What is probate?

In Washington, if you own real estate or have assets in excess of $100,000 when you die your estate will need to go through the probate process. Washington, in comparison to other states, has a streamlined probate process. 

If you own no real estate and have assets less than $100,000 when you die your estate can make use of a Small Estate Affidavit.

Some assets are not subject to probate. These include:

  • Life insurance policies go directly to the named beneficiary.  
  • Payable on Death bank accounts or accounts owned with right of survivorship.
  • Titled property held as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship.
  • Retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts.
  • Revocable living trusts.

How does probate work?

Probate is a court-managed process during which the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed according to the terms of the deceased's will. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate but on average take about a year to complete.