Don’t put your head in the sand, get your estate planned.
Washington law does NOT require a probate proceeding to be filed following death, regardless of whether the Decedent died with or without a Will (ie testate or intestate, respectively). Probate in Washington is entirely discretionary, and probably only a few percent of deaths in Washington result in a probate being filed. In Washington, if a probate is filed, it is because someone wants it to be filed, NOT because the law requires it. By far, the most common reason for probate is that the Decedent died holding:
- Any real property titled in his or her own name, or
- Personal property (usually a cash or securities account) titled in his or her own name whose value exceeds $100,000.
- There are other reasons, but the two listed above are the main ones.
Washington law, however, does require any last Will of a Washington resident Decedent to be filed promptly following death. RCW 11.20.010 requires any person having the custody or control of any will to file said will within thirty days after he or she shall have received knowledge of the death of the testator.