Probate is the orderly disposition of assets, using the Court’s services, so that assets are collected and sold as necessary, creditors are paid, and property is distributed to the heirs as the Decedent requested.
Unlike some states, Washington’s probate process can be relatively painless and allows Personal Representatives a great deal of authority in handling estates. It takes at least six months, and often longer, to complete the process. This is because the creditors need to be given an adequate time to make their claims before the funds are distributed to heirs. It’s important to have experienced counsel help through this process, so that you have help distinguishing what things the Court requires, whether or not you need help with estate taxes, and other ongoing management of the Estate.
Often the name Personal Representative and other family and friends help with the details, so attorney time can be minimized. Insurance has to be collected, some items such as the home will need to be sold, cars need to be transferred. We encourage the Personal Representative to do as much as he/she can do independently, and then we assist with the items that either require legal assistance, or the other items that can’t be conveniently handled by the Personal Representative.