King County Probates (2024)

Verified Petition (PDF) (Word). The Petition is the document that describes your case to the court. To create a "verified" Petition, you sign a declaration at the end swearing under penalty of perjury that everything in the Petition is correct. The Petition should contain facts that give the court jurisdiction over the matter, such as who you are, when the decedent died, whether there was a will, whether the estate is solvent, who are the heirs, and what you are asking for. If there is no will, you'll need a different Petition for starting a probate without a will (PDF) (Word). For the process of starting a probate without a will, visit the No Will page.

Will. If you have an original will (and codicil, if applicable), the commissioner will need to see this document in person. Any will you present must be an original and must include an affidavit from the people who witnessed the execution of the will, which usually appears at the end of the will as an attachment. This makes a will "self-proving," which is very important.If a will is not self-proving, the witnesses must either (1) appear for the hearing to testify regarding the execution of the will or (2) sign a Declaration of Witness to Will (see below). If all you have is a copy of the will, the process for admitting the copy is more complicated, and you should see the page on Admitting Copy of Will to Probate.

Declaration of Witness to Will (PDF)(Word). To admit a will to probate, it must be self-proving, meaning that it must have a declaration or affidavit signed by each witness describing the circ*mstances surrounding the signing of the will. Most wills have this "attestation" page or provision at the end of the will. If your will does not, you need to get a Declaration from the two witnesses in order to admit the will to probate.

Order Appointing Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word). For an estate in which one of the heirs or beneficiaries is under the age of 18 or otherwise incapacitated, the Ex Parte Commissioner will appoint a probate guardian ad litem (GAL) to look after the interests of that minor/incapacitated heir or beneficiary. The GAL is normally an attorney who has knowledge of probate law who the court trusts to ensure that the incapacitated person receives what he or she is entitled to. The court will not appoint the parent of the child as the GAL. For more information on this process, visit the page on minor beneficiaries.

Order Appointing Limited Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word). For certain estates, the appointment of a full probate guardian ad litem may seem unnecessary. This can be the case when the estate is small, or when a will names a minor as a beneficiary, but the minor’s share of the estate is passing to a trust. In such cases, the court has an order it uses to appoint a probate guardian ad litem with limited powers to investigate certain narrow issues.

Fiduciary Bond.If you file a probate without a will, the Ex Parte Commissioner will likely require you to post a bond before you can receive Letters Testamentary from the court clerk. A bond is a type of insurance policy that protects beneficiaries, creditors and others parties interested in the estate from you stealing from the estate or otherwise mismanaging it. You will need to find a surety company who will issue this fiduciary bond to you. Once the bond is received, you'll need to return to Ex Parte to have the Commissioner sign the bond before obtaining the Letters Testamentary from the court clerk. Companies that issue such bonds can be found by googling "fiduciary bond for probates in Seattle."

Ex Parte Notice of Court Date. This form, one for Seattleand another for Kent, is for situations where you need to schedule a hearing on the Ex Parte calendar, such as if you need to admit a copy of a will to probate or schedule a hearing on your request for nonintervention powers.This form can be found on the King County Clerk’s forms page. Look for the form called “Notice of Court Date - Ex Parte.”

Declaration of Mailing of Hearing Notice(PDF)(Word).If you are forced to schedule a hearing, the court will need to ensure that proper notice is provided to all parties requiring notice. You should file the Declaration of Mailing with the court clerk before the scheduled hearing, but also have a copy available for review by the Ex Parte Commissioner. Do not forget to write in the city where you signed the Declaration and the date you signed it.

Notice Re Probate Case (PDF) (Word). Currently, the King County Clerk will provide you a document called a Notice Re Probate Case when you file a new probate. Some attorneys bring this document with them and stamp it with the case number when they file a new probate, but currently you are not required to bring your own with you. This document describes the importance of administering a probate as quickly as possible. It also warns that if your probate will last longer than twelve months, you will need to provide the Court and each party a Statement of Case Status (see below under Closing Documents). The Notice Re Probate Case should be mailed to each heir and beneficiary with the Notice of Appointment.

King County Probates (2024)

FAQs

How long does probate take in King County Washington? ›

There is no set time period that a probate must remain open. It is a matter of how long it takes to marshal the decedent's assets, get his or her name off of titles to property, sell assets, pay all creditors, and take care of taxes. This need not take a long time.

