Probate is the legal process for transferring property when an owner dies. This court-supervised procedure is used to validate a will and determine ownership of a deceased person's ("the decedent's") estate. When a property owner dies, assets which do not pass directly to others through a community property agreement, right of survivorship, in trust, or by beneficiary designation are subject to formal probate proceedings. Certain "small estates," as defined by state law, may qualify for a simplified method of transferring property.

What Is The Purpose Of Probate Administration?

Probate proceedings are intended to provide an orderly transfer of property while protecting those who might have an interest in the property, including beneficiaries, heirs, creditors and taxing authorities.

The process is necessary to:

  • Collect or take possession of the decedent's property
  • Protect and preserve the decedent's estate
  • Pay all debts, claims and taxes
  • Determine who is entitled to the assets and distribute the property accordingly

Is Estate Administration Necessary?

For some estates, probate proceedings are not required. The need for probate depends on the nature of assets, not just the size/value of an estate.

If a person wishes to plan his or her estate in order to reduce the assets subject to probate or to completely avoid future probate, a number steps may be taken. These include giving away property, forming joint ownership's, and creating trusts. You can discuss your specific options with our estate planning attorneys to better plan for your future.

Qualified Representation From Experienced Lawyers

We have been representing the residents of Spokane and eastern Washington since John ("Jack") Cooney first began his solo law practice nearly 70 years ago. Today we are proud to carry on the tradition of experienced legal service in criminal defense, personal injury, estate planning, family law, and employment law.

To see how the probate attorneys at Cooney Law Offices, P.S., can help in your case, contact us online or call us at 509-598-2677 and schedule an initial consultation in our Spokane office.