McFerran Law is a real estate focused law firm that has been involved in probate matters for over 35 years. Real estate is generally included as part of most decedent’s estates, so it is natural that our firm would provide probate services involving real estate from our Tacoma office serving, of course, the entire State of Washington.
It is important to understand that not all probate matters involve adversarial litigation. In fact, very few are actually adversarial. Of course, we do have a court proceeding, but typically our attorneys and the probate court assist heirs in identifying the assets of the estate; calculating the payment of taxes; determining the costs of the last illness and any other incidental expenses, and then dividing the remaining assets among the legal heirs. Our probate attorneys can help guide you through that complicated process. Our experienced team of probate attorneys will help you administer a loved one’s estate once probate is initiated whether the estate is simple or complex.
When Do You Open a Probate?
You may be surprised, but there is no legal requirement in Washington that heirs go to probate court whether there be a will or not. Our probate attorneys are skilled in assisting heirs in transferring real estate assets outside of official court proceedings. In addition, we serve clients throughout the state of Washington. In fact, really throughout the whole country as many of our clients/heirs come to us from outside of the state. Our attorneys can administer from our Tacoma office any real estate and assets in any court within the State of Washington from our offices in Tacoma. We need not travel to the court in order to provide such services.
Probate is a general term, but it has a very defined and specific meaning for the courts and attorneys. Probate may be initiated if a decedent had a will (“testate”) or did not have a will (“intestate”). In many cases, the probate court assists the estate of decedents to change title and transfer assets that the decedent is no longer alive to transfer.
On other occasions there may be a dispute among heirs as to the estate’s appropriate distribution of assets. We often say that “Death can bring out the worst in families”. This is where our probate attorneys at McFerran Law shine as we will take any and all legal actions required to resolve the estate disputes among heirs.
Is There a Legal Requirement to Have Probate Proceedings?
In our practice we find that in about 60% of the time when heirs and loved ones visit our office, we are able to assist them in transferring real estate assets without going to court! That’s right. No probate. No court costs! No court involvement whatsoever.
Because we are entrenched so heavily in the real estate industry, our probate attorneys are able to coordinate with local title insurance companies to facilitate the transfer of real estate assets outside of formal probate proceedings. It really sets us apart from other generalist law firms. We are able to accommodate clients in this fashion in about 70% of the cases we handle. Clients are elated.
In other situations, we may need to go to court, but the State of Washington has streamlined methods of proceeding with probate that are far more cost effective than most other states around the country. Clients are generally surprised at how inexpensive going through the probate court process is in the State of Washington compared to other states around the country.
We Have a Full-Service Probate Attorney Group
Our attorneys at McFerran Law are able to handle any and all kinds of probate proceedings whether we need to go to court or not or whether there is a dispute among heirs. Our attorneys are equipped to assist you as representative of the estate.
Typical Probate Cases Handled by McFerran Law, P.S.
The Tacoma, Washington-based probate attorneys at McFerran Law are happy and pleased to get involved in any and all estate matters whether they be administrative or contested.
A Few Examples of Typical Probate Matters:
- Claims to appoint an alternative Executor (Personal Representative) to an estate.
- Claims that the executor did not perform their job properly.
- Claims over who should be appointed as Executor (Personal Representative).
- Claims by heirs that they are not getting their appropriate share of the proceeds of the estate.
- Defend claims by creditors against the estate.
- Will disputes as to whether the Testator was competent.
- Claims as to who should be named as Trustee in a trust created by the will (Testamentary Trust).
- Claims by estate against parties who may have taken assets from the deceased before death or owes money to the decedent arising before decedent’s death.
- Claims that an Executor (Personal Representative) or Trustee mismanaged the estate or trust.
- Claims by parties that someone coerced or improperly influenced the party executing the will or trust.
- Competing claims as to who should be Trustee of a trust or Executor (Personal Representative) of an estate.