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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11959
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I live in Pierce County in Washington State. My mother

Customer Question

Hi, I live in Pierce County in Washington State. My mother recently passed away with only a durable power of attorney, no last will and testament. Myself and my brother are her only two kids. My mother is also divorced. She has no assets, very little funds in her bank account, and no life insurance. Do I need to go to probate court to get Letters to be able to contact places like her financial institutions to close out accounts and withdraw remaining funds(if any). I am finding mixed answers online.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions. No, you don't need to go through formal probate in order to inform her financial institutions (or other interested parties) that she passed away. You can write to them and include a copy of her death certificate. That should be sufficient. Moreover, you can avoid probate proceedings by using a small estate affidavit if all of the following are true: The value of the decedent's probate estate, minus debts and liens, is no more than $100,000You are entitled to the property as a successorThe decedent lived in Washington at the time of deathAt least forty days have passed since the deathThere is no application or petition (court papers) for the appointment of a personal representativeAll the decedent's debts, including funeral and burial expenses, have been paid or provided forThe affidavit describes the property claimed, and states that the property is subject to probateYou have given written notice, by personal service or mail, to all the decedent's other successors. The notice must identify the heir's claim and describe the claimed property. At least ten days must have passed since that notice was served or mailed.If all of the above is true, then you would take a certified copy of the death certificate to the probate court clerk, and ask for the small estate affidavit. You should be issued a probate number and the affidavit form to fill out. A copy must be sent to: ***** ***** Social and Health ServicesOffice of Financial Recovery PO Box 9501 Olympia, WA 98507 - 9501 The completed affidavit will be the evidence required for the financial institutions to release funds. Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating to close out this question (and please remember that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your prompt reply TJ. I just have a couple questions.
1) The death occurred on 4/5/16 so it has not been forty days since the passing. Can I still file as soon as tomorrow? Another thing I forgot to mention is myself and brother personally live out of state so we would like to get this done asap so we may return home.
2) is it an issue for the court that myself and my brother both live out of state? We live in Hawaii.
3) We have paid for our mother to be cremated here in Washington and we will be taking her home with us to Hawaii for a burial. Is this an issue since technically all the funeral and burial expenses have not yet been paid?
Thank you!
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hi again. 1) The death occurred on 4/5/16 so it has not been forty days since the passing. Can I still file as soon as tomorrow? Another thing I forgot to mention is myself and brother personally live out of state so we would like to get this done asap so we may return home. A: No, unfortunately, you must wait 40 days. That requirement is written into the law. 2) is it an issue for the court that myself and my brother both live out of state? We live in Hawaii.A: No, that shouldn't be an issue from a legal perspective. The only issue is the inconvenience to you. 3) We have paid for our mother to be cremated here in Washington and we will be taking her home with us to Hawaii for a burial. Is this an issue since technically all the funeral and burial expenses have not yet been paid? A: That shouldn't be an issue, though you'll need to pay for the expenses associated with the cremation before leaving for Hawaii. I hope that helps. Please let me know if you need further clarification, and please remember to provide positive feedback. Thank you.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Hello again. I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. Please remember to provide a positive rating to close out this question (and please remember that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!