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Probate, Trust and Estate Administration Law in Washington State

 

David Meyer, Probate Attorney located in Bellevue Washington

David Meyer has been representing individuals and estates in Bellevue, Washington for over 35 years.  He provides a broad spectrum of experience and knowledge when assisting his clients in their probate, trust and estate administration matters.  If you have any needs concerning these matters contact David Meyer at 425-455-1002 or david@meyerlaw.net.  The following are some basic concepts dealt with in estate planning and probate.

Probate Law in Washington State

What is probate?

Probate is a process in which a Court appoints someone to administer your estate and distribute it in accordance with the terms of your Will or under the laws of intestate succession.

What if there is a Will?

If there is a Will, the Will is presented to the Court to authenticate.  The Court will then appoint the person nominated in the Will to be the executor if the person is qualified to act and there is no sustainable objection made.

What if there is no Will?

If there is no Will, there is a priority of individuals that qualify to be appointed as administrator of the estate.  If there is no Will, the property is distributed according to the laws of intestate succession.

What is a Personal Representative?

A person designated by the Will to administer the probate. This person can also be called an Executor if nominated in the Will.  If there is no Will, the Court appoints an Administrator as the Personal Representative.

Is there a way to reduce the cost of dealing with an estate?

Nonintervention Probate reduces the need for WA Court intervention

In Washington, if the estate is solvent, the Personal Representative is normally granted nonintervention powers so long as the estate is solvent.  This allows the Personal Representative to administer the estate without the Court’s intervention.

This means that the Personal Representative can sell or otherwise dispose of property without having to secure the Court’s approval. This keeps the cost of administration to a minimum and greatly reduces the amount of work of the Personal Representative.

What is an Intervention Probate?

An intervention probate is usually required only in insolvent estates.

However, when there are problems in performance by Personal Representatives or between parties involving solvent estates the Court may revoke or deny nonintervention powers.

In an intervention probate the Personal Representative must obtain approval of the Court before selling property and compromising any potential rights or interests the estate might have. Annual accountings are also required to be filed with the Court.

What is Ancillary Probate?

An Ancillary probate is a probate proceeding conducted in a different state from the one the deceased person resided in at the time of death. Usually, ancillary probate proceedings are necessary if the deceased person owned real estate in another state or country.

What if I disagree with the other heirs or Personal Representative?

Estate or Probate Lawsuit (Litigation)

A lawsuit involving an Estate or involving the probate.  The issue is a matter of differences of opinion among the parties.

While all the parties are looking at the same facts and circumstances, one party sees one thing, believes it is important, and comes to one conclusion; another party concentrates on another thing, believes something else is more important, and arrives at a conflicting conclusion.

Usually the other party will be the Personal Representative, but it may be someone else who has another interest in the estate, such as another heir or beneficiary, or someone entirely new, such as somebody claiming title to property in the estate or a creditor.

What is Will Contest?

When someone believes that there is a reason that a specific Will is not valid.

Chief among the grounds for a will contest is that the Will was not executed properly;

  • the testator lacked testamentary capacity (the ability to make a Will—for example, he was senile when he left his estate to the named beneficiary);
  • undue influence (the evil sister hypnotized her dying brother into leaving her the whole estate);
  • fraud (the evil brother retyped a page of the Will to give himself the Porsche collection).

What steps should I do if I have just lost a loved one?

You should contact David Meyer of Bellevue Washington at 425-455-1002 or david@meyerlaw.net to discuss your circumstances.