pierce County

Everett & Snohomish County | All Washington

For Attorneys, Lawyers, & the Public


WA-Probate > Probate-Litigation > TEDRA Petitions > Typical Procedures Involved re a TEDRA Petition



Typical Procedures Involved re a TEDRA Petition



1.  Filing of TEDRA Petition



May also include:

2.  Serving of Documents on Opposing Party (20-days notice period)




3.  Response (5 days notice period)


Any opposing party may respond to the Petition by filing a Response including any of:

Required to be filed with the Court & served on the petitioner by five Court days before the initial hearing.  RCW 11.96A.100(5)


4.  Notice of Mediation (or Arbitration) (3 days notice period)


If any party desires to avoid having the Court hear the matter on its merits at the initial hearing, the party may take any of three actions:



Mediation is the usual first alternative.  Then, if mediation later fails and any party continues to desire to avoid a Court hearing, arbitration follows.



Mediation involves an experienced probate attorney or retired Judge who plays the role of a facilitator in a mediation session, attempting to find a solution to the problem that is acceptable to all parties; the mediator has no decision-making authority.  Arbitration is effectively a private Court trial before a similar person.  In arbitration, however, the arbitrator has ultimate decision making authority --- the parties present their respective positions, largely like in Court, with witnesses etc., and the arbitrator decides the matter.  The arbitrator’s decision may be appealed to the Superior Court, which will hear the matter de novo (as if it had not been arbitrated).  If the arbitrator’s decision is upheld, the prevailing party is entitled to be awarded its costs, including its attorneys’ and expert witness’ fees.


In most cases the Notice will include not only the notice that mediation will be used but also a list of three possible mediators.  Attorneys usually have their own list of mediators that they recommend.


5.  Reply (2 days notice period)


The petitioner may respond to the Response of any opposing party by filing a Reply including any of:

Required to be filed with the Court & served on the petitioner by two Court days before the initial hearing.  RCW 11.96A.100(5)


6.  Initial Hearing


On the one hand, TEDRA provides “Unless requested by a party in a petition or answer, the initial hearing must be a hearing on the merits, to resolve all issues of fact and all issues of law.”  RCW 11.96A.100(8)  On the other hand, exceptions abound and it is an unusual TEDRA matter (few, simple facts & few, usually only one legal issue) that is heard on the merits at its initial hearing.


In King (Seattle), Pierce (Tacoma), and Snohomish (Everett) Counties, all probate matters, including TEDRA Petitions, are heard before a Court Commissioner in the Ex Parte Department of the Superior Court.  King County has approximately 60 Superior Court Judges.  Three (3 / 60 = 5% of the total) are assigned to the Ex Parte Department.  The Ex Parte Department accounts for approximately 70% of all Orders entered by the King County Superior Court, approximately 1000 daily.  5% of the Judges hear 70% of the Petitions and Motions and sign 70% of the Orders.


The Ex Parte Department hears many matters in a short period of time and disposes of them quickly, generally allowing no more than 5-10 minutes each.  If the hearing appears as if it will require more time (for example, for oral testimony of witnesses or for argument on multiple legal issues), the Commissioner will likely set the matter for trial before a Superior Court Judge, usually three months later.


In most if not all other counties, probate matters are heard before a Superior Court Judge, and they are more inclined to decide a TEDRA Petition at its initial hearing so long as the matter can be heard within 15-20 minutes (generally 5-10 minutes per side).  If more time is required or either party requests it (for example, for discovery of evidence), the Court will set the matter for trial.


At the initial hearing, therefore, a number of alternatives are possible:


TEDRA Petitions

Instructions & Forms

Probate Litigation
Site Map