Have you been declared the personal representative of an estate? Where do you start? Now that you know what probate is and what to expect during the process, let’s discuss the first steps!
Probate: First Steps
We’ve dealt with a few homes with Probate over the years. Your first step will be to go to a Probate Court in the county where the deceased person lived. In Washington, you can file probate in any county as long as the deceased was a resident. This is where you’ll file the will, along with a copy of the death certificate and a Petition to be formally appointed as the Personal Representative.
Once you’ve done this, you will receive “Letters” when your request is approved. These “letters”’ are proof of your legal authority to collect and manage the estate’s assets. Keep in mind that it can take up to several weeks or more for you to receive your Letters.
Duties of the Personal Representative
Your responsibility as Personal Representative is to collect, inventory and protect the assets of the estate and pay valid debts and taxes. After debts and taxes have been paid, you will distribute the remaining property as the will directs.
Assemble a Team of Professionals
You will want to have a strong team of professionals available to help you through this process. A good probate attorney, tax professional and, if the estate includes real estate, a strong realtor can help to make the process much easier for you as the personal representative. A realtor, such as myself, who specializes in probate will have access to many high-quality service providers, lawyers, financial planners, etc., to make the process as seamless as possible.
Also, be sure to seek the advice of a lawyer or an attorney as I am not one, but just giving helpful information. I’m Eren Millam w/ Premiere Property Group and remember, Extraordinary Service Delivers Extraordinary Results.