VOTED BEST ATTORNEY
by the readers of three long-established and trusted
local newspapers
Located 4 blocks north of the Island County Courthouse

One NW Front Street

P.O. Box 1617
Coupeville,
Washington 98239-1617
Voice 360-678-4407
Fax 360-678-5166

         The need to discuss the subject of Probate means someone has died.  This is a distressful and sad occasion for surviving family members.  At McPHERSON & McPHERSON, we strive to be empathetic as well as provide professional and knowledgeable assistance during this time.


         Probate legal consultations should be done by the surviving spouse or the person who is named as Personal Representative (Executor or Executrix) in the Last Will and Testament; or the surviving spouse or the closest relative, in the event there is no Last Will and Testament.  There is no need for anyone else to attend the consultation.


         Unless there are pressing issues, a probate consultation need not be done immediately after the death.  Give yourself time to grieve.

    

 

PROBATE IN WASHINGTON STATE SHOULD NOT BE A LONG OR DREADFUL EXPERIENCE - WE CAN HELP.

        

 

WHAT IS PROBATE?
          

         Simply stated, probate is the process of transferring legal ownership of a deceased person's property.  After someone dies, legal steps must be taken to ensure property owned by that person goes to the rightful new owner.  Just because the family members know that Mom wanted Dad to have her share of ownership of the family home after she died does not mean nothing should be done.  A deed must be prepared transferring title to Dad and that deed must be authorized by law.  This is done through the probate process, which requires the assistance of a lawyer.


         At McPherson & McPherson, probate attorney time is charged at our usual hourly rate, and NOT a percentage of the estate.  Whatever time required is charged, no matter what the monetary value of the estate. We believe this is fair and reasonable.  Obviously, if there are problems with the probate, such as contesting persons, that probate will take more time than a non-contested probate.  (The best way to possibly avoid a contested probate is to have your Last Will and Testament prepared by McPherson & McPherson.  See Wills & Estate Planning).




VARIOUS METHODS OF PROBATE:
REGULAR PROBATE, LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT:
         After the proper paperwork is prepared, a regular probate is started in Superior Court. The Last Will and Testament is filed. Notice to Creditors is published in the appropriate newspaper. Notice is given to the beneficiaries. Four months later, the probate may be closed. During the process, title to property is transferred to the appropriate persons, personal items are given as directed by the deceased, bills are paid, and all assets are distributed as stated in the Last Will and Testament.


REGULAR PROBATE, NO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT:
         Sometimes people die without having a Last Will and Testament. This is not recommended, because if the person had gone to McPherson & McPherson and made his or her Will, everyone involved would know exactly how that person wanted his or her property to be distributed after death. However, if this was not done, a probate still should be filed as outlined in the Regular Probate section, previous. Property is distributed as per Washington State law. 

ADJUDICATION OF TESTACY:

         An Adjudication of Testacy is a shortened version of a Regular Probate with a Last Will and Testament. This can be done in certain cases and it saves some costs. It is not appropriate in many probate situations. We will advise you whether an Adjudication of Testacy will work in your situation.


ADJUDICATION OF INTESTACY:

         An Adjudication of Intestacy is a shortened version of a Regular Probate, no Last Will and Testament. This can be done in certain cases and it saves some costs. It is not appropriate in many probate situations. We will advise you whether an Adjudication of Intestacy will work in your situation.


PROBATE VIA COMMUNITY PROPERTY AGREEMENT:
         Probate via Community Property Agreement is done only by a surviving spouse and only if the couple signed a Community Property Agreement before the death of the first deceased spouse. CAUTION: Many surviving spouses think nothing needs to be done when the first spouse dies if the couple had a Community Property Agreement. This is not the case. Appropriate documents must be filed and deeds must be prepared transferring title to real estate, and the like.


         Probate via Community Property Agreement is less expensive and quicker than other forms of probate. We will be pleased to help you with this process.




   CALL(360) 678-4407