Opening the Simple Estate

  1. Preparing for Court
  2. Going to Court
  3. Giving Notice of Your Appointment

Preparing for Court

  1. Filing a Case Cover Sheet
  2. Filing Decedent’s Will
  3. Petitioning for Letters
  4. Drafting a Proposed Court Order
  5. Filing an Oath of Personal Representative
  6. Filing a Probate Notice to Creditors
  7. Telephoning the Probate Clerk

Filing a Case Cover Sheet

Select, complete, and sign the appropriate form from among the following three alternatives:

Filing Decedent’s Will

If Decedent died TESTATE, file Decedent’s Will when you file for probate.

Petitioning for Letters

Complete and sign a:

If TESTATE:

Petition for Probate of Will, Letters Testamentary, & Nonintervention Powers form.

If INTESTATE:

Petition for Letters of Administration & Nonintervention Powers form.

Drafting a Proposed Court Order

Download an:

If TESTATE:

Order Admitting Will to Probate & Granting Letters Testamentary & Nonintervention Powers form.

If INTESTATE:

Order Granting Letters of Administration & Nonintervention Powers form.

Add the Header (ie, complete the top half of the first page: county and Decedent’s name) and your contact information on the footer to the Order and sign it.

Filing an Oath of Personal Representative

Complete the Header for an:

If TESTATE:

Oath of Personal Representative (With Will) form.

If INTESTATE:

Oath of Personal Representative (Without Will) form.

Take it to a Notary, sign it in front of the notary, and have the notary “notarize” your signature.

Side-bar: Notary at King County Courthouse and Kent Regional Justice Center.

Filing a Probate Notice to Creditors

Complete and sign a

Probate Notice to Creditors form.

Choose a legal newspaper in the county of Decedent’s residence at death to publish your Probate Notice to Creditors and coordinate with them the date that it will be first published. See: Legal Newspapers & Costs of Publication. Add that date to the line stating “Date of First Publication of this Notice.” Ignore for the moment the line stating “Decedent’s Social Security Number.”

Telephoning the Probate Clerk

Telephone the County Clerk in the county where your probate will be filed (Telephone Numbers) and ask to speak to the probate clerk:

  1. Determine the days and times when the Court is available to hear probate Petitions for Letters
  2. Determine if there are any requirements specific to your county or other requirements that it would be helpful for you to know before going to Court. For example:

Complete any of the foregoing requirements that may be applicable to you.

You have now completed the steps required to prepare to go to Court to open a typical simple probate estate.

Going to Court

See in general: Washington Probate Court Practice

And in particular:

By completing the instructions shown above, you will have completed the steps required to obtain your Letters for a typical simple probate estate.

Giving Notice of Your Appointment

  1. To Heirs & Beneficiaries
  2. To Washington Department of Social & Health Services (“WDSHS”)
  3. To Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”)

To Heirs & Beneficiaries

IfTESTATE:

  • Complete and sign aNotice of Appointment of Personal Representative and
    Pendency of Probate & Declaration of Mailing (With Will) form.
  • Attach to your Notice of Appointment a copy of Decedent’s Will and make sufficient copies of that combined document (Notice + Will).
  • Mail a copy of that combined document to each of the persons and at the addresses listed in Paragraph 4 of your Petition for Probate.
  • File that combined document (original Notice + copy of Will) with the Court (submitting a copy of that combined document for conformation and return to you).
  • Timing: Within 20 days of your appointment.

If INTESTATE:

To Washington Department of Social & Health Services (“WDSHS”)

After your Probate Notice to Creditors is first published (See: Publishing a Probate Notice to Creditors):

  • Make a copy of your filed Probate Notice to Creditors.
  • Add to that copy:
    • The date of first publication of your Probate Notice to Creditors &
    • Decedent’s Social Security Number.
  • Download a:Declaration of Mailing of Probate Notice to Creditors to WDSHS form.
  • Complete and sign the Declaration form and make two copies of it.
  • File its original with the Court (with a copy for conformation and return to you).
  • To the other copy of the Declaration, attach the copy of your Probate Notice to Creditors (with the date of first publication and Decedent’s SSN) and mail that combined document (copy of Declaration + copy of Notice to Creditors) to the WDSHS at the address shown on the form. (It would be good practice to make and keep in your files a copy of the copy sent to WDSHS, as evidence that you complied with the WDSHS notice requirements.)

Timing: Within 30 days of your appointment.

 

To Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”)

Download and print for your files the following IRS Publications and Forms:

You may obtain an Employer Identification Number — EIN — immediately by submiting a Form SS-4 by either:

  • Internet or
  • Telephone:
    • Complete and sign the Form SS-4 as if you were going to mail it.
    • Telephone 866 816-2065 between 7:30 AM and 5:30 PM Eastern Time (the IRS facility is in Philadelphia).
    • The IRS representative will take your information and assign you an EIN and may request that you mail the original of your completed and signed Form SS-4 within 24 hours to an address that they will specify.

Now that you have your EIN:

  • Complete and sign the Form 56 (to register the estate with the IRS), and
  • Mail its original to:

Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0002

You have now completed the steps required to open a typical simple probate estate.