Don’t Go Through Probate Without Help
Probate is a court process in Washington State to help with the transfer of assets from a decedent to their heirs. You will go through probate if you have assets worth over $100,000.00 or if you have real property located in the State of Washington that needs to be transferred. The probate process in Washington State is relatively painless. It can be completed in as little time as 4 months. It can be private without filing of an Inventory.
Probate can involve a Will or not. Once a Personal Representative (or Executor) is appointed, a probate attorney can help both the Personal Representative or Executor of the will and the beneficiaries of the inheritance carry out the next steps. Prior to distributing any assets there are legal documents that must be filed, creditors must be notified, estate and income taxes have to be carefully calculated and planned out with an accountant and any pending suits stemming from the death must be settled. Usually the process is fairly simple and straightforward.
As the beneficiaries are identified, they must be made aware of specific assets they are inheriting, what tax implications there may be on these assets and any stipulations that may be placed on the inheritance. A probate Attorney can also help in filing any objections or disputes stemming from the dissemination of the Will or estate.
Even when carried out perfectly, the Probate process can be time consuming and frustrating for those without someone in their corner helping out. With years of experience in both Estate Planning and Probate Law, I am well versed on both sides of the table and can make this process less daunting for everyone involved.
Avoiding probate is not as difficult as people may think. There are many non-probate alternatives such as: Joint tenancy bank accounts, pay on death accounts, transfer on death deeds and accounts, Revocable Living Trusts, and Community Property Agreements. You need to be very careful if you decide you want to avoid probate. Sometimes it is advisable to place all your assets in non-probate accounts but sometimes you want to take advantage of Tax Trusts or Special Needs Trusts under your Will. By placing your assets into non-probate accounts you could defeat all the tax or disability planning for planned for your spouse or your children. It could cost you thousands of dollars. Always consult with an attorney or your CPA before deciding to place your assets into any non-probate accounts.