Everett Probate Attorney Assists with Estate Administration Matters
Washington lawyer helps resolve disputes over wills and related conflicts
Making a will is a crucial step in preserving your family’s well-being when you are gone, but it is equally important that probate matters associated with your estate are handled effectively. At the Law Office of Robert N. Getz, P.S. in Everett, I work with Washington executors and personal representatives to see that wills are successfully probated and that decedent’s expressed wishes are carried out.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process, supervised by the Superior Court of the county where the decedent lived. During probate, the court supervises the administration of the decedent’s estates. An estate is usually administered either by an executor named in the will. If there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative, usually a surviving spouse or other close member of the decedent’s family.
Any disputes over the validity or meaning of the will are resolved during probate. The executor or personal representative has the legal authority to collect the decedent’s property, pay any debts or taxes and distribute the remainder of the property to the appropriate heirs. The process usually takes six months to a year if it doesn’t involve a serious dispute or another type of complication. I provide effective representation to individuals responsible for managing estates throughout the probate process.
How are disputes handled?
Disputes can arise for any number of reasons as an estate is probated. For example, there could be a disagreement over the validity or meaning of the will. A purported beneficiary might bring a breach of fiduciary duty claim against the executor or personal representative. If a dispute does arise, the parties will present evidence and legal arguments in support of their positions and the judge assigned to supervise the administration of the estate will issue an order deciding the matter. I provide skillful advocacy on behalf of estate representatives and other parties in probate disputes of all kinds.
What can I do to stay away from probate?
However, if you want to save your intended beneficiaries the delay and expense associated probate, you can take steps in advance to ensure all or some of your property bypasses the process through various methods of estate planning, such as:
- Joint ownership of property with the person you want to inherit it
- Community property agreements between you and your spouse
- Payable-on-death designations for your bank accounts
- Transferable-on-death registration for your securities
- Transferable-on-death deeds for your real estate
- Living trusts, in which you put your assets into a trust that you control and name a successor trustee to take control on your death
In addition, even when property isn’t protected by these estate planning methods, some estates, such as those with assets of under $100,000, can avoid court supervision during the probate process or even avoid probate entirely. I can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options and prepare all documentation necessary to implement my clients’ choices.
Contact an accomplished Washington probate attorney for a consultation
Whether you need representation in Snohomish or Skagit County probate proceedings or would like to avoid probate, you can trust the Law Office of Robert N. Getz, P.S. in Everett, Washington to help you. To schedule a free 10-minute phone consultation, call me at 866-360-8050 or contact me online.