When one of your loved ones dies in Seattle, you may wonder if the will always needs to go through probate. It is important to understand the circumstances that make probate beneficial.
Your particular circumstances usually determine whether you should probate a will. According to FindLaw, creditors usually have up to one year to file a claim for unpaid money. If your loved one left large debts behind, probate may sometime be beneficial, as creditors then generally have only four months to contact the estate. If an estate is insolvent, though, it may sometimes be best not to probate a will. This is because an insolvent estate has little money and high bills and you are not legally required to see that these debts are paid off.
Opening probate may not always be necessary if the deceased placed his or her valuable property in a trust or if there was nothing valuable left behind. Additionally, small estates may not need to go through probate. Instead, you may transfer assets to the heirs through an affidavit. The amount of property you can transfer in this way is usually determined by state law.
While you may choose not to probate a will, you usually still need to file it. If someone's finances will be affected because you do not file the will, you may sometimes be subject to a lawsuit. Failure to file the will may make you criminally liable if you want to keep the existence of the will a secret from the heirs of the estate.
This content is educational in nature. It should not be used in place of legal advice.