Washington Probate | Inheritance Advances in Washington
If you recently became an heir in Washington, you may have questions about how to collect your inheritance. Partnering with Inheritance Funding makes the Washington state probate process straightforward so you can get your money without delay. Contact us at 1-855-852-3405 to learn more!
Probate Process in Washington
The Washington probate process serves a vital purpose. When a resident of Washington dies, the Washington probate courts oversee the distribution of all assets and belongings left behind. They first appoint a representative to be in charge of the estate, collect and itemize all assets and monetary accounts, ensure they pay outstanding debts and determine the validity of any existing wills. Finally, when you complete all steps to the court’s satisfaction, they authorize the distribution of inheritance funds to the rightful heirs.
Review the steps of the probate process from the personal representative’s perspective:
- Open probate: Petition the court to locate the decedent’s validly executed will if one exists.
- Notify the appropriate parties: The personal representative must provide notice of the appointment to the role to individuals named in the will and any heirs not listed in the document.
- Notify the state’s Department of Health and Human Services: This agency requires notification so it can determine whether the decedent or heirs owe child support.
- Gather assets and prepare an inventory: Review the decedent’s assets and create a list of them, including a valuation of each item.
- Identify debts: Review the decedent’s financial records to identify any outstanding loans or other obligations.
- Notify creditors: Inform the decedent’s creditors of the death. These entities have up to two years to file a claim against the estate.
- Manage assets during distribution: Set up bookkeeping and perform other duties for managing and protecting the assets during distribution.
- Distribute the assets: After paying all expenses and satisfying the creditors’ claims, it’s time to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.
- Close the probate: File a declaration with the court to close the estate. Closing will occur automatically after 30 days if there are no beneficiary objections.
Is Probate Required in Washington?
Washington state probate law does require heirs to enter the probate process to settle most estates. There are two main methods for avoiding probate in Washington state.
The first is if the estate qualifies as a small or simple estate in which the total value is less than $100,000. Under the simplified probate, any person inheriting the estate must prepare an affidavit stating they will receive certain assets.
The second method applies to solvent estates. It enables the personal representative to distribute the estate’s assets and heirs without supervision from the probate court. An estate can also enter this simplified process if the court determines that this process is in the best interest of the estate’s creditors and beneficiaries.
How Long Does Probate Take in Washington?
The main issue associated with the probate process in Washington state is that heirs cannot access the money left by their loved ones while the estate is in probate. The probate timeline depends on the estate size, asset value and any disputes that arise during the process.
If an estate is small or has few beneficiaries, the process may take a couple of months. During this process, there must be enough time to notify heirs and creditors, file affidavits and paperwork and disperse estate assets. However, completing the probate process can take a year or longer if any complications or disputes arise.
Another factor impacting how long probate takes is how quickly one files for probate after death. Washington has no specific timeline if there isn’t a will. However, if there is a will, you must file it within 40 days of the individual’s death. It is also essential to choose the correct court, as you must file with the Superior Court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death.
Here’s an expedited 4 ½ month timeline for an expedited probate process, although six to nine months is more realistic:
- The personal representative receives the Letters Testamentary, a court-issued document verifying the individual’s appointment to oversee the estate, one week after the decedent passes away.
- By the end of the second week, the personal representative publishes the notification to alert creditors to the decedent’s passing. Creditors have four months to file a claim.
- When the statute of limitations for creditor claims expires — after 18 weeks in this scenario, the personal representative should have verified that all heirs and beneficiaries are willing to sign the required documentation to receive their estate distribution.
- The personal representative can distribute the inheritance and begin to close the estate.
How Much Does Probate Cost in Washington?
The probate costs in Washington include several fixed costs. While these expenses vary depending on the jurisdiction, they average approximately $350. For example, you could pay $200 for the Superior Court filing fee, $100 to publish a probate notice for creditors and $50 for out-of-pocket expenses, such as copying and mailing.
There are also many potential costs associated with the probate process, including the personal representative’s commission — which may be waived if an heir or beneficiary assumes this role — and appraiser and accountant fees.
In many cases, it’s necessary to hire an attorney to handle the legal aspects of the probate process in Washington. These costs vary widely depending on the firm’s fee schedule and the size and complexity of the estate. The court will likely accept a “just and reasonable” fee that covers necessary work and does not include repetitive charges.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in Washington?
Washington follows intestate succession laws, which dictate who gets someone’s assets if they die without a will.
For example, if a married decedent had no will, the assets their spouse receives will depend on whether they owned their property as a separate or community property. If they owned community property, the property would pass directly to the spouse, while any non-community assets would need to undergo the probate process. Though the state of Washington does not have an inheritance tax, residents are subject to an estate tax, which may impact the total amount of money their descendants receive.
How to Determine Next of Kin in Washington
The next of kin is the closest living blood relative of a deceased individual and includes spouses and adopted family members. This designation is crucial when someone dies without leaving a will because it determines the priority for receiving an inheritance.
In Washington, the proper order for the distribution of the inheritance to the next of kin is:
- Surviving spouse
- Uncles and aunts
The process requires the personal representative to move down the list until a qualified living individual is found. For example, if the decedent had no spouse, the children would be first in line to receive the inheritance.
A next-of-kin heir can only receive the assets that are part of the probate estate. If the decedent didn’t own any probate-eligible assets, there might be nothing to inherit. Also, the heir must meet Washington’s 120-hour survival requirement to inherit from an intestate estate.
Delays to Your Inheritance in Washington
The key problem with the process of probate in Washington is that it takes an extremely long time from start to finish. While probate in Washington is in process, heirs are not able to access the money their loved one wanted them to have. To make matters worse, the average estate in the US takes a full year and a half to finally distribute the inheritance money to the heirs. This fact is shocking to most heirs in Washington and elsewhere who are understandably unfamiliar with the process. Having a rightful inheritance blocked for years by a legal process can prove very frustrating.
Access Your Inheritance in Washington Immediately
With an inheritance advance from Inheritance Funding, you can access the money your loved one meant for you to have right away. The process is fast and easy and you decide how much of your inheritance you’d like to receive immediately. Whether you have bills to pay, car payments to make, home improvements, vacation plans, etc. — the money is yours to use however you’d like.
Inheritance Funding has helped heirs since 1992 and has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in inheritance money. We have the expertise and size to help you immediately. Let our friendly staff give you a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re more than happy to walk you through the process of probate in Washington and answer all of your questions regarding Washington probate. Unlike with a loan, there are no hidden fees, no monthly payments and credit and income are never an issue. There’s no need to wait years for what’s yours — call us today and access your money right away.
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