Subject Matter Jurisdiction

The Issue: Which Courts have the power (ie, the legal authority) to hear and decide the issues presented in the case and to issue an Order that binds all the parties to the case?  Subject matter jurisdiction is absolute, meaning that if the Court doesn’t have subject matter jurisdiction, it can’t hear the case.

RCW 11.96A.040 provides that Washington Superior Courts have what is known as “subject matter jurisdiction” (ie, legal authority to hear and decide cases) over the probate of Wills and administration of Descendant’s estates regarding:

  • Washington resident Descendants,
  • Non-resident Descendants dying within Washington, and
  • Non-resident Descendants dying outside of Washington but leaving property within Washington.

Bottom-line: As long as the Descendant died a resident of Washington or within Washington, a Washington Superior Court will have subject matter jurisdiction over your case.