For many properties, succession is a simple process in Washington. Probate gives someone, usually the surviving spouse or other close family member, authority to pool the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and ultimately transfer assets to the people who inherit them. Succession is the legal process through which assets and other assets pass from you (the deceased) to your beneficiaries after your death. In Washington, probate laws do not always require that an estate proceeding be filed after death, regardless of whether the decedent died with or without a valid will.
It's basically a discretionary procedure, usually because someone wants you to come forward, not because the law requires it. This really depends on the assets and value of the estate, the work done by the personal representative, the creditors' claims and whether the will is being challenged or not. Certain timelines can give you a better understanding of how long the succession can last. For example, creditors can file claims for up to four months (if notified of the decedent's death), and an estate tax return must be filed within nine months of the decedent's death (although this can be extended).
Of course, if family members disagree, if the will is challenged, or if the personal representative is not diligent in his duties, it takes much longer. It can also be quite costly, so the more simplified the probate procedure, the better for the personal representative and for all parties involved. Legalization may be necessary when a person dies leaving a property in their own name (such as a house titled only in the name of the deceased) or having the right to receive the property. As with the federal return, if a Washington return is required, it must be filed within nine months of the date of the decedent's death.
Instead of the will governing the distribution of assets and the appointment of a personal representative, Washington State law governs. When both spouses' names are in bank accounts or real estate, the surviving spouse rarely has trouble accessing bank accounts, and there are other ways to sell real estate when that time comes (through a process called Affidavit of Failure to Succession). Once the personal representative has identified either through designation in the will or appointment by the court, he or she will direct the succession process from start to finish. Usually, anyone who has been appointed executor or personal representative of an estate may wonder if they can receive fair compensation for liquidating an estate through probate.
But, in general, a will is needed when you have assets that can only be obtained by a person with Probate Letters (which you can only get by opening a will) and who has taken on the responsibility of carrying out the succession correctly. If these disputes occur, the succession must be formally conducted, under the supervision and direction of a judge of the Washington State court. For more information on these types of “non-evidentiary” assets, visit the Non-evidentiary Assets page of this site. Through succession, the deceased person's estate is liquidated, including the transfer of assets and assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
Assets placed in a revocable trust will also avoid the probate process, as they have already been transferred to the trust that names specific beneficiaries. But when you're grieving the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is a protracted, complicated and potentially costly succession. The total time required for succession depends on several variables, including the size of the estate, the type of assets and their value and, of course, whether disputes arise between the creditors or beneficiaries of the estate. .