The legal procedure of determining the estate of a person who has passed away is known as probate. Probate law gives the remaining spouse or close family members, jurisdiction to assemble the deceased person’s assets, taxes and debts. They should ultimately transfer the assets to the people who should inherit them. A person is usually delegated by the court to wind up the affairs of the deceased. In Washington probate law, probate can take up to a year. This highly depends on the evaluation that the enforcer makes. Sometimes there is a court fight regarding the will or odd debts and assets. This leads to more complications and the court case can take years. Probate is normally an issue of filling paperwork unless a dispute arises.
In most court dealings, a probate is not always mandatory. It is only needed if the deceased owned assets only in his or her name. If you are named as the personal representative then you should immediately hire a lawyer. The lawyer will guide you through the probate process. The attorney hired should be someone who specializes in dealing with complicated estate planning and tax problems. This is because the estate and tax matters may come up during the case settlement. However, you are clearly advised not to hire the attorney who drafted the will. You need to do some investigative work before you open probate or even before you take on as the personal representative. The investigative work needs you to retrieve the original will, assemble the names and addresses of all the beneficiaries listed in the will and lastly, obtain numerous transcripts of the death certificate.
The Washington probate law simply gives instructions and probate forms that show how to probate a deceased person’s estate. Probate is not necessary if the total worth of the probate estate is really small. Presently, Washington only allows estate worth up to a hundred thousand dollars in order to eliminate probate. Beneficiaries and inheritors can petition the assets with just an affidavit. Additionally, in Washington, executors can decide whether to publish a formal notice of the settlement proceedings publicly or not. In case the executor publishes the notice, the creditors only have a time period of four months to make a claim. Failure to make a claim within four months means that the claims will be blocked. Contrarily, creditors also have two years from the date of death to bring claims. This is why an executor chooses to publish in order to avoid claims coming in at a later date.
At other times, the personal representative turns to the state law. This means that the money present is not enough to settle all debts. The state law makes the decision on which claim to should be given first priority. Usually, the family allowance is given the first priority, followed by the expenses incurred by probate, funeral expenses and lastly taxes. Once the personal representative has filed the tax returns, paid off all debts and distributed the assets, then the court can close the probate case. The personal representative needs to get all the beneficiaries involved to sign a receipt and waiver certificates.