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What Is the Washington State Probate Process?

What Is the Washington State Probate Process?

The probate process can be exceedingly difficult for families. Often, families are thrusted into dealing with both the legal and financial complexities of probate – right after losing someone they love. The attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess serve to help families during the arduous and emotional probate process to lessen their burden and provide guidance.

Probate is a court-supervised process that appoints an executor to oversee the gathering, transfer, and distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. The executor is responsible for settling the estate and paying taxes or debts. Here is an overview of how the process works in Washington.

Filing a petition: Probate begins with filing a petition in the superior court of the county where the deceased lived. The petition can be filed by an executor named in the deceased’s will or one appointed by the courts. The executor must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries named in the deceased’s will. State intestacy laws apply in those cases without a will.

Appointment of a personal representative: The court will review the petition and appoint a personal representative/executor/administrator to manage the estate. The court will honor the person named in the will unless they are unwilling or unable to serve.

Notice to interested parties: The personal representative must give notice of the probate proceedings to any interested parties, such as the beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors. The notice is sent directly to creditors and published in the local newspaper.

Inventory and appraisal: The personal representative creates a list of the deceased’s assets and gets everything appraised to decide the value on the date of their death.

Pays the taxes and debts: The personal representative uses the estate’s assets to pay the taxes, obligations, and administration fees. These could include selling property and assets if necessary.

Distribution of assets: The remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or state intestacy laws. The court supervises the process to ensure that everything is done legally.

Final accounting and closing of the estate: The personal representative will do a final report on all transactions and distributions made during probate. The estate is closed, and the personal representative’s duties end after the court approves.

Washington State offers a simplified probate process for estates below $100,000. It uses a summary administration process, which streamlines probate with fewer formalities.

Probate is a time-consuming and complex process; we recommend getting the advice of a skilled attorney. They will review your situation and guide you to make prudent decisions.

How Long Does Probate Take in Washington State?

Typically, probate will take six months to one year to complete, but it could take longer. Numerous factors will affect the timeline and how long everything takes to settle.

Size and complexity of the estate: Large estates require more time to settle everything. Various assets, such as business interests, real estate, and investments, could take time to liquidate.

Creditor claims: Creditors have up to four months from the date of publication notifying debtors to file their claims against the estate. The personal representative has to review and settle these claims before distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

Disputes: Disputes could arise over the will’s validity, or parts could be contested in probate. Resolving these issues will require additional investigations, negotiations, and legal proceedings.

Caseload: The speed of the courts will directly impact how fast your claim is heard and settled. The caseload could increase the delays, with judges trying to work through the backlogs.

We recommend consulting with a skilled attorney about your situation. Probate is complex, and you need an attorney that works on these cases to give you objective advice.

Why Choose Us

The attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess have the knowledge and experience to handle any probate case. We have worked on numerous cases, ranging from simplified probate to complex estates with innumerable assets. Our team will review your case and discuss the different options we can pursue.

We have worked on many probate cases and will use our experience and knowledge to guide you. Probate is a complex process; you want a skilled attorney to guide you. Our team has decades of experience handling these cases and will give you practical advice you can use.

Time is of the essence in these cases, and you want to speak with a skilled attorney immediately. You must protect your rights and ensure the executor follows the law. Your lawyer will review your case and discuss the different options we could pursue. You will get objective legal advice from a skilled professional who is on your side. Get the help you need by speaking with a knowledgeable attorney about your case.

The attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess can help with our knowledge and experience. We always work on probate cases and will guide you with our custom advice. You will work with a dedicated professional who looks out for you. Contact us now to schedule your consultation with a skilled probate attorney: (206) 621-1110 (Seattle), (253) 572-1000 (Tacoma), (360) 742-3500 (Olympia), or (971) 416-0881 (Portland).