For more than three decades, our Tacoma probate attorneys assisted clients in difficult times following the loss of their family members or loved ones. Through routine estate administrations as well as highly contested probate litigation – and everything in between – we provide our clients with invaluable peace of mind during very emotional and trying times. The last thing we want our clients to worry about following the death of a loved one is whether they can count on their lawyer. We take this responsibility very seriously and pledge that we are sensitive, ethical, experienced, and trustworthy.
In addition to our extensive estate planning services, our team of Tacoma probate lawyers regularly counsel individuals in all matters related to probate and trust administration – including the proper distribution of assets and payment of any debts. By doing so, we help you ensure that the hard-earned property of your loved one is distributed according to his or her wishes.
We assist clients involved in the process by ensuring that they adequately comply with requirements set forth by the court. Generally, we provide the following services:
- We routinely advise executors of their legal rights and obligations throughout the process.
- We represent many clients who are the beneficiaries of a will or trust, and those who seek to contest the validity of the instrument or challenge the actions taken by a trustee or executor.
- We help clients administer their loved ones’ estates even when the deceased individual had comprehensive and thorough estate planning devices in place prior to death.
Administering an estate properly is complicated and, oftentimes, overwhelming. Therefore, we assist with many different issues and tasks, including the following specific matters:
- Distributing estate assets
- Notifying creditors
- Defending against creditor claims
- Preparing inventories
- Preparing deeds
- Providing legal notices
- The continuation of paying all bills, such as taxes, mortgages, utilities, and insurance premiums on properties (until the title is transferred), etc.
- Preparing and filing necessary pleadings in litigated and contested matters
- Will contests:
- Undue influence
- Validity of instrument
- Will contests:
- Selling real estate and other assets necessary to settle an estate
- Handling awards in lieu of homestead
- Trust account litigation
We are proud to set ourselves apart from the many probate law firms in Tacoma. We offer competent, ethical, comprehensive, and specialized representation. Therefore, we pledge the following:
Personal Treatment. We work with you one-on-one in the handling of your loved one’s estate. Our Tacoma probate attorneys answer your questions and address your concerns timely and efficiently. You are not just a case file to us, but rather a respected and valued client.
Simple Solutions. There may be a simple, linear approach to your matter; when that is the case, we ensure that you will not experience any extra steps or pay for services that you do not need. When your issue is complex, we treat it accordingly.
Collaborative Approach. We work in a collaborative environment where our attorneys work together to find solutions. You benefit from the experience of not just one lawyer, but the entire legal team of probate lawyers in Tacoma.
Contact Us Today
To learn more about our legal services, please contact us for more information on how we can assist you with your specific needs. A knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney in Tacoma will help save you time, energy, and costs during the process.
You can also find more information on the FAQ page.
Nicole has an incredible capacity to understand the "human" aspects and nuances of divorce, especially when kids are involved.- Ursula
What is the statute of limitation for making a claim on a will?
A person contesting the validity of a will or making a claim contrary to the will must start the case within 4 months of the probate being filed. If a challenge to the will is not filed with the court and served on the personal representative, then the probate of the will is final and binding. There is an exception if an interested party is not given notice that a probate has been started. That interested party then has 4 months from discovery of the probate to file a challenge to the will.
Please contact our offices for your questions and concerns about will preparation and estate planning. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you.
I am the executor of an estate in probate. Who is responsible for taxes upon distribution? Should taxes be paid prior to distrib
There are several different types of tax liability that may exist in the context of an estate. There may be income taxes that the decedent owes, or if the estate is large enough, estate taxes (most estates are small enough that no estate taxes are owed). These taxes should be paid out of the assets of the estate. Absent mismanagement by the executor, these are not personal obligation of the executor. But, it is the executor’s responsibility to make sure these taxes get paid. Also, in many cases, returns must be filed and taxes paid within 9 months of the decedent’s date of death. So it is important for the executor to meet with a tax professional as soon as possible to make sure the necessary returns are prepared in time.
Heirs generally have no tax liability for distributions from the estate, so this is not something the executor should be concerned about taking care of prior to distribution.
Yes, taxes should be paid prior to distribution. Distributions to heirs should be of the net estate. This means the portion of the estate that is left over after taxes, creditors, and administrative expenses have been paid. If tax liability is not determined prior to the distribution then there is no way of knowing if the right amount is being distributed.
What happens when there isn’t enough money in the estate to pay the bills?If the estate doesn’t have enough money to pay all the bills, the first thing to remember is the personal representative and family do not have to pay those bills from their own funds. The decedent’s estate is liable for the debts of the decedent and creditors cannot collect more than the decedent owned. In such cases, there is a law that prioritizes the order in which creditors get paid. Creditors are put into categories (secured creditors, costs of administering the estate, funeral expenses, medical bills, wages owing, taxes, judgments, and other general debts) and are to be paid in a particular order. If there is not enough money to pay all the creditors in a given class (such as medical bills) then the creditors in that category are paid a pro rata share of what they are owed based upon what all creditors in that class are owed. When the money of the estate runs out, no other creditors get paid.
Does the personal representative need to set up a separate estate bank account?A personal representative owes a duty to the estate, its beneficiaries and creditors to properly manage the assets and funds of the estate. Technically, there is no rule requiring a personal representative to set up an estate bank account, but doing so is a good idea. Setting up an estate bank account helps prevent co-mingling estate funds with personal or business funds, it provides a place to deposit funds payable to the decedent, and it provides a method to keep track of estate funds. At some point the personal representative will need to provide an accounting, which is easier if the estate funds are kept in their own account.