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WA-Probate > Probate Instructions > Adjudication Proceeding Instructions

 

Washington Adjudication Proceeding Instructions

  1. Preparing for the Adjudication Proceeding
    1. Obtaining a Certified Copy of Decedent's Death Certificate
    2. Determining the Proper Court
      1. Jurisdiction
      2. Venue
    3. Filing Decedent's Will
    4. Petitioning for Adjudication
    5. Drafting a Proposed Court Order
    6. Telephoning the Probate Clerk
  2. Going to Court
  3. Giving Notice of the Adjudication Proceeding

 

Caution: The purpose of most probate proceedings, such as an Adjudication Proceeding, is to obtain a Court Order that you may deliver to a transfer agent to transfer the Decedent's assets to his/her heirs or beneficiaries.  Practically speaking, however, many transfer agents will NOT accept an Order of Adjudication and will require the appointment of a Personal Representative, specifically his/her Letters, either Testamentary (with Will) or of Administration (without Will), for the transfer to be made.  In particular, real estate title insurance companies and securities brokerages are highly unlikely to accept an Order of Adjudication; some banks won't accept an Order of Adjudication either.  If the transfer you wish to make cannot be made by obtaining an Order of Adjudication, you're only alternative is to begun a traditional probate proceeding, with Nonintervention Powers if you qualify for them.

 

Suggestion: Before beginning an Adjudication Proceeding, check with the relevant transfer agent to ensure that the agent will accept an Order of Adjudication for the transfer of the pertinent asset.

 

 

A.  Preparing for the Adjudication Proceeding    

 

This is the "doing your homework --- getting your ducks in a row" phase, so that when you do go to Court, you'll sail through and come out with the prize --- your Order of Adjudication.

 

 

1.  Obtaining a Certified Copy of Decedent's Death Certificate    

 

In King County

 

In Another County in Washington

 

 

As long as Decedent died a resident of Washington and you will file for your adjudication proceeding to be heard in the Superior Court in the county in which Decedent resided at death:  Go to 3 below.

2.  Determining the Proper Court    

  1. Jurisdiction    
     

    1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
       

      Bottom-line: As long as the Decedent died a resident of Washington or within Washington, a Washington Superior Court will have subject matter jurisdiction over your case.
       

    2. Personal Jurisdiction
       

      Bottom-line: As long as all the parties to the probate have physical presence within Washington or willingly submit to the Court's jurisdiction, a Washington Superior Court will have personal jurisdiction over the parties to your case.
       

  2. Venue    
     

    Bottom-line: The proper Court for a Washington resident is the Superior Court in the county in which the Decedent resided at death.

 

 

If Decedent died without a Will:  Go to 4 below.

3.  Filing Decedent's Will    

 

Bottom-line: If you are in possession of a Will of a Decedent, Washington law requires you to either promptly:

 

4.  Petitioning for Adjudication    

 

Testate: If Decedent left a Will (RCW 11.20.020), then complete a:

 

Petition for Probate of Will & Adjudication of Testacy form.

 

Intestate: If Decedent did not leave a Will (RCW 11.28.110), then complete a:

 

Petition for Adjudication of Intestacy & Heirship form.

 

 

The Issue: Courts approve Orders but don't write Orders themselves.  You must prepare a proposed Order for the Judge's review and signature, memorializing his/her approval.

5.  Drafting a Proposed Court Order    

 

Testate: If Decedent left a Will, then complete an:

 

Order Admitting Will to Probate
& Adjudicating Testacy
form.

 

Intestate: If Decedent did not leave a Will, then complete an:

 

Order Adjudicating Intestacy & Heirship form.

 

 

6.  Telephoning the Probate Clerk    


 

B.  Going to Court    

 

See in general:  Washington Probate Court Practice

 

And in particular:

By completing the instructions in the two sections immediately above, you will have completed the steps required to obtain your Order of Adjudication for a typical probate estate.

 


 

 

The Issue: Having obtained your Order of Adjudication, you must promptly send Notice of the Adjudication to Decedent's beneficiaries and heirs, giving each of them the opportunity to take any actions they believe appropriate to protect their own interests in the estate.

C.  Giving Notice of the Adjudication Proceeding    

 

You must provide notice of your adjudication to Decedent's Heirs and Beneficiaries as well of WDSHS.

 

 

1.  If Decedent Died testate:

 

2.  If Decedent died intestate:

 

3 If Any Heir or Beneficiary Resides Outside of the Unites States:  Then notice of the Adjudication should be given by letter to the consulate of the foreign nation in which the Heir or Beneficiary resides, and a copy of the letter should be filed with the Court.

 

 

4.  Finality of Order:  A recipient of a timely sent Notice of Adjudication has four months from the date of the Order of Adjudication to file an Objection to the Order of Adjudication (ie, to file a Will Contest, to file a later Will, or to object to the determination of lawful heirs).  RCW 11.28.340

 


 

Assuming that no one files anything further in the estate, that's it --- you're done --- Congratulations.

 

Now, from a practical perspective, you (and any other recipients of property from the estate) will need to take care of:

  1. Making the distributions from the estate to their intended recipients and getting the assets re-titled in the recipients' names;

  2. Dealing with Decedent's creditors; and

  3. Dealing with any income or estate tax filings and payment of taxes that Decedent or his/her estate may owe.

 

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