Guiding You Through The Probate Process Following A Death
Probate is the court-supervised transfer of property from a person who has died (decedent) to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. If the decedent had a will, the will specifies who receives the decedent’s estate.
The decedent with a will is said to have died “testate.” If the decedent did not have a will, state law defines who inherits the estate. The decedent without a will is said to have died “intestate” and the estate ends up in a court proceeding called probate.
Probate is a complicated court process that involves many steps. It is important that you work with an experienced attorney should probate be necessary. The law firm of Case & Dusterhoff, LLP, serves clients throughout Washington and Oregon, including the cities of Seattle and Portland.
Petition And Appointment Of A Personal Representative
The attorney identifies who can and should serve as the personal representative, or “fiduciary” for the decedent’s estate. The attorney then prepares a petition to the court asking that the court appoint the personal representative (executor).
The personal representative, or “fiduciary;” is a manager of moneys, assets, and businesses that do not belong to him or her. The personal representative is required to complete the following:
- Carry out the necessary tasks of the estate
- Act prudently regarding assets (for example, only invest in the most conservative investments)
- Act loyally and avoid conflicts of interest
- Act impartially to all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors
- Protect estate assets
- Delegate wisely
- Provide information to heirs and beneficiaries
- Keep a paper trail of all transactions