Probate is the process in which a deceased individual’s estate is administered and eventually closed. The probate lawyer’s fee is paid from the estate property. Washington state probate law can be complex and we recommend enlisting the help of a qualified probate lawyer. The probate process can help address the following issues:

-Proving the validity of a will;
-Taking inventory of all assets owned by the deceased and appraising value;
-Notifying creditors of the deceased and paying any debts as well as taxes owed;
-Determining what assets are remaining and distributing those assets to the beneficiaries under the will. If there is no will, distributions are done based on the relevant statute.


I offer a $2,500 flat rate for an estate where there is a will and nothing unusual. This covers the $240 filing fee, the published creditor’s notice and other court costs. This price is based on the assumption that the personal representative/administrator of the estate will be involved in the process. Several factors may impact the ultimate cost:

  • The extent of assets to be distributed;
  • Whether there is an original copy of a will;
  • The solvency of the estate;
  • Incomplete information about who the beneficiaries are;
  • The deceased passing away without a will.

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  1. Opening the probate estate: The first step is to petition the court to appoint a personal representative for the estate. The personal representative is often named in the will. If there is no will for the estate, the beneficiaries (parties who have an interest in the estate) will have to determine who the personal representative should be.                                                                                                         
  2. Notifying creditors: All known creditors need to be paid from the assets of the estate if they have a valid claim. Additionally, a notification is published in the newspaper to notify any unknown creditors that they need to bring a claim within a 4 month limitation period.                                                                                                    
  3. Inventory and appraisal: This part of the process involves taking stock of all the assets of the deceased in order to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.                                                                    
  4. Closing the estate: A declaration of completion is filed with the court, and all parties entitled to the assets should get their share.  If not all the beneficiaries agree to the distribution a petition will have to be brought forth to the court.

​​While the estate’s executor is empowered to manage the probate process, doing so can be confusing, complex and time-consuming. It is often recommended to consult a probate lawyer, who can manage all stages of the probate process, from proving the validity of the will and inventorying assets to notifying creditors according to the mandates of Washington state probate law and closing the estate. Our Bellingham probate attorney has the expertise and experience required to make the probate process as painless to you as possible, leaving you free to manage the other details necessary to the settlement of the estate. Contact us with all of your probate needs.