Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It generally involves establishing that a will is valid, appointing someone to carry out the terms of the will, paying all debts and taxes, and then distributing the estate under the terms of the will. This process is called probating a will.
A person’s estate can still be probated even if they do not have a will. If there is property that needs to be distributed, it follows laws established in these situations, known as laws of intestate succession. These complicated laws establish what percentage family members receive based on who survives the deceased person; it does not follow a person’s wishes at all.
When a will does not exist, a probate case can still be opened; there are, however, many complications that may arise that would not if there was a will; it also makes it much easier for legal disputes to arise among heirs.
Probate In Washington State
You may have heard that you must avoid probate, or that probate is a terrible thing. You probably heard this from a Californian. In fact, in Washington, the probate process is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, in the country. Probate can seem like a very scary thing. When a person has passed away, court documents are one of many burdens the survivors have to deal with. As a Washington probate lawyer, I help ease that burden. I like that my clients can leave my office knowing that the work is done right, as quickly as possible, while clearly looking out for any problems along the way.