Probate is the legal process of transferring property owned by a deceased individual to their heirs or beneficiaries. Assuming one has a properly drafted and executed will and the estate is solvent, the probate process in Washington can be straight forward and simple. After complying with the filing requirements with the clerk of the Superior Court and having a judge or commissioner sign the proper order the probate is officially open.
The court order will appoint a Personal Representative to handle the affairs of the Estate, which requires locating assets and paying debts. After the probate is open for a minimum of four months and all creditor claims have been paid the Estate may be distributed to the named beneficiaries.
In all instances where the Estate owns real property a formal probate is required notwithstanding the value of the property. However, for Estate’s that are valued less than $125,000 and consists of personal property a formal probate is not required.