Probate: Probate in Washington

Probate is the legal process required to transfer ownership of property after a person dies. Usually it is only necessary to probate an estate if there are assets subject to probate. In the State of Washington, the probate proceeding is relatively simple. It requires the preparation and filing of legal documents and may require one or more Court hearings. It is difficult to predict the time required to settle an estate because each situation is so unique.

The procedure usually begins with submitting the original will to the Court and the appointment of a personal representative (PR) to collect, manage and settle the estate. The PR, with the guidance of a lawyer, is responsible for the proper handling and settlement of the decedent’s estate. The PR is required to notify heirs and creditors of the probate proceedings; take possession of property; inventory and preserve the decedent’s assets; collect all income; determine the names and relationship of all heirs; complete any pending lawsuits; prepare and pay any applicable state and federal estate and income taxes; pay the valid claims of creditors; transfer title to real property and certain personal property to the heirs; and file a Declaration of Completion with the Court to complete the probate.

If someone close to you has died, the surviving spouse or a close relative should contact a lawyer. A lawyer can provide advice, determine if probate is required and explain any necessary procedures. Please call and discuss your situation with one of our experienced attorneys.