Administering an estate after a loved one passes can be a very stressful and difficult time for many people. Working with a Tri Cities probate attorney can help to alleviate stress, and reduce the risk of your estate going through probate.
What is a Probate in Tri Cities Washington?
Probate is the court-supervised process used to distribute the estate of the deceased. The probate process consists of:
- filing a petition with the court to appoint a personal representative
- paying off debts
- distributing assets
- filing an inventory of the estate
- closing the probate
Probate can be a lengthy and costly process. A Probate with no hiccups can take about six months. A Probate with problems or contentions can take even longer. Appropriate Estate Planning can prevent friends and family from having to go through the probate process, however, if a Probate is necessary, working with a Tri Cities probate attorney can guide you each step of the way and help make an unfortunate situation a little less difficult.
What is the Affidavit Procedure?
Some estates can be administered by utilizing the Small Estate Affidavit procedure. For this process, the estate must be valued at less than $100,000.00, must not consist of real property, and forty days have to have passed since the date of death. While the process may sound complicated, our experienced probate attorneys can effectively guide you through this process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in Kennewick, Pasco & Richland
Is it Possible To Avoid Probate?
Not all items need to pass through probate. For example, if you have items held in a revocable trust or with a specific beneficiary or designations like 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.
How Long Does the Probate Process Usually Take?
The probate process typically takes between 3-12 months depending on filings, deadlines, and the complexity of each estate. Our goal is to streamline this process for you and alleviate all unnecessary stress, giving you the time you need for yourself and your loved ones.
Who Is Responsible for Initiating Probate?
The executor of a will is responsible to initiate the probate process, retain an attorney, and take care of all financial obligations the deceased person left behind. An executor is usually named in a will, but the probate court will appoint a relative to handle the probate process if no will is available.
What Happens During the Probate Process?
The executor of a will, or an individual appointed by the probate court if there wasn’t a will, is responsible for dispersing real and personal property and collecting debts owed to the deceased. A list of assets in the estate is prepared and beneficiaries named in the will (or heirs-at-law if there isn’t a will) are notified of the probate proceedings. It’s up to the beneficiaries to file claims for any debts owed to them. State and federal taxes are paid from the estate. The title to the decedent’s property is cleared so that the property can be passed on to the beneficiaries or sold.
What Type of Assets Aren’t Subject to Probate?
Assets jointly held or held with a right of survivorship (ownership is transferred once someone passes away) are not subject to probate. Estates with assets valued below $100,000 and no real property can also avoid probate, depending on the complexity of the assets owned. Lastly, retirement accounts with beneficiary designations and life insurance policies are not subject to probate.
When Will Our Family Receive Property or Assets?
The probate court won’t allow the final distribution of property and assets until all debts have been paid, including court fees, estate taxes, and other debts. The dispersal timeline is dependent on many factors.
Why Should I Hire a Probate Attorney in Eastern Washington or Northern Washington?
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. Contact us on your behalf!
When Can I Sell the House from an Estate?
If an estate contains property, it cannot be sold until probate is opened and an executor is appointed.
How Much Do Attorneys Charge for Probate Cases?
Legal fees will vary depending on the firm and the complexity of the estate. Attorneys often charge an hourly rate for the time spent on a case. Please contact Evergreen Elder Law to inquire about our rates.
What Is Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship?
Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is the most common form of asset ownership between spouses. Joint tenancy assets have the advantage of avoiding probate at the death of the first spouse.
Why Should You Hire an Attorney To Administer Probate?
With or without a Will, you can save time and money if you hire an attorney to help you with the often complicated process of administering probate. At Evergreen Elder Law, we understand that your time is important which is why we begin to work on your case the moment you hire our firm.
Our Process For Administering Probate In Eastern Washington Is:
- Within two business days, we will draft the documents for your signature. We will present the documents in court and obtain Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration.
- Once you have been appointed as the Personal Representative, we draft and send out all notices pursuant to the statute within the required 20 days.
- Your team at Evergreen Elder Law will guide you through the process of marshalling the assets, paying debts, obtaining an EIN, and opening an Estate checking account.
- Our firm facilitates the publication of probate Notice to Creditors to protect the Estate from future claims not filed within the allowable time frame.
- We will guide you through the process of closing the estate, including preparation of an Inventory and Appraisal and preparing the notification to Washington State Estate and Recovery Unit, pursuant to the statute.
- As the required time frames approach, Evergreen Elder Law will prepare a Declaration of Completion of Probate.
As mentioned above, the probate process typically takes between 3-12 months depending on filings, deadlines, and the complexity of each estate. Our goal is to streamline this process for you and alleviate all unnecessary stress, giving you the time you need for yourself and your loved ones.
Contact a Tri Cities Probate Lawyer Today
Contact our experienced and knowledgeable staff to avoid these serious mistakes. We can guide you each step of the way. Set up a free consultation with a Tri Cities probate attorney so we can apply our expertise and get a comprehensive plan in place.