Can you probate without a will in King County? ›

When someone passes away with no will, administering the estate is no different than if there was a will. You still must give notice to the heirs, manage creditors, handle taxes, and close the estate properly.

Why avoid probate in Washington State? ›

Here are five common reasons why you may want to avoid probate: Reduce costs. Probate proceedings often involve legal fees, which can be substantial, especially if the estate is complex or contested. The estate's assets pay these fees, reducing the amount ultimately distributed to heirs or beneficiaries.

What is the threshold for probate in Washington State? ›

Legally, you will need a probate (either an adjudication or a traditional probate) if Decedent's probate assets include: A net value of over $100,000 of personal property, or. Any real property that you choose not to or cannot Administer by Affidavit.

How long does an executor have to settle an estate in WA? ›

So long as no Objection to your Declaration of Completion is timely filed at the Court and served on you, the estate will effectively close 30 days after filing your Declaration of Completion (the “Effective Date”). You will retain authority for 5 business days thereafter solely to make and complete Final Distribution.

What is the time limit for probate in WA? ›

How long do I have to file? The Executor to the Will must file an application for a Grant of Probate within 6 months of the deceased's date of death.

Which of the following items will pass through probate? ›

This can include vehicles, land, houses, bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, bonds, and business interests. If your name is the only name listed on the deed, title, or account, then the items won't pass on to your beneficiaries without going through the probate process first.

Does Washington State have a transfer on death deed? ›

To streamline this process, Washington State has adopted the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act. This law allows for the transfer of title to your real estate on death to your designated beneficiaries while avoiding the costs and delays of probate using what is called a “transfer on death deed.”

Who inherits an estate without a will in Washington State? ›

Under those laws, if you are married your spouse gets all of the community property. Your spouse will also get some portion of your separate property. How much your spouse receivers depends on your family situation. If you are not married, your children or their descendants split all of your property.

What is the disadvantage of probate? ›

The probate procedure is expensive, drawn-out, and intrusive. The costs associated with the court, legal counsel, personal representatives, bonds, and accounting all add up and can create a much bigger ordeal than expected.

Do all wills in Washington state go through probate? ›

Probate proceedings are not necessary for all estates. Factors including the value, nature, and titling of assets de- termines whether a probate is required. Washington law provides a simpli- fied procedure for the transfer of assets in a small estate when the value of such does not exceed $100,000.

How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in WA? ›

Executors can provide certified copies of the Will and Death Certificate to access and deal with the deceased's assets. Typically, asset holders do not require Probate where an asset has a value of less than $50,000, however, sometimes the threshold is $20,000.

How much does it cost to go through probate in Washington state? ›

How much does probate cost? Superior Court filing fee: $200. Publication of Probate Notice to Creditors: $100 (approximate – see State-wide examples). Out of pocket expenses (copying, mailing, etc.): Likely small, eg, $50.

How long does probate usually take in Washington state? ›

Probate in Washington typically takes six months to a year. It can take much longer if there is a court fight over the will (which is rare) or if the estate has unusual assets or debts that complicate matters. Unless there is a dispute, it's mainly a matter of filing paperwork.

What are nonprobate assets in Washington state? ›

Generally, nonprobate assets are those that will not pass to heirs or beneficiaries during probate, but will instead pass upon a person's death under a written instrument or arrangement other than the person's will. (Nonprobate assets given away using a super will are an exception.)

How much probate do you pay in WA? ›

This is the charge imposed by the Supreme Court of Western Australia in order to lodge an application for Probate in WA. In Western Australia the Probate Application Filing Fee is a flat fee of $370, regardless of the value of the estate.

What are the steps for probate in Washington state? ›

This process requires you to take the following steps:
  1. Open probate. ...
  2. Notify all interested parties of your appointment as personal representative. ...
  3. Notify the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). ...
  4. Gather assets and information. ...
  5. Prepare an inventory and appraisem*nt. ...
  6. Determine debts. ...
  7. Notify creditors.

How does probate work in WA? ›

Probate is a certificate granted by the Probate Office of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. It means that the deceased's will has been proved as valid and registered, and that an executor has been granted authority to administer the deceased estate. Probate may be granted in solemn form or in common form.

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