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How To Avoid Probate in Washington State

Estate Planning can be like a jigsaw puzzle.  Picture each piece of the “Estate Planning Puzzle” as part of an overall Estate Plan.  Individual pieces could be called “Living Trust”, another could be “Will”, another “Probate” and so on until all the pieces when put together complete the puzzle. If you are interested in learning how to avoid probate in Washington, you’re in the right place.

What is Probate in the State of Washington?

First, let’s talk about Probate and what it means.  Simply put, Probate is a court-supervised process to distribute the estate of the deceased. It consists of getting a personal representative appointed, paying off debts, distribution of assets, filing an inventory of the estate, and then wrapping up the Probate. I tell my clients to expect about six months if all goes well.  If the Probate runs into problems, it can take longer and be costly.

Is Probate Required in Washington State?

When working with a client on an Estate Plan, one of the first questions they ask is how they can make the transfer of assets to their beneficiaries as easy as possible and avoid unnecessary costs. Here’s the good news! Washington State law does NOT necessarily require a probate proceeding.  It is discretionary and usually filed because someone want it to be filed.

The most common reason for Probate is that the decedent died holding real property in his/her own name or has personal property valued at over $100,000. For other assets such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), these don’t need to be probated.  Washington probate law also allows an individual to make payable-on-death or transfer-on-death designations for many assets, including real property and bank account balances.

Work With An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney To Avoid Unnecessary Probate

As you can see this can get complicated very quickly.  While you aren’t legally required to retain a probate attorney in either area, it’s advisable due to the complexity of the court process. A dedicated probate attorney such as Evergreen Elder Law understands probate laws and regulations and how they apply to your situation. Many individuals don’t have the time to make court appearances, gather documents, and file the paperwork, let alone even have the knowledge and experience to ensure it’s done correctly.

But more than that, we can help with ensuring your Estate Plan covers how you want your estate distributed.  By having the proper legal documents in place you will have completed the “Estate Planning” puzzle.  It will now be ready to make the transfer of assets to your beneficiaries as easy as possible and avoid unnecessary costs.

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I did some research and exploration and came upon the offices of Evergreen Elder Law. From the moment I spoke with the receptionist I felt respected, valued and regarded as an important client. I made an appointment for March 20, 2018. When I presented to their offices I spoke with someone who was sympathetic for my loss, confident that their offices could help and exuded competence. I was heartened to note that they were recognized as “Client Choice “Estate Law Office” for 2016.” And my experience with their offices made me a believer.

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When my mother retired it became apparent we as a family needed help, Holland Mcburns was recommended by an acquaintance of the family. She was professional and very thorough and informative. I felt she was very up to date on the current opportunities that would best benefit my elderly mother, and make her retirement years worry free. After working with Mrs Mcburns, it was apparent that many people would benefit from her knowledge and dedication. I highly recommend her, and look forward to working with her on my estate planning.

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Holland is very attentive and detail oriented. I felt well cared for, she returned calls promptly, and was always very sensitive to my needs. Holland gave me very good advice. She is very ethical and has legal services personalized to your needs.

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Holland is a great listener and lawyer. When we came to her with our needs, she thoughtfully listened, was helpful with all our questions, and then explained our options. Her sense of humor helped us through some long waits with the system. In the end, we ended up with a surprisingly favorable settlement and a good friend in the courts.

Nadine and Mark Huck

Holland is truly one of the most sincere and professional attorneys I have come to know and over many years in the legal field. Her work is innovative in the complex area of estate planning and she strives to know the latest legal strategies to protect and represent her clients. Holland is dedicated to satisfying her clients’ needs and does it in a kind manner. She is a wonderful communicator both with her clients and with her colleagues. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of legal services.

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The Evergreen Elder Law Team

Evergreen Elder Law is committed to helping you create comprehensive legal, financial, and physical security for you and your loved ones. Serving the Spokane, Tri Cities and Coeur d’Alene regions, we have the knowledge, compassion and professionalism to guide you in planning for the future, giving you peace of mind as you or a loved one makes important decisions for your family and future.

Let us provide you with a free 60-minute consultation. We are available throughout the week by phone and e-mail. Contact us now to set up the initial consultation, and we will make meeting with us easy. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to come up with the best plan to meet your needs. We are available in-person or via tele-conference.

HOLLAND MCBURNS

Managing Partner

TRAVIS M. PIERCE

Associate Attorney

Tisha Clegg Legal Assistant

TISHA CLEGG

Paralegal

ROSE DELOSE REYES

Office Assistant

Alex Maldonado - Paralegal

ALEX MALDONADO

PARALEGAL

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