Not only are you forced to deal with the emotions of losing a loved one, but you may have to help finalize the estate. Washington and many other states in the nation require probate before the courts are able to disperse assets and property left in the last will and testament.
Whether creating an estate plan or dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death, it is important to know what the probate process entails and the circumstances that surround this somewhat overwhelming process.
What is probate?
Before beneficiaries receive the property left to them by the deceased, it may pass through the probate process. During this time, the court and/or the deceased’s personal representative gathers the property and assets involved in the estate and determines the overall value. Any remaining debt or expenses owed by the estate is then paid out of the estate’s value. Finally, the executor distributes the remaining assets and property to the beneficiaries named in the last will and testament.
What estates go through probate?
Not all estates must go through probate. According to Washington statutes, an estate can bypass the probate process if it involves any of the following circumstances:
- Property or assets are in an account with a transferable on death notification
- Estate’s net worth is less than $100,000
- Property or assets are in a trust, which pays out directly to the beneficiaries
In some cases, you can plan your estate in such a way that will prevent probate once you pass. Not only does this make it easier on family members, but you can ensure your beneficiaries receive everything you want them to have.