Do You Really Need a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island?
Most people have heard of probate, but they’re less clear on Washington State’s laws. Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate and making distributions according to their will. The process also involves settling debts and identifying assets. Probate is crucial because it helps to prevent fraud by stopping action on the estate until the will is deemed valid. Read on to learn what happens during several common probate situations.
When There’s a Will
If the deceased person left a will, the executor of that will is required to file probate if necessary. The estate executor or the representing attorney starts the process. After the proper documents are filed, Washingon State’s probate court validates the will before allowing the estate representative to pay bills, take care of taxes, and distribute assets.
If There Is No Will
If the person left no will, Washington will choose a person to serve as the estate executor. Typically, an of-age child or a spouse is chosen. Then, this person follows the judge’s orders as to the handling of the decedent’s property. Consult a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island for case-specific details.
Is Probate Necessary in Washington State?
There’s no legal requirement for probate in Washington State even if the person left no will. Why, then, would anyone file? The two most prevalent reasons for probate filings are because the decedent’s assets exceed $100,000 or they had real property in their own name. For an estate of less than $100,000, the representative may be able to use a Small Estate Affidavit.
How to Stay Out of Probate
If it’s possible to avoid probate court, it’s best to do so because the process is public, costly, and slow. Setting up a living trust is one good option, and families can also designate a spouse or someone else as a joint owner.
Find Help Today
Probate is a difficult and time-consuming process, even under optimal circumstances. Whether or not the decedent left a will, it’s best to avoid probate if possible. Visit the firm’s website to learn more about its practice areas or call today to schedule a consultation with a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island.