A probate is the legal process by which a designated person or entity distributes the property left behind when someone dies. This legal process is not always necessary, for various reasons, but if it is determined to be necessary, the proceeding would involve at least the following:
- Filing a petition with the Court to request that the Will of the decedent be validated by the Court and a Personal Representative be appointed to administer the estate. A Personal Representative might also be referred to as an Executor or Administrator.
- Identification of all the property of the decedent that is subject to administration under the probate, and transfer of that property to the control of the Personal Representative.
- Identification of the rightful heirs of the estate, and protection of their ownership interest in the decedent’s estate.
- Limitation to the time creditors have to file claims to collect debts from the decedent’s estate that were owed at the time of death.
- Payment of all legitimately filed claims, as well as the expenses of the estate and taxes due.
- Distribution of what then remains of the estate to the rightful recipients.
Probates can be started whether or not the person who died had a Will. If there is no Will, the person is said to have died intestate, and an Administrator can be appointed by the Court to manage the probate process.
If the person died with a Will, but the Executor or Personal Representative named in the Will is not able to serve, an alternate Administrator can be appointed by the Court.
RCW 11.36.010 was revised in 2013 to allow nonprofit corporations to serve as Personal Representative of an estate. Accordingly, if a party wishes to name Ohana as Personal Representative, the designation should be, "Ohana Financial Services," which is a Washington State nonprofit corporation.