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

Who Is Entitled to Notice of Hearing for a Petition for Nonintervention Powers?

The Law

RCW 11.68.041(2) provides as follows:

 (2) In … cases [in which notice is required to be given], if the petitioner wishes to obtain nonintervention powers, the personal representative shall give notice of the petitioner’s intention to apply to the court for nonintervention powers to all heirs, all beneficiaries of a gift under the Decedent’s will, and all persons who have requested, and who are entitled to, [Special Notice] under RCW 11.28.240, except that:

(a) A person is not entitled to notice if the person has, in writing, either waived notice of the hearing or consented to the grant of nonintervention powers; and

(b) An heir who is not also a beneficiary of a gift under a will is not entitled to notice if the will has been probated and the time for contesting the validity of the will has expired.

The Result

Assuming that:

  • No one has waived notice of the hearing on, or consented to, your being granted Nonintervention Powers, and
  • If Decedent died testate, four months have not elapsed since his/her Will was admitted to probate, …

then the persons who are entitled to Notice of the hearing on a Petition for Nonintervention Powers are:

  1. Decedent’s heirs — those individuals who would take the estate if the Decedent had died intestate (See: Decedent’s Heirs);
  2. Decedent’s beneficiaries — those individuals and organizations who would take the estate according to the terms of Decedent’s Will had he/she died testate (See: Decedent’s Beneficiaries); and
  3. Those persons who have requested and are entitled to receive Special Notice under RCW 11.28.240.

Caution: Determining the identity of a Decedent’s heirs, especially in a large, extended family, can be complicated, for example:

  1. Going up one level of kinship & then down — If the Decedent:
    1. Is not survived by children (or lower issue) but
    2. Is survived by one or more:
      1. Parents or
      2. Their children (or lower issue) (ie, siblings — Decedent’s brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, etc.); or
  2. Going down more than one level of kinship — If the Decedent is survived by:
    1. Multiple generations, and
    2. One or more of the Decedent’s children have predeceased leaving children of their own who have survived the Decedent.

Throughout the process of determining the identity of a Decedent’s heirs, one is guided by the traditional legal principal known as the “right of representation,” which is, indeed, a trap for the unwary.  See: Becoming an Heir by Right of Representation.