What is Probate?
Probate is process through the court in which a deceased person’s estate is distributed to heirs and/or designated beneficiaries. As part of this process, any debts owed to creditors are paid as well. If the decedent died with a validly executed will (see RCW 11.12), the estate will pass according to the terms of the will. If the person died intestate (without a will), the decedent’s estate will be passed to heirs-at-law under the laws of intestacy.
Do I Have to Open a Probate?
When a close friend or family member has died, you should first determine if probate is necessary and what your role might be. In Washington, a probate is almost always necessary when the decedent owned real estate and was unmarried at the time of death. Sometimes, even when the decedent was married, probate may be necessary. Even without real estate, if the value of the decedent’s assets appears to exceed $100,000, a probate is likely needed. Sometimes, even if there are few assets in an estate, disputes among those who seek to make a claim to any the decedent’s property can lead to the need for court intervention.
How Do I Become Appointed Personal Representative?
The Superior Court appoints an individual as personal representative, or executor, of an Estate. North City Law prepares and presents to the Court:
- Petition for Order Granting Letters of Administration, Non-Intervention Powers, Waiver of Bond and Other Initial Orders
- Order Appointing Personal Representative with non-intervention powers
- Oath of Personal Representative
North City Law then obtains Letters of Administration (without a will) or Letters Testamentary (with a will) from the Superior Court Clerk. This document grants authority to the Personal Representative appointed by the Court to act on the Estate’s behalf.
What Happens After I Become Personal Representative?
After the Superior Court appoints a personal representative, the personal representative is required to prepare and serve:
- Notice to Creditors
- Notice of Appointment of Personal Representative and Pendency of Probate
- Notice to the Department of Social and Health Services
- Proof of Mailing Notice of Appointment to Heirs
- Inventory and Appraisement
- Receipts of Heirs
- Declaration of Completion of Probate
- Notice of Filing Declaration of Completion
- Proof of Mailing Declaration of Completion to Heirs
North City Law will also publish notice to creditors as required by Washington law, communicate with heirs as necessary, and provide counsel on matters relating to the estate.
- Open Washington Probate
- Snohomish County Probate
- King County Probate
- Out of State Personal Representative
- Out of State Executor
- Resident Agent Probate
- Petition for Appointment of Personal Representative
- Flat Fee Probate
- Solvent Estate
- Insolvent Estate
- Nonintervention Probate
- Full Intervention Probate