How Long Does Probate Take?

Probate is a court supervised process where the ownership of property of a deceased person is distributed and administered.

The purpose of probate proceedings is to allow the decedent’s Personal Representative or Administrator to take possession and preserve a decedent’s property, pay debts and settle the decedent’s affairs with the right beneficiaries. Depending on each case, probate can be slightly different and the timeline for how long the process takes can also differ. Below we go over the general overview of the process and a timeline of what it could take.

Washington State allows for two simplified probate procedures; an affidavit that does not involve the probate court and a settlement without court intervention which despite its name, does involve the probate court. The affidavit procedure can be used if the value of the probate assets is less than $100,000. The settlement without court intervention can be used:

    • If the estate has adequate assets to pay debts and taxes
    • If there is a will, the personal representative named in the will petitions the court
    • If there is no will, the surviving spouse petitions the court
    • If the court determines it would be in the best interest of the beneficiaries and creditors

Depending on the assets and value of the estate, the work that is performed by the personal representative or administrator, the claim of creditors and whether or not the will is being contested, can depend on the timeframe of probate. Most probates can be done in eight months to a year, but any litigation or contesting of the case can extend the timeline. For example, an estate tax return must be filed within nine months of the decedent’s death, but it may also be extended, which is another factor that can prolong the proceeding. Of course, there is the possibility of family members disagreeing, the will being contested or the personal representative not being diligent in their duties, which would all extend the process considerably.

Once all assets have been acquired and all debts are paid, the probate can usually be closed. We can work with you to determine the proper disbursement and timeline of the proceeding to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here at DAL Law Firm, we understand that proceeding with probate while grieving can be a difficult time, but we are committed to making the process as simple as possible. Give us a call today at (206) 408-8158 to schedule a consultation to speak with the attorney.

Contact us:

19803 1st Avenue S.
Suite 200
Normandy Park, WA 98148

T (206) 408-8158
F (206) 374-2810

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