Probate in Washington State

Probate, Generally Speaking

Probate is the name given for the process of registering and giving legal force to a will. Like most other legal actions probate can be expensive and slow. A significant part of estate law is finding efficient ways to avoid or minimize probate, such as using non-probate transfers like life insurance payouts, trusts, and joint real estate and bank accounts. Small estates (under $100,000) are sometimes able to be handled informally outside of probate using affidavits approved by Washington law.

Effective legal counsel is important in navigating probate and thereafter counselling the personal representative in administering the estate. Anyone who can balance a checkbook, talk to strangers, and follow instructions is ready to be a personal representative! With sound legal advice, the process can be made as simple and quick as possible, leading to a satisfactory resolution of a difficult event in which the decedent’s wishes are carried out and their affairs are properly resolved.

Tricks of the Trade – Snohomish County Probate

When starting a legal action of any type, state law will determine the location and procedure for filing. In the case of probate, Washington law allows filing in any Superior Court – not just the one most proximate to the residence of the deceased. North City Law’s office and many of our clients are located in King County, but our standard process is to open probate in Snohomish County.

The venues are functionally the same, but as anyone who has attempted to drive into downtown Seattle during business hours knows, there is a significant difference between the two in time, cost, and availability. Filing in Snohomish County allows us improved access to court and clerk resources at a fraction of the time and cost, leading in turn to lower fees for our clients.

North City Law is proud to assist local individuals and families with probate using this trick of the trade. Yesterday, we were glad to show our client that we saved the estate hundreds of dollars by filing in Snohomish County. Contact us today with your probate questions and we will gladly work to make it as low cost as possible for you and your loved one’s estate.


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