Carol S. Vaughn

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney in Seattle, WA

Thompson Howle Vaughn
Two Union Square, 601 Union Street, Suite 3232
Seattle, WA 98101-3927
Phone: 206-682-8400
Fax: 206-682-9491
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1986
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas: Estate & Trust Litigation (90%), Elder Law (10%)
Attorney Profile

Carol Vaughn concentrates her practice on trust, probate, guardianship, and vulnerable adult litigation in both trial and appellate courts. She graduated from Smith College, with high honors, double-majoring in government and economics. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. In 2003, she was awarded a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Washington State Bar, the United States District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She serves on the the WSBA's Amicus Brief Committee and is a past chair of this Committee, with reported appellate decisions in cases involving will contests, contempt of court, undue influence, testamentary capacity, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

About Carol S. Vaughn

Admitted: 1986, Washington

Professional Webpage:

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Reported Decisions: In re Custody of Halls, 126 Wn. App. 599 (2005) – successfully defended the right to appointed counsel in civil contempt proceedings involving enforcement of parenting plans. In re Estate of Kessler, 95 Wn. App. 358 (1999) – successfully represented the personal representative in a will contest against claims of fraud, undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity. Estate of Haviland, 162 Wn. App. 548, 255 P.3d 854 (2011) -- successfully invalidated will for undue influence). Estate of Haviland, 177 Wn.2d 68, 79-80, 301 P.3d 31 (2013) (successfully argued that amendments to Slayer Statute RCW 11.84 apply prospectively to a petition filed after the effective date of the amendments, even though the decedent was financially exploited and died prior to the effective date of the amendments).

Bar/Professional Activity

  • I chair the Amicus Curiae Brief Committe of the Washington State Bar Association. 

Pro bono/Community Service

  • (1) Guest lecturer at Seattle University for the Advanced Civil Legal Justice Seminar.  The topic covers access to justice issues faced by the elderly and disabled.  (2) Present litigation trainings to attorneys and paralegals at Northwest Justice Project on discovery and pre-trial issues. (3) Co-author amicus brief on behalf of Washington State Professional Guardians Association.


  • Admitted to Practice: State of Washington United States District Court Western District of Washington United States District Court Eastern District of Washington Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Educational Background

  • B.A. Smith College magna cum laude, government and economics (double major): 1983 J.D. Harvard Law School: 1986

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • I presented on the following topics at Continuing Legal Education seminars in Washington during the past five years:  "Use of Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders" (WAELA 2010); "Recovering Assets from and Executing Judgments Against Former Fiduciaries" (Probate, Trust and TEDRA Litigation CLE 2009); "Making the Record in a Guardianship Action" (The Guardianship Institute 2007); "Tools to Use Against Third Parties -- the Vulnerable Adult Protection Act and the Power of Attorney Act" (Alzheimer's and Other Forms of Dementia -- How to Protect your Client 2006); "Medicaid Rules" (Basic Washington Estate Planning Skills 2004)


  • Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship awarded by Harvard Law School. , 2003
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Office Location for Carol S. Vaughn

Two Union Square
601 Union Street, Suite 3232
Seattle, WA 98101-3927

Last Updated: 3/16/2021

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