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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 100571
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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Website State says that the will has to be filed within 40

Customer Question

Website for Washington State says that the will has to be filed within 40 days - my son is sole heir of his grandmother's estate and I am named executor until he is 25 years old - the estate is under $100,000.00 - she only owned one small car with a value of about $5,000.00- we went to the courthouse and were told that we could not file the will at that time and that I would have to go through probate in order to establish myself as executor and receive testimentary letter. The 40 days is almost up - what do I do to proceed?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 1 year ago.

Did the clerk provide a reason why could not file the will? If not, attempt to re-file the will with the court to obtain testamentary letters.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate m answer so that I may be credited for my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She told me at the time (while in their office in Washington, now am back home in Colorado) that I cannot get the testimentary letter I seek by filing the will and she handed it back to me adding that I need to go through probate for that. I called her this morning and now she informs me that I absolutely could have filed at that time and done probate as a separate process. I guess I will Fed Ex this will to them?
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 1 year ago.

You can Fed Ex it if the court is willing to accept such a package. Otherwise you can drop it off as you were doing before. Since t is the original, I would drop it off at the court.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate m answer so that I may be credited for my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm in Colorado - she gave me the info to Fed Ex it. What forms do I need to obtain and file to be established as the executor (I am named in the will) and receive the testimentary letter to take care of her affairs? Her assets are less than $100,000.00.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Your previous expert has opted out and I have opted in. Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I think there has been a miscommunication. One does file for probate and get a Letter of Testamentary/Administration. However, to file for probate does not simply mean to file the Will in Court. It does not work like this.

FIRST, A QUICK OVERVIEW

When someone passes away, then their estate has to be distributed. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts (those that do not have a pay on death clause) - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.

So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration (hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney," but from the Court. Without that Letter, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into the beneficiaries' names per the Will.

WHAT TO FILE
See HERE for step by step instructions on how to file for probate. This includes the forms as well. It is very clear in its instructions. The link takes you to the filing step which is not the first one in the guide - you may wish to scroll up and read that as well prior to filing.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith by rating me positively.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it not possible to file the will prior to probate? Washington state law says it should be done within 40 days and we are close to that now
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

No, this is not how it is done. Please see the link. Probate is started by the Petition for Probate of Will, Letters Testamentary, & Nonintervention Powers form. The Will is sent a bit later.

The best thing to do is to simply send the Petition for Probate of Will, Letters Testamentary, & Nonintervention Powers now. If the 40 days mark is passed, the Court may require you to post a nominal bond, but that is about it (and the bond should be given back after closing of the probate). Otherwise, missing the 40 days mark does not mean that the estate cannot be probated.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What you are telling me and what the Jefferson County Washington Clerk is telling me are completely different. This is not helpful and I would prefer to not pay for it. Thanks anyway
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Okay, I will send this to customer service. I am fairly sure my information is correct. I was also going to share with you how to avoid/waive any bond and also special tips on how to handle the probate from outside of WA without needing to go there, but since you wish to terminate the conversation, no problem.