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Probate Documents

If you've decided that you need to begin a probate, below are some of the documents and forms you will need (and others you might need depending on the circumstances). Most forms include a PDF version for easy review and a Word version for downloading and editing. The changes you'll need to make to the Word versions include at least the following depending on the forms you are using: 

  • You need to review the documents carefully and fill in the portions that are blank or bracketed with the appropriate names, facts and other information, including the name of the decedent, date of death, date of the will, etc.

  • The footer in the lower right hand corner of the documents must show your name, address and phone number.

  • The cause number must be added to the upper right hand