In today’s day and age, it is important to have an estate plan in order. Even if there is nothing else, it is beneficial to at least have a will. When someone dies with just a will, however, or even without a will at all, his or her estate could be opened for estate administration and probate, carried out by a personal representative. Without the proper legal representation, this could become a very complicated process in Washington and in other states.
One of the issues that often comes up when people attempt to handle estate administration and probate without an attorney is that they pay the wrong bills at the wrong time. Each state has its own laws concerning how the payment of creditors should be handled, and some of these states require that they are paid in a certain order. Not knowing when to pay each creditor can leave the window open for them to come forward for a much longer period of time, and cause the personal representative to have to pay out of their own pocket.
Another issue that is often seen in this process is distributing the assets to the heirs at the wrong time. If an heir is paid before other obligations are met, the personal representative could have to pay the estate themselves. It is also important for the representative to get a receipt for the assets. Some states will require the representatives to pay the estate out of their own pocket if they do not provide proper receipts.
While many believe that administering a probate is not very complicated, it can be without the help of an estate planning lawyer. There are many other complications that can arise without a knowledgeable attorney to advise the personal representative and/ or administrators. An estate planning lawyer can help with estate administration and probate in Washington, making sure that all areas have been covered and that everything is in legal order.
Source: wilmingtonbiz.com, “Common Mistakes In Probating Estates Without Legal Assistance by Kara Gansmann“, Kara Gansmann, Sep. 1, 2017