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Probate for Dummies’ Purpose, Assumptions, & Typical Situations

  1. Probate for Dummies’ Purpose
  2. Probate for Dummies’ General Assumptions
  3. Probate for Dummies’ Special Assumptions
    1. For Simple Testate Estate ONLY
    2. For Simple Intestate Estate ONLY
  4. Probate for Dummies’ Typical Situations
    1. For the Testate Estate
    2. For the Intestate Estate
  5. Use of Wiley Publishing, Inc.’s Trademark

Probate for Dummies’ Purpose

“Probate for Dummies” is a simplified set of instructions and forms for typical estates, testate or intestate, similar in style to that in the numerous and engaging paperback books entitled “[…] for Dummies,” published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. (see note at bottom of page).

This “Probate for Dummies” section contains the regular pages for Opening, Administering, and Closing a Probate Estate found on stripped to their bare essentials, for example:

  • Complete this form, and
  • Do this with it.

In other words, no:

  • Introductory comments.
  • Statutes or other authority.
  • Explanations.
  • Variations or alternatives.
  • Irrelevant material.

This section may be helpful due to its narrow focus and utter simplicity, although you may wish to consult as a supplemental reference, to provide additional details, alternatives, etc. for your use as Personal Representative. If any of the following assumptions are untrue in your situation, you should consult to determine how to supplement the material in this section.

Probate for Dummies’ General Assumptions

The Probate for Dummies’ Instructions are for the following typical simple estate:

  • Decedent:
    • Died recently.
    • Was a Washington resident at death.
    • Was not engaged in business in Washington.
  • If Decedent was survived by a spouse, the surviving spouse:
    • Is the Petitioner for Letters, or
    • Has consented in writing to the Petition for Letters, or
    • Has filed nothing within forty days of Decedent’s death.
  • The Personal Representative:
    • Is qualified to so serve.
    • Is a Washington resident.
    • Will not be required to post Bond.
    • Has no claims against Decedent.
    • Will engage no professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, etc.
    • Will serve without compensation, and
    • Will complete administration and close the probate estate within one year of his/her appointment.
  • All heirs and beneficiaries are:
    • Adults.
    • US residents.
  • The probate will be filed in the Superior Court of the county in which Decedent resided at death.
  • Decedent’s estate:
    • Is and will remain solvent.
    • Is located entirely in Washington.
    • Is valued for estate tax purposes at less than $2,000,000, so neither a federal nor a Washington estate tax return is required to be filed.
  • Concerning creditors:
    • A Probate Notice of Creditors will be properly published.
    • Decedent’s correspondence and financial records will be diligently reviewed.
    • Actual notice will be timely sent to the possible creditors.
    • All Creditor’s Claims will be lawfully presented and promptly and fully paid.
  1. Probate for Dummies’ Special Assumptions


  1. Assumptions for the Testate Estate ONLY: ñ
  • Decedent’s Will:

    • Is valid,
    • Is self-proving,
    • Does not prohibit or restrict Nonintervention Powers,
    • Waives Bond,
    • Disposes of all the estate, and
    • Will be filed simultaneously with the Petition for Letters.
  • Decedent’s first named Personal Representative is the Petitioner.

Assumptions for the Intestate Estate ONLY

  • Decedent’s surviving spouse is the Petitioner.
  • Decedent’s estate consists only of community property.
  • Any child of Decedent is also a child of Petitioner.
  • Will not be required to post Bond.


  1. Probate for Dummies’ Typical Situations


Typical situations for the Testate Estate:

  • Decedent was married at death:
    • Surviving spouse named as Personal Representative.
    • Adult child named as Personal Representative:
      • If Petition is filed within 40 days of Decedent’s death, surviving spouse consents in writing.
    • Another person named as Personal Representative:
      • If Petition is filed within 40 days of Decedent’s death, surviving spouse consents in writing.
  • Decedent was not married at death:
    • Anyone named as Personal Representative, for example:
      • Companion or partner.
      • Brother or sister.
      • Adult child.
      • Parent.
      • More distant relative.
      • Unrelated person.
      • Any combination of the above, as co-Personal Representatives.


Typical situations for the Intestate Estate:

  • See above:
    • Surviving spouse +
    • All community property +
    • No other children.

Use of Wiley Publishing, Inc.’s Trademark

® “For Dummies” is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc., with whom WASHINGTON PROBATE has no connection other than as a devoted customer and fan.

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