What Actually Happens In The Probate Process?
The probate process is usually initiated after a family member of a deceased individual contacts our firm. If the deceased individual has a will then we will file it with the court and a personal representative will be appointed to handle the affairs of the estate. If the person had minor children or were creating a trust for minors or incapacitated people, then there would also be a trustee. Creditors are given a certain period of time to file a valid creditor’s claim (in the state of Washington, creditors are given four months). Meanwhile, the administrator or attorney will be gathering all of the information related to the deceased person’s finances, including their pensions, life insurance policies, and assets in order to make an inventory of all of the items that are part of the estate.
Once the time period for creditor claims has passed, we will look at the net estate and determine who will be receiving which assets. If there is real property to be deeded to certain individuals, then those individuals can decide to sell or keep that property. There are usually some tax issues involved in these processes, particularly with large estates. For this reason, a CPA will help complete a tax return to determine whether or not any taxes are owed. After all of these steps have been taken, most of the major difficulties and/or disputes amongst individuals involved in the estate should be resolved.
How Long Does It Generally Take To Complete The Probate Process?
For a standard estate without complications, the probate process typically takes four to six months. Cases that involve conflicts amongst people who are set to inherit will have to be resolved under the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA) in Washington, which can take one to three years to resolve.
What Are Possible Resolutions In Probate Litigation Cases?
The TEDRA statute allows for mediation first. About 50 percent of cases reach a settlement via mediation. If there are just a couple of issues that are under dispute, such as a disagreement over the value of an asset, then an appraisal could be done and the case could then be resolved through mediation. If a case does not settle at mediation, then the next option will be arbitration. Parties can accept the decision that they’re given at arbitration or file an appeal within 30 days, after which point there would be a trial date set. In King County, it will be about one year between the time a trial date it set and the time the trial actually occurs. In Snohomish and Kitsap counties, TEDRA trials should be heard within 6 months.
What Are The Common Costs For The Probate Process In Washington?
The court filing fee and obtaining letters for the probate process in Washington costs $285. There are also costs associated with some real estate needs, as well as TEDRA actions. It can be expensive to obtain years’ worth of bank account statements and other documents that are often necessary in the probate process. Typically, probate estates attorney fees and costs are $1500 to $3500.
Could Someone Realistically Try To Navigate The Probate Process On Their Own?
If someone wants to navigate the probate process on their own, I would advise them to meet with an attorney and discuss what exactly the process entails. Depending on the circumstances, the probate process might not even be necessary, so it is best to speak with an attorney.
Once Probate Is Complete, What Should I Expect As The Outcome?
Before an estate is closed, all pending claims should be resolved. For example, if the deceased individual had been involved in a motor vehicle collision during their lifetime, then any associated claims would have to be dealt with. Once all of the issues have been resolved, the administrator will be discharged by the court and the case will done. If it is later discovered that an asset was not dealt with during probate, the estate could be reopened for the purposes of dealing with it.
Additional Information On Probate Process In Washington
In Washington, the personal representative of a person’s estate is the only person who can bring a claim on behalf of the decedent. For example, if the decedent was killed in a collision or was the victim of a wrongful death, the personal representative would be responsible for bringing any associated claims.
For more information on Probate Process In Washington State, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (360) 323-2885 today.
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