Estate Settlement & Probate
PROBATE AND NONPROBATE ADMINISTRATION & ESTATE SETTLEMENT
The term "Probate" means administration of the property ("Estate") of a deceased person by a Personal Representative (also known as Executor). This person is named in a deceased person's Last Will and Testament under the jurisdiction of one of Washington's county superior courts. The Estate's Personal Representative is appointed by the court, usually because he or she is named in the Will, or by an interested person asking the court to commence the Probate proceedings. The administration of a decedent's Estate essentially involves the following steps after the court has appointed the Personal Representative:
Marshaling the assets of the Estate (the assembly, securing, valuation, and sorting of the decedent's property);
Paying charges of the Estate (last illness and funeral expenses, amounts owed to creditors, taxes, family allowances, and general expenses of administration); and
Distributing what is left to the Estate heirs and beneficiaries (either according to the terms of the decedent's Will or, if there is no Will, according to the Washington State's intestate succession laws).
Generally, Probate is necessary when a person dies leaving real and personal property in his or her own name (such as a house titled in the name of the decedent, including a community property interest in a house with the decedent's spouse) or having rights to receive certain property (such as a personal injury or a wrongful death claim, or a debt owed to the decedent under the terms of a loan or contract). However, not all property in which the decedent had an interest will be subject to Probate.
To that end, in certain cases, a nonprobate procedure may be initiated to avoid a full Probate proceeding known as Adjudication of Testacy when a decedent died with a valid Will, or Adjudication of Intestacy and Heirship when a decedent died without a Will. We are particularly skilled to assist you with any questions you may have regarding Probate and Estate Settlement issues. We represent heirs, beneficiaries, and fiduciaries in all stages of probate and nonprobate administration of Estates.
Contact our office today for more information!