Probate in Washington
  When Someone Dies: Stories of Handling Probate in Washington

I hear so often from people that they just want to avoid probate.  In Washington State, that’s not true. Other states may be difficult and expensive, but Washington has made it very easy to handle a probate.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can handle a probate without an attorney. Likely, you will. Of course, there are challenging circumstances, and so there are going to be challenging probates!  This book is designed to give you some ideas about how things flow, from the easiest scenario to the more difficult. It is not a “do it yourself” manual.

The purposes of probate are pretty straightforward.  First, we protect the family. When someone dies, we want the surviving spouse and the young children to get what they need to maintain the household. There has to be a minimum amount for the spouse (the Homestead Award), and money to live on while things are getting settled (the Family Allowance).  Second, we have to make sure that creditors get paid what they are owed, including the IRS and mortgages. Third, we make sure that the people who are supposed to inherit the remainder of money and assets actually get their fair share. Fourth, we want a reasonably swift settlement of the estate. As you go through the various stories, keep those goals in mind.

Through the links to the chapters on the top, I take you through a series of cases, with each one a little harder than the last. That you can see when things go smoothly and simply and when things get more complicated.