Probate is the legal process for transferring your property when you pass away.
When a person dies, his or her property passes either directly or by way of a Will, or by statute if no Will has been prepared.
Non-probate assets are those assets that pass directly. Such assets include life insurance proceeds, accounts with beneficiary designations, and assets titled as “joint tenancy with right of survivorship” and trust assets. Property subject to a Community Property Agreement will also pass to the surviving spouse, avoiding the probate process.
Assets that do not pass directly are probate assets. Probate proceedings provide for the orderly transfer of property while protecting those who might have an interest in the property, including beneficiaries, heirs and creditors.
Is Probate Necessary?
Where a person’s estate is less than $100,000 and does not include any real property, assets may be passed by way of an affidavit procedure, which provides for a swift transfer of small estates.
If all assets are subject to beneficiary designations or a community property agreement or pass by way of a trust, then probate may not be necessary. Probate is required when assets cannot pass by any of these methods.
In Washington, most probate proceedings are relatively simple. Fees for probating an estate are not based on the percentage of the estate, unlike other jurisdictions, such as California.
We recognize that it is a most difficult time when your loved one dies. We provide advice and guidance to help you navigate through the steps necessary to administer the probate estate.
If you would like to discuss questions about Probate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509.468.0551.