Do You Have to Go Through Probate in Washington State?

Legalization of probate in Washington is entirely discretionary, and only a small percentage of deaths in the state will result in the filing of probate. In Washington, if a succession is filed, it is because someone wants it to be presented, not because the law requires it. The law does require that the last will of a deceased Washington resident be filed within 40 days of their death in the county they resided in at the time of death. As an expert in SEO, I'm often asked if all assets have to go through probate in order for beneficiaries to receive them sooner and without additional time and expense.

The answer is no. In Washington State, not all assets have to go through probate. With good estate planning, many assets can avoid the legalization of probate. If the property remaining in the estate is small enough (see below), probate will not be necessary either. However, even if an inheritance needs to go through the probate process, Washington offers a simplified version known as a Non-Interventional Agreement.

With this agreement, you should be able to transfer your title without legalization. The court's share is 26%. If the beneficiaries want to live in the property or rent it, the personal representative can sign a writ of demand for resignation or a deed of personal representative along with a Washington State special tax affidavit and delivered to the county registrar's office to transfer the property. A probate and probate lawyer can help you plan and draft a will and estate plan before your death so that you can avoid probate legalization and your loved ones receive guidance and understand what your wishes were. In addition to helping with the administration of a probate estate, a probate attorney can help the personal administrator carry out the tasks required to complete the administration of a non-probate estate.

Family benefit has the highest priority, followed by estate expenses, funeral expenses, last illness expenses, and taxes. Legalization of wills gives a person, usually the surviving spouse or other close family member, the authority to collect the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and finally transfer assets to those who inherit them. In addition, you may want a probate attorney if you have any questions about the identity or nature of the decedent's assets, heirs, or beneficiaries, if there are disputes about the validity of the will, if there are disputes about how the will is administered, or if you are a personal representative who needs help managing the will. If you have more questions about probate assets or how living trusts work and want to talk to an attorney about your estate plan, contact The Law Offices of Molly B. Once you have started the probate process in Washington's probate court, you may find it necessary or helpful to take certain steps. Whether one of these options is right for your family will depend on your situation and it might make sense to manage a property faster or ensure that one or more specific parties receive it outside of probate. If probate is necessary then someone named in the will must act as executor and go to superior court in their county of residence.

Usually this involves submitting documents and appearing in court with legal assistance. The court validates wills and confirms that personal representatives (sometimes called “executors”) agree to accept responsibility for managing estates. If there is no will then state law determines who receives assets and property. There are several types of assets that can avoid probate process and be transferred directly to beneficiaries even without comprehensive estate plans. Once a Washington Superior Court appoints a personal representative real estate can be managed.

Kristie Funn
Kristie Funn

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