Probate Process and Timeline

Probate, which is a court-supervised of sorting and administering a person's estate upon a person's death. When a person passes away, they do so either intestate or testate. If the person dies testate, the property will be transferred to the beneficiaries identified in the decedent's will. If the person dies without a valid will, the property will be distributed according to the state's intestate succession laws. Either way, the probate court will be in charge of supervising, distributing and administering the decedent's estate.

Probate in Washington typically lasts six months to a year, depending on the choices the executor makes. It can take considerably longer if the will is contested (which is rare) or some unusual assets or debts complicate matters. Unless there is a dispute, it's mainly a matter of submitting paperwork.

Read on to learn about the basic probate process and timeline.



Prepare and File Petition for Probate

1-2 months

Court hearing on the Petition for Probate

2-3 months

The Following are issued: Letters of Administration, Orders for Probate, Duties and Liabilities, IssueBond (if ordered), and **LettersTestamentary**

2-4 months (if not contested)

Notice to Creditors

2-4 months

Notice to Department of Health Services Inventory and Appraisement

4-8 months

Pay State and Federal Taxes(if necessary)


Allow or Reject Creditor Claims

Possible Preliminary Distributions

Notice to Department of Health Services (if deceased received medical)

Notice to Franchise Tax (if heir is out of state)

Claim of Exemption (if assets transfer to a minor)

6-15 months

Receive Final Tax Letter from State and Federal (if appropriate)

6-18 months

File Petition for Final Distribution and Accounting

8-16 months

Hearing on Petition for Final Distribution and Accounting

Order Approving Final Distribution and Accounting

Distribution of Assets to Heirs

9-17 months

Final Discharge Order (indicates close of probate case)

9-18 months

Final Distribution of Funds

9-18 months