Misconceptions About Probate

In Washington State, probate is an orderly legal process of settling your estate once you die. If you have a valid will, it is admitted to probate by the court and a personal representative to settle the estate and distribute the assets as stated. If you do not have a will, the court applies the laws of intestacy, which will determine how your property gets divided. There are numerous misconceptions about probate, so if you are looking to file for probate, it’s important to understand fact from fiction. Below we discuss the most common misconceptions we hear about probate.

“I can avoid probate because I have a living trust.”

Living trusts have many advantages, however, it may be subject to the personal property affidavit procedure. If the property remains in your name after death, as long as you have a pour-over will that provides for any assets that are already not in your living trust, your trustee should be able to obtain the asset. It can then be transferred into the trust and that is how you can avoid probate. If this is not the case, a probate proceeding will likely be necessary. So, if you have a living trust, you will need to ensure you do use it for all of your assets and not inadvertently take title to it in your own name and forget to retitle it in your living trust.

“I can avoid probate because I have a will.”

There are a number of things to consider because it depends on the nature and character of your property, your interest in it, the identities of the person(s) your property goes to and much more. Some other factors include your marital status and how your property is already titled. If it’s a joint tenancy, it will pass outside of probate to the surviving joint tenants. If it is listed in a trust and your interest in it is only as beneficiary, then it will pass outside of probate according to the trust. If the property is in your name and your separate property, it may require a probate proceeding. These are a few factors to consider, but whether or not you have a will, probate may still be required.

Discussing your specific circumstances with an experienced attorney will help you understand the process. Here at DAL Law Firm, Attorney Darcel Lobo has helped many clients understand and go through probate proceedings. If there are questions you are unclear about, feel free to give us a call or text today. Contact us at (206) 408-8158 or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to helping you today.

Contact us:

19803 1st Avenue S.
Suite 200
Normandy Park, WA 98148

T (206) 408-8158
F (206) 374-2810

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