Probate is a legal process designed to impose a time limit and bar on creditor claims, obtain payment for valid creditor claims, and transfer ownership to heirs, devisees, and legatees. Probate does not have to be expensive or complicated. Our office has years of experience representing personal representatives, administrators, executors, heirs, beneficiaries and creditors.

We take the time to listen to our clients. We take the time to understand their goals. We think outside the box and formulate creative solutions. We put our years of experience to work to make the probate process easier for our clients, protect their rights, save money, and avoid disputes before they start.

Probate usually begins with the appointment of a personal representative (sometimes called an administrator or executor). Effectively, the personal representative steps into the decedent’s shoes, acts on behalf of the estate, and winds up their affairs. In most cases, probate is not as bad as you’ve heard. Washington State has one of the simplest probate processes in the country. Usually, the personal representative may act without court intervention or posting a bond. The process can sometimes be completed in a few months, and usually includes –

  • Filing the will and a petition with the court;
  • Gathering debt and asset information;
  • Sending a notice to the heirs, legatees, and devisees;
  • Providing notice to creditors;
  • Creating an inventory of the assets;
  • Tracking expenses and time;
  • Managing assets during estate administration;
  • Paying valid creditor claims submitted prior to the legal deadlines;
  • Paying taxes and filing tax returns;
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries; and
  • Closing the probate.

If a dispute is likely, or has already arisen, our team is happy to help you protect rights while minimizing expense. We also help clients through complex probates and probates involving will and testamentary trust interpretation, removal of personal representatives, family support awards, omitted spouse claims, real estate transfers, mediation, trust and estate resolution agreements, spousal rights, rights of partners in committed intimate relationships, community property issues, rights of joint owners and real estate co-tenants, creditor claims against the estate, title issues, and accountings. And we help clients quickly and economically resolve simple probates. Please contact our team and learn how a Bellingham probate lawyer can help you.

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