A lot of people don't understand what probate is. You'd be surprised how many times we've fielded questions like, "But my dad left a Will, why does it have to go through probate?" Probate is the process where a person's Will is proved to be valid and authentic, an executor is appointed, the estate is valued, beneficiaries are determined, debts are paid, and the estate is transferred to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will.
Some assets can bypass probate, meaning that probate is not required for the transfer of these assets to beneficiaries. Pension plans, life insurance proceeds, 401k plans, health or medical savings accounts, and IRAs that have designated beneficiaries will not need to be probated. Likewise, assets jointly owned with a right of survivorship and property held in a Trust are likely to bypass the probate process.
If you have questions about Wills or the probate process, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to find out how we can be of service. We represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.