What is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised legal process that may be required after someone dies. Probate gives someone, usually the surviving spouse or other close family member, authority to gather the deceased person’s assets, pay debts and taxes, and eventually transfer assets to the people who inherit them.
Probate Process in Washington State
Probate in Washington typically takes six months to a year, depending on some choices the executor makes. It can take much longer if there is a court fight over the will or unusual assets or debts that complicate matters. Unless there is a dispute, it’s mainly a matter of filing paperwork.
What Happens During the Washington State Probate Process
The following tasks are accomplished through the probate process:
1. File any Will and Petition the Court for Appointment of Personal Representative (the “PR”).
2. Send Notice of Appointment of PR to Beneficiaries, Heirs, and Other Interested Parties.
3. Collect & Manage (& possibly Sell) Property.
4. Pay Debts.
5. Determine & Settle Any Taxes Due.
6. Distribute Remaining Assets.
7. Close the Estate.