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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13515
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I am in state. My mother just died but my father is still

Customer Question

I am in Washington state. My mother just died but my father is still living. I need a letter testamentary. We have the death certificate and the will but I don't know what other form I need to turn this into the court. Lewis county
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in?
Customer: Washington, Lewis county
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Her death
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No I am very frustrated that this is so complicated.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your patience. My condolences on your loss, first of all.

To better assist you, I need a little more information first. "Letters" are issued when an executor is appointed after a petition to probate an estate is opened. But typically, when one spouse passes away, they own almost everything, if not everything jointly, so the other spouse inherits everything automatically, thus negating the need for probate. Did your mother have assets titled solely in her own name, like real estate, or a bank account?

If so, can you estimate for me what the value of these assets is?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No she did not. My father has an investment that is supposed to b paying off after a long drawn out settlement. The investment is in both of their names and the company said they wanted letters of testamentary.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Forgive me, but that legally makes no sense for the company to ask for Letters Testamentary (also called Letters of Administration) because as I mentioned, you would have to petition the court to open an estate and have someone appointed as executor, and then the court would have to issue them. The "Letters" are what give the executor the authority to settle a decedent's estate. But a decedent only has an estate when they have assets titled solely in their name It's usually a few hundred dollars to open an estate, for the filing fee.

If the investment was in both their names jointly, then like any other joint asset it would simply pass to your father as the remaining joint owner.

I would suggest speaking to the company again and informing them that a) your mother had no estate and so no probate will be opened, b) as such, no Letters will be issued and c) as a jointly titled investment, it should be put into your father's name individually now.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Was there anything I could clarify for you or additional information you needed? If so, kindly REPLYand I'm happy to help further! If not, please kindly remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars at the top of the page. Attorneys on Just Answer are not employees of this site, and are not paid until you leave a positive rating for our time and assistance. Thank you.