PROBATE AND ALTERNATIVES TO PROBATE
One of the more difficult and confusing times in our lives is when a loved one dies. Having a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney guide you through this process is an advantage that everyone can have by simply calling Trunkenbolz | Rohr PLLC for a free initial consultation at (509) 928-4100.
Probate is the process by which everything a person owns during their lifetime is transferred to their heirs. This may be accomplished according to the terms of a person’s will or, if there isn’t a will, according to the laws of Washington State.
The first step is to schedule a free consultation. During that meeting please bring with you all documentation, including the will and death certificate if they are available. You will be asked who is related to the decedent, what they owned at the time of their death and other related questions. You will also have an opportunity to ask all questions that you have regarding the estate and the probate process.
If a probate of a will is necessary (see Affidavits of Non-Probate below), the attorney will draft all of the necessary documents, which at a minimum are: Petition to admit will into probate, issue letters testamentary, adjudicate solvency, and allow probate to proceed without bond and without court intervention; Oath of Personal Representative and Order admitting will into probate, issue letters testamentary, adjudicate solvency, and allow probate to proceed without bond and without court intervention.
Similar documents are drafted if there is not a will to be probated.
Once documents are signed, they are taken to Superior Court to be filed, the Order is presented to a judge or commissioner for signature and letters testamentary (for a will) or letters of administration (if there isn’t a will) are issued.
It is then the duty of the person named as personal representative to determine the assets and liabilities of the estate and report those to your attorney so that an inventory may be filed.
Assuming there are no disputes between the heirs and certainly no will contest issues, heirs will receive their inheritances anywhere from 15 to 120 days, depending on the assets that need to be liquidated or transferred. State law requires that estates remain open for a minimum of 120 days. Once the final notices to complete probate are given to the heirs, the process is completed.
Going through a probate can be confusing and difficult. However, having a knowledgeable attorney guide you through every step of the process will make you feel secure, confident and at ease.
Every probate, like every person, is unique. The above outline is a general description of how a typical probate may develop. However, a single change in assets, debts or heirs can quickly change the entire complexion of the probate. It will give you comfort and confidence to have an attorney by your side that can answer your questions and guide you to the best resolution.
Affidavits of Non-Probate
Small estates in Washington may be distributable to heirs using an Affidavit of Non-Probate. This document requires all heirs sign an affidavit stating the name of the decedent, the value of the estate and other crucial information.
The affidavit is then recorded and distributions may be made. This is an easy, quick and effective way to distribute a small estate without incurring the expense or time required under a full probate.
Call us today to find out whether or not your estate in question falls under the parameters of a small estate or an estate requiring a full probate.
Fill out the contact form or call us at (509) 928-4100 to schedule your free consultation.