In the Matter of the Estate of: GERALD IRWIN SR., Deceased.
will, Gerald Irwin Sr. left Barbara Kelley a life estate in
real property that was still encumbered by a mortgage. He
left the residue of his estate to his two children, divided
evenly between them. The trial court ruled that Kelley was
responsible for paying the mortgage during her life estate.
appeals, arguing that she is not "the devisee" and
so is not responsible for the mortgage under RCW 11.12.070,
that Irwin Sr. did not intend for her to pay more than the
taxes and insurance on the real property, and that under
common law principles, life tenants are generally not liable
for mortgages on property in which they receive a life
estate. Irwin Sr.'s children argue that the invited error
doctrine prohibits Kelley from appealing the trial
that the invited error doctrine does not apply to this case.
We also hold that Kelley is responsible for paying the
mortgage during her life estate, and we affirm the trial
Sr. executed his will on November 16, 2016. He named Kelley
as personal representative of his estate. In the will he also
granted Kelley a life estate in real property "provided
she pays the taxes and insurance on the property."
Clerk's Papers (CP) at 3. Irwin Sr. devised the residue
of his estate evenly between his two children, Gerald Irwin
Jr. and Barbara Irwin. The will was silent on the mortgage
that still encumbered the property at the time of Irwin
Sr. died in January 2017. Relevant to this appeal, the Irwins
argued that Kelley, as the life tenant, was personally
responsible for the mortgage. The trial court agreed with the
Irwins in its letter ruling, ordering Kelley to personally
make monthly payments on the mortgage during her life
tenancy. The parties then jointly presented a stipulated
order memorializing the court's letter ruling.
initial matter, Barbara Irwin argues that Kelley invited the
error she now complains about because she stipulated to entry
of the trial court's order following its letter ruling.
Irwin asks us to invoke judicial estoppel and reject
Kelley's appeal. We disagree and decline Irwin's
invited error doctrine prohibits a party from setting up an
error at trial and then complaining of it on appeal.
State v. Momah, 167 Wn.2d 140, 153, 217 P.3d 321
(2009). But as Kelley points out, she did not stipulate to
the merits of the trial court's order, but simply
affirmed that the final order accurately reflected and
formalized the court's letter ruling. The invited error
doctrine does not apply in this case because Kelley did not
stipulate to the merits of the court's ruling.
Irwin Sr.'s Will
argues the trial court erred in ruling that she is
responsible for paying the mortgage on the property. Kelley
contends that the Irwins, as residuary fee simple ...