How to Probate a Washington Descendant's Estate ---
To "Do It Yourself" without a Lawyer

Notifying Heirs and Creditors

Notice rules are different depending on the context of the probate.

  1. Prior to court’s appointment of a PR:
    • No notice required of initial hearing
    • Unless there is a surviving spouse and the probate petition is filed within 40 days of the decedent’s death.
  2. After the PR has been appointed, the PR must send notice to each and every heir of the estate. RCW 11.28.237. This must take place within 20 days after the PR’s appointment.
  3. Notice to Creditors:
    • Notice depends highly on whether the PR knows of the creditor’s existence and potential claim. RCW 11.40.020, 030 authorizes the PR to simple publish notice to all unknown creditors.
    • The notice to unknown or potential creditors must be published in a newspaper within the county where the probate is ongoing. In terms of the publication itself, it must run for three consecutive weeks. Whats more, the notices must also contain a warning that the potential creditors have 120 days (four months) to submit their claim, or otherwise, be barred from doing so in the future.
    • What about known creditors? If certain creditors are known to the PR, then he or she cannot rely upon the simple publication procedure. Rather, the PR must follow RCW 11.40.040 and provide actual, direct notice of the probate the the respective creditor.
  4. An inventory of the assets of the estate is due to be filed with the court within three months of the appointment of the PR.
  5. Concluding the Probate. RCW 11.76.080 mandates that the PR must provide at least 20 days advanced notice of the final hearing on the probate. this notice must be sent to all heirs of the estate, persons named in the will, and basically anyone who is entitled to relieve a distribution from the estate.