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Navigating probate for small estates in Washington

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Washington residents who have gone through the probate process know how tiring it can be. This process is necessary for most estates, as it allows the court to determine whether the estate plan is authentic.

How rough the general probate process is depends entirely on the size of the estate. If you have a particularly small or straightforward estate, you might be able to bypass the probate process with a small estate affidavit.

What is a small estate affidavit?

A small estate affidavit allows successors – or beneficiaries – to claim the property of the deceased person without having to go through the whole probate process.

It’s as simple as filling out an Affidavit of Successor form and filing it with the court. The person who would file the affidavit of successor form would be anyone named in the will or any surviving family members (like a spouse or adult children).

What estates are eligible for a small estate affidavit?

There are a few ways to be eligible for a small estate affidavit. You can have a relatively large estate but still qualify for a small estate affidavit. Some conditions that must be met are:

• The estate’s gross value is less than $100,000.

• All debts have been paid.

• No one has been appointed executor for the estate.

• It’s been at least 40 days since the person passed.

Other conditions must be met as well. If there are other beneficiaries, you must give them at least 10 days’ notice before filing the form and claiming the property. Or, you must get their written permission.

Benefits of small estate affidavits

Small estate affidavits come in handy if it’s a small estate and there’s no will. That said, it’s still important to have an estate plan to make the small estate affidavit process easier.