Carol S. Vaughn

Top rated Estate & Trust Litigation attorney in Seattle, Washington

Thompson Howle Vaughn
Carol S. Vaughn
Thompson Howle Vaughn

Practice Areas: Estate & Trust Litigation, Elder Law

Licensed in Washington since: 1986

Education: Harvard Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2024

Thompson Howle Vaughn

1200 5th Avenue
Suite 625
Seattle, WA 98101 Phone: 206-682-8400 Email: Carol S. Vaughn Visit website


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. In addition to having an active trial practice, she is an experienced appellate attorney, served on and chaired the WSBA's Amicus Brief Committee, and has appellate decisions in cases involving will contests, contempt of court, guardianships, probate, undue influence, testamentary capacity, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

First 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

Office location for Carol S. Vaughn

1200 5th Avenue
Suite 625
Seattle, WA 98101

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