How to Avoid Probate with a Lack of Probate Affidavit

If you are the surviving spouse or sole heir after someone has died you may feel a large amount of pressure to deal with your loved ones affairs. If the only major asset your loved one had was real estate in Washington State and you have been named as the beneficiary on bank accounts and other funds you may consider using a Lack of Probate Affidavit instead of filing a Probate for the Estate. The Lack of Probate Affidavit is available regardless of whether your loved one left a will or not. You will still need a copy of your loved ones certified death certificate. The Lack of Probate Affidavit needs to be filed with the tax assessor’s office and recorded the same as a deed, but does not require filing with the superior court. However the Lack of Probate Affidavit is only effective for transfer of real property. However it is a single document that will allow you to transfer the real property without going through the probate process. You can even file a Lack of Probate Affidavit for the real property before, after, or in another county from an active probate if you decide to ultimately file for probate late or somewhere else.

PROS

  1. Avoids Probate.
  2. Vests title of Real Estate to the beneficiaries named in the Decedent’s Will, or the legal heirs if the Decedent died without a Will.
  3. Less expensive than probate.
  4. Exempt from Washington State Real Estate Excise Tax.

CONS

  1. Can only transfer the title to true beneficiaries or legal heirs as defined by the Washington Intestacy Statute.
  2. You may still need to file a probate to deal with creditors or other reasons.

If you have questions or concerns about Probate or a Lack of Probate Affidavit, call Limitless Law PLLC at (360) 685-0145 or use the “Ask an Attorney” link on our website to contact us today!