What is Probate? | WA State Probate TV 001

What is Probate?

I think that everyone kind of knows what probate is. But, until we actually have to deal with it we don’t REALLY know what it is.

If you are here then you’re probably at a point in your life where you’re trying to figure out the ins and outs of probate, or at least more than “it’s what happens when someone dies.”

Before I even get going, though, I want to say one thing – I am sorry for your loss.

It’s never any fun having to deal with this type of thing on top of grieving for your loved one and dealing with the hundreds of other issues that pop up when someone passes away.

There’s no way around it though, so you might as well learn the basics to get you started…

First, probate, generally, is the process of accumulating the assets of the decedent (the person who has died), determining the debts of the decedent, paying off the debts, and distributing the assets to the proper people.

Within those few steps are A LOT of procedural steps that can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the process.

The first thing that happens in a Washington State Probate is starting the process by filing a petition for probate.

Now, if the decedent had a will, you will file one type of petition. If they did not you will file another.

Once that happens the judge will sign an order opening probate and will name someone the Personal Representative (there are a TON of rules about who this person is and how/when they can file).

When this order is signed the person named gets what we in the business call LETTERS.

Once you’ve got letters you’ve got the power to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

Then you can put notice out to all creditors, pay them off, distribute the assets, pay any estate taxes, and wrap everything up.

The whole thing usually takes 6 months to a year, depending on any issues that pop up.

If you want to get the full scoop watch the video (or listen to the audio).

If you have any more questions or think you might want some help, click the link below to schedule a phone or in person strategy session. Looking forward to it!



Christopher Small