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Spokane Estate & Probate Lawyers / Blog / Probate & Estate Administration / What is Probate, & How long does it take?

What is Probate, & How long does it take?

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Probate is the legal process that occurs after an individual passes away. The decedent’s will is submitted to the Court, and according to the terms of the will, the heirs legally obtain their inheritance.

This process is required to distribute the deceased person’s assets. Many misconceptions about probate exist, and many believe it is expensive and time-consuming. Probate can be relatively quick and inexpensive if everything goes smoothly. However, there are some cases where probate can take longer and cost more. This blog post will discuss probate and when it is required.

What is Probate?

Probate can be defined as “the official proving of a will.” In other words, probate is the legal process of verifying that a will is valid and that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to the terms of the will.

To start the probate process, the executor of the will must file a petition with the probate court. The probate court will notify all interested parties, such as creditors and beneficiaries. Once all interested parties have been notified, they have an opportunity to object to the probate.

If there are no objections, the probate court will issue an order admitting the will to probate and appointing the executor. The executor then has the legal authority to distribute the assets according to the terms of the will.

When is Probate Required?

Probate is not always required to distribute a deceased person’s assets. In some cases, probate can be avoided altogether. For example, probate would not be necessary if the deceased person had all their assets in a trust.

In other cases, probate may be required, but it can be relatively quick and inexpensive. This is typically the case when the deceased person has a small estate, and there are no disputes among the heirs.

However, probate can be more complicated and costly if the deceased person has a large estate or if there are disputes among the heirs. In these cases, probate can take months or even years to complete.

How does the Probate process work?

Our firm will guide you through every step of the probate process, ensuring that all debts are paid, and all needed paperwork is filed with the Court. We understand how difficult this time may be for you, which is why we promise to provide compassionate support throughout the entirety of your case.

If there is a will, the person who manages the estate must be the designated executor. An estate administrator must be chosen if there isn’t a will. Regardless of whether there is or isn’t a will, the administrator or executor will be called upon to appear in Court. This phase allows for the executor’s power over assets and distribution under intestacy laws. If no will exists, intestacy rules apply.

How long can I expect the Probate process to take?

The probate process in Washington State generally can range from around 12 months to a year and a half from the date of a loved one’s death. However, this procedure might take even longer if there are more complicated issues to address in the estate or unique family dynamics.

The assets will be identified and documented on the inheritance tax return, which will be submitted to the Department of Revenue. The estate will also be announced in the local paper so that creditors of the state can confirm whether there are any outstanding debts or unpaid bills.

After the Department of Revenue looks at and approves the inheritance tax return, which can take up to 9 months, an attorney will help the executor or administrator wrap things up with the estate and ensure that everyone who is supposed gets their inheritance.

Contact our firm today to begin this process with our skilled legal team by calling  509-328-2150  or visiting our contact page . We now have offices in Spokane, Kennewick, and Yakima.

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