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Estate of Campbell

Court of Appeals of Washington
942 P.2d 1008 (1997)


In 1994, George Campbell died and left his wife Wilma a life estate in the family home with a remainder to his children from a previous marriage. Anticipating the potential for disagreement between his wife and children, George explicitly provided in his will that Wilma was to have undisturbed possession of the home “so long as she wishes to live there.” George also gave Wilma an option to receive a payout for the property from his children if Wilma was unable or did not desire to remain on the property. George’s will also made his children responsible for paying all property maintenance expenses. The children filed a petition seeking a judicial determination of the parties’ rights and obligations. The children alleged that Wilma’s life estate would be terminated if she moved from the family home and asked the court to declare the maintenance payment provision unenforceable as a matter of law. The trial court ruled for Wilma on both issues. The children appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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