After an owner’s passing, his or her estate needs to be properly administered to distribute property and legally transfer the ownership of assets. This is sometimes facilitated through a court process known as probate. In the state of Washington, probate happens in many (but not all) cases when settling an estate. Even though it’s a pretty common process, there are still many questions about it - including, perhaps the biggest question of all, which is regarding the average cost of probate in Washington.
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The truth is, how much probate will cost just depends. It can vary based numerous issues, including:
Will any heirs contest the Will?
Is a probate attorney hired?
Were there any Estate Plans created?
How big is the estate?
How many assets are involved?
How many beneficiaries are there?
Common Probate Fees in Washington
While it’s true there are a number of factors and issues that can affect the cost of probate in Washington, some fees are more common than others. Most probate proceedings will involve the following costs:
Miscellaneous court fees
Various filing fees
Any necessary attorney fees
Executor/Administrator Bonds as required by county courts
Personal Representative compensation - Washington is a reasonable compensation state
A variety of professional fees
Common Questions About Probate in Washington
How Long Does Probate Take in Washington?
In Washington, probate can take anywhere from just around six months to about a year for an average estate to be settled. More complex and larger estates can take years. On the flip side, simpler, very basic estates might be handled more quickly.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Washington?
Probate lawyer fees in Washington will range, making it pretty hard to give a definitive cost to retain one. Many probate attorneys chose to bill by the hour, while others charge a flat fee.
How to Avoid Probate in Washington?
A lot of people want to avoid probate. It’s no wonder why. Probate can be incredibly stressful and expensive for those trying to navigate it. If you’re looking to completely side-step the probate process in Washington, you may want to consider:
Establishing a Revocable Living Trust
Titling property “Joint Tenancy”
Create assets that will TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
And remember, small estates that don’t meet (or exceed) what’s known as the “small estate” threshold may be able to avoid probate entirely. Or, at the very least, they may be able to go through a quicker version of it.
What is Considered a Small Estate in Washington?
Washington’s small estate threshold means you may be able to skip probate all together, as long as an estate is worth less than $100,000 in probatable assets. To take advantage of this, all that’s needed is a quick document (an Affidavit) stating the value and claiming the inheritor’s right to the asset(s).
Who Pays Probate Fees in Washington?
Concerned about paying probate attorney fees in Washington? No need...lawyer costs (and all other probate costs, for that matter) are paid for out of the estate.