Probate is not a requirement in Washington. This means that probate only happens if someone requests it. However, there are certain exceptions and legitimate reasons for filing probate.
If you have questions about probate assets in Washington, this article provides a basic overview of the process.
Why file probate?
Probate is an option to consider when someone dies and leaves behind a title to real property or personal property exceeding $100,000. If a will exists, you must send it to the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court of the decedent’s county to proceed with probate. Revised Code of Washington 11.20.010 requires this regardless of whether you file for probate or not. Next, the assets of the diseased need categorization and totaling.
What is a probate asset?
Anything that is a probate asset is subject to distribution among heirs. Probate assets include property held in the deceased’s name and property owned jointly by a spouse – unless the property falls under a Community Property Agreement. Once correctly classified, distribution through probate can begin. This involves taking the deceased’s name off the property and issuing a new title with the heir’s name on it. Half of the property’s value still in possession of the spouse must remain in their name.
Determining probate property is not always clear, especially if multiple heirs claim a right to it. Contact an attorney specializing in probate if you have any questions about a deceased’s estate and how to distribute it. It is vital to get the process right, especially for highly valued estates under contention.