Nobody wants to think about what will happen after they pass away, but planning ahead can make life easier for your loved ones when the time comes. While it's essential to create a will and other documents designating how assets should be divided upon death, these steps may not guarantee that everything flows smoothly before those assets are distributed.
When handling an estate in Washington, one of the extra tasks a loved one might face is dealing with probate. If your loved one doesn't know where to start, it can add another layer of worry on top of an already trying situation. However, following some simple steps ahead of time can help ensure that everyone involved has peace of mind knowing their interests are protected throughout the process.
The Washington Probate Process
The Washington probate process generally involves the following:
- Gathering information about the deceased's assets;
- Determining who should inherit them;
- Ensuring that debts are paid off; and,
- Distributing inheritances according to state law.
Although going through the probate process can be overwhelming and time-consuming, having a plan may help alleviate some worries during this difficult time. If you want to reduce the hassle your loved ones may have to go through in the event of your passing, making preparations now can be a great way to ensure they don't need to face a potentially lengthy and costly probate process.
Tips for Gathering Documents and Collecting Assets
When probating a loved one's estate, gathering all the necessary documents and collecting their assets can seem daunting. The good news is that there are steps you can take to make the entire process easier.
First, carefully review your loved one's will to determine who is responsible for probate and what documents need to be gathered. It's important to collect any financial records of the deceased such as banking or investment accounts, life insurance policies, or incidences of ownership of property. It's also essential to contact banks, trusts renewal offices, and other entities with whom the deceased may have held accounts. Additionally, you'll want to scan funeral bills and any other invoices that may be owed to include in your final closing statement for probate approval.
Understanding The Role of an Executor
Being the executor of an estate may seem overwhelming. But this role is essential as part of the probate process. It involves navigating paperwork, making informed decisions, and ensuring compliance with local probate law.
Fortunately, thanks to its well-organized forms and procedures, Washington's probate process is relatively straightforward. To make the process easier, executors must understand their legal duties as they are outlined in state law. With some preparation and guidance from a probate attorney, being the executor of an estate can be a meaningful way to carry out the wishes of a cherished family member or friend.
Why an Experienced Probate Attorney is a Must
Going through the probate process when a loved one passes away can be especially difficult. Having an experienced probate attorney to help guide you can make this difficult journey a little easier.
A knowledgeable attorney familiar with probate laws in Washington State can be critically important; they will help manage necessary documents and paperwork, preventing unnecessary stress and delay. Additionally, if there are contestations concerning the deceased's will or estate, having an experienced lawyer who understands the complexities of the probate court is essential.
It is also helpful to seek out an attorney who has dealt with similar issues before so you know all legal matters are handled competently and compassionately. While no amount of legal guidance can help lessen the pain of losing a loved one, getting assistance from someone who understands what you're going through can be reassuring during a trying time.
When you need a Washington probate attorney, contact Jerimy Kirschner & Associates, PLLC. There is no one size fits all approach to probate, so having Jerimy Kirschner & Associates, PLLC working for you will make everything much smoother. Reach out to our compassionate team online or by phone so we can help you. (206) 203-8802