Learning how to navigate the probate litigation process can be very difficult and time-consuming. especially when dealing with the loss of a family member. In this blog post, we outline five things you need to know when dealing with a Washington State home in probate.
What Is Probate Exactly?
Probate litigation is the judicial process that occurs after someone passes away. The main functions of probate litigation are to pay off debts left by the deceased and to pass on inheritances to their heirs. While probate laws are different in each state, there are some general things you can expect no matter what state the property is located in.
Do you need probate to inherit or sell a home? In Washington State, you need to be the legal owner or executor of the estate to sell a property. To become the legal owner of a home after someone passes away in Washington State, you usually need to go through the probate process. One common exception is if the property is if co-owners own the property in joint tenancy. Property owned in joint tenancy passes to the surviving owners automatically when the owner dies. This is most common with spouses. Each owner must own equal shares of the property. When a will is present, an executor will already be assigned by the deceased. However, if no will was left, the courts assign an executor to facilitate the process.
The Will Needs To Be Proven Valid
When someone passes away, the court will need to be notified to open a probate case. This is where the will must be provided, along with any documentation proving that it is indeed valid. A few requirements of a valid will include the intent, the legal age of 18 when signed, and that two witnesses were present to observe the signature and the date in which it was signed. The will needs to be created voluntarily, by someone who is of sound mind to do so in order to be considered legal with the courts.
You Will Need To Notify Creditors and Heirs
After your loved one passes away, you will need to notify all creditors and potential heirs that you are opening a probate case. In some instances, you may even need to put a notice in the paper. You will need to use the estate to pay off all valid debts such as credit cards and personal loans. And don’t forget about Uncle Sam. When handling probate, you’ll need to file tax returns for the deceased and address any inheritance taxes that are due.
You’ll Need To Take Inventory Of The Entire Estate
In addition to real estate, the courts will need to know about other investments such as stocks, bonds, cards, deeds, bank accounts, or any other high-value items. These items will be taken into account when paying off debts from entitled creditors as well as when assets are distributed between beneficiaries. For this part of the process, it is a good idea to work with a probate attorney to ensure everything is properly discovered and accurately recorded.
The Process Can Be Time Consuming
If you are responsible as the executor of the estate, you may find yourself dealing with paperwork, phone calls, and court hearings that can take up a good amount of time. Probate in Washington typically takes six to twelve months. When a will is present, things will typically move along faster than if one wasn’t. Having a will puts a plan in place leaving little to be decided by the courts. Some probate cases can be wrapped up in a matter of months, while others can take a couple of years to be completed if there is a court dispute over the will or assets or debts the complicate things. Having everything together and organized ahead of time will make the whole probate process go much more smoothly.
Did You Know That You Can Sell The Property While In Probate?
A quick and easy solution is to simply sell the property in probate. If the estate is intestate, meaning no will is present, the house will need to be sold through the probate courts, which is a highly regulated process. There are court fees (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 36.18.020) and specific processes that must be followed. Consult with a local attorney to help navigate the process.
However, if an estate is testate, meaning there is a will present, the executor can request permission from the courts to sell the property on their own without court intervention. This is ideal for those who want to avoid court costs and retain more control over the process. For those who want to save even more money, quickly selling your inherited property to a professional home buyer who is familiar with probate processes and rules may be an ideal solution. When working with Kind House Buyers, you won’t have to pay any of the costs you will likely incur when working with a Seattle or Washington State realtor. For example, you won’t be faced with agent commissions, repair bills, or any marketing expenses trying to sell the property on your own.
Many times, heirs are surprised by property left to them in a will. They may not want to own it or be financially prepared to do so. When the latter is the case, spending extra money on listing costs, repairs, and upgrades will likely be out of the question. By selling their inherited Seattle, WA home directly to a cash buyer, they’ll be able to quickly sell, pay off any debts and divide the sale proceeds amongst all the heirs as it’s laid out by the WA Court.
Before you think about selling your inherited property in Seattle, make sure you have the authority to do so.
We are here to help you with your Seattle probate property! Reach out to us today for more information! (253) 216-2497
Disclaimer: This post is informational only and what we have found to be true from our experience. This is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you require legal advice in a probate transaction, we strongly suggest talking to a probate attorney.