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Executor of Will, and Encumbrances to Execution

Discussion in 'Estate Administration & Probate Court' started by Brandon G., Jan 25, 2022.

  1. Brandon G.

    Brandon G. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi all! Thank you to anyone who can help with this. My father passed away March of last year.

    According to the executor, my sister, my dad had assigned myself and my sisters as heirs to his estate.

    There is suspicion amongst a couple of my sisters and I that the executor sister is not doing her job. The reason is massive delays in progress, specifically, the will has not been filed at the local courthouse. It has been almost a year, and I found out last week, a will, according to the courthouse website, was supposed to have been filed within 60 days. It has been almost a year.

    I know I could hire a lawyer, but first I wanted to get some sort of feeling from the group here, do I need a lawyer?

    1: what is a “normal” or usual timeframe for wills to be filed at the court?

    2: what sorts of things can delay a will’s submissions legitimately?

    Any answers would be greatly appreciated while I consider the expense of hiring a lawyer.

  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Let's start with some basics.

    Was your father married at the time of his death?

    Do you have a copy of his will?

    You wrote that "the will has not been filed at the local courthouse," which means that probate has not been filed. That being the case, why do you believe your sister is the executor?

    Does your sister have a lawyer representing her in her capacity as executor?

    What were your father's major assets and approximately how much are they worth?

    What is the status of your sister's administration of your father's estate?

    Not saying it was necessarily your responsibility to do this, but did you have a copy of the will or know where it was at any point within 60 days after the date of death? If so, why didn't you file it?

    By the way, your explanation of the law is not quite correct. Section 11.20.010 of the Revised Code of Washington ("RCW") requires the following: "Any person having the custody or control of any will shall, within thirty days after he or she shall have received knowledge of the death of the [person who made the will], deliver said will to the court having jurisdiction or to the person named in the will as executor, and any executor having in his or her custody or control any will shall within forty days after he or she received knowledge of the death of the testator deliver the same to the court having jurisdiction." As this indicates, and according to one unofficial source, the will has to be filed whether or not it is offered for probate.

    There is no universally applicable answer to this question. In part, it depends on whether probate is actually necessary. That said, I imagine that there is a significant chunk of the population that does not know about the law requiring the filing of wills. Therefore, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that there is a fairly significant percentage of noncompliance with that law.

    It is likely that the most common reason for not complying with RCW 11.20.010 is lack of knowledge of the law.

    In part, this will depend on how you answer the questions I asked. Also, one would assume you would speak with your sister about your concerns, and how she responds to you would also influence your decision.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You have the option of treating the estate as subject to the laws of intestacy, as if your father died without a will.

    That gives you the opportunity to go to the probate court and apply to be representative of the estate under the intestacy process. Once you do that and start exercising control over the estate's assets, that will light a fire under your sister's butt and she will get the will filed and start processing the estate.

    You can probably find enough information on the court's website or online. But if you can't figure it out, you'll need a lawyer.

    Is the estate big enough to be worth paying fees to a lawyer?

    Well, not "legitimately" but a common thing is that the parent had a home, the nominated executor is living in it for free and doesn't want that gravy train to come to an end and will delay processing the estate as long as possible. Is anything like that happening?

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