The word “probate” has its origins in the Latin word ‘probare,’ meaning ‘to prove.’ Probate is the process of proving the existence of a validly executed will to the Court in order to appoint the fiduciaries nominated under that will to administer the decedent’s estate. Through the probate process, the Court may admit the will to probate, accepts it as validly executed, and issues an order appointing a personal representative to administer the decedent’s estate. The probate process also affords potential heirs the opportunity to challenge the will’s validity and gives creditors an opportunity to present any claims against the decedent’s estate.
Is Probate Necessary?
Probate is not required to administer a will or an estate under Washington law. However, probate can be necessary to properly administer an estate in many circumstances, including to gain access to the decedent’s safe deposit box, to retitle real property, and to administer larger estates. Even if probate is not required by law or is not the best option for your own individual situation, all wills must still be filed in the proper county within the proper time period following death. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your individual situation, please call us at (206) 420-8710 today or visit our contact page today.
Fiduciary Responsibilities of the Personal Representative
As the personal representative of an estate, you are responsible for properly and efficiently administering the decedent’s estate and winding down their affairs. Under Washington law, the personal representative acts a fiduciary for the beneficiaries and heirs of the decedent’s estate and is reponsible for settling the estate, including the administration of any and all assets and debts of the estate. Sound Advocates Law Group advises and assists personal representatives in estate administration matters, including opening probate proceedings where appropriate. If you have questions about your rights and duties as a personal representative of an estate, contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with an attorney today.