When a loved one passes away, often calling an attorney is the furthest thing from everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, when the dust settles, many people discover that hiring an attorney is necessary to resolve their loved one’s estate.
Estate Administration in Washington
Once a loved one has passed, the surviving family members must address the distribution of his/her assets. Depending on a number of different factors, an estate in Washington may be quickly administered and assets distributed within a reasonable timeframe, or on the other hand, if distribution requires initiating probate, the distribution may take anywhere from several months to several years.
At Leavy Schultz Davis, our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys can help you and your family determine what to do after your loved one’s passing and can help you with trust administration and can handle probate if necessary.
Probate in Washington
Most estate plans are created to help clients avoid probate, but probate isn’t always avoidable. If estate planning documents are not regularly updated to include changes in asset ownership or if an estate plan is challenged, an estate can easily end up in probate.
In Washington probate is not automatically required to distribute assets after someone passes away. In most instances, the estate can be distributed without the intervention of the probate court.
Unfortunately, if an estate does proceed to probate, the process can be time consuming and confusing. As a result, consulting with an attorney is often the best step to take after a loved one has passed away. At Leavy Schultz Davis, we have experienced probate attorneys who can help you determine whether or not probate is appropriate in your particular situation. Our probate lawyers can also provide you with representation if you wish to challenge how an estate is being handled.
Trusts in Washington
If your loved one worked with one of our talented estate planning attorneys, his or her estate will likely include a trust. Trusts require administration and maintenance to ensure that the decedent’s wishes are carried out and that the beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to from the trust. Most trust documents will appoint a trustee (and identify an alternate) to handle the administration of the trust. In the event that the trustee and alternates are unable or unwilling to administer the trust, an attorney may also handle the trust’s administration.
It is important to remember that the laws regarding trusts changed in Washington in 2012. As a result, if you have a trust or are administering a trust that was created before 2012 and you have not consulted with an attorney since, please call our office. We can help you understand how the changes in the law affect your individual situation.
We understand that figuring out what to do with a loved one’s estate after their passing can be difficult, especially if you are trying to figure everything out on your own, but there is no reason for you to do it alone. Our estate planning attorneys are available to work with you to help you understand your options and honor your loved one’s memory. Call us today so we can assist in protecting the assets of you and your family.