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Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a valid will. If there is no will, then the estate is distributed according to Washington law.
What is Probate?
A probate interprets the instructions of the deceased through the named personal representative in the will. There is usually no court intervention in the state of Washington, so all matters of distribution are handled by the personal representative and the attorney for the estate.
What if There is No Will?
If there is no will, a personal representative is named when he/she petitions the court to be named the personal representative. In this instance, the personal representative named is usually a family member qualified to handle the probate. He/she then determines the parties who may have claims against the estate and who should receive shares of the decedent’s property.
How Long Does Probate in Washington State Last?
The probate process takes approximately six months for a simple estate. A Notice to Creditors is required to be published in a newspaper in the county where the person died, and any creditors are given four months to contact the personal representative of the estate concerning any alleged debts owed by the deceased. More complicated and extensive estates generally take more time.
You should consult an attorney with any questions you may have concerning the probate of an estate.