In the state of Washington, it is common that you distribute assets after a time of probate. 

However, in various circumstances, this legal process is not necessary. 

Amount of money 

When a person passes away and leaves an estate behind, those items and cash typically need to be formally processed. This occurs even without a valid will. However, any amount of personal property under $100,000 does not lead to probate. 

This process begins almost immediately after the person’s death. Generally, 40 days is the accepted period of time to officially start filing papers. 

Official process 

Once probate begins, a personal representative usually is in charge of the process. This is someone who takes into consideration all aspects of an estate and is responsible for executing the person’s will. One responsibility of this role includes paying any bills left over from before the decedent passed away. 

Any amount of real estate with a title in the deceased’s name does have to go through this process. However, if the decedent’s debts exceed the amount of assets left over after the process, then probate may be necessary. 

Properties and accounts 

In many situations, a couple may own a piece of real estate or joint property together. When only one spouse is still alive, it is typical that due to community property laws, he or she can legally own the place without going through probate. 

In addition, many retirement accounts and life insurance policies are eligible for bypassing probate at the time of the deceased spouse’s passing. Revocable trusts, typically written and altered before the death of the descendent, also may avoid the probate process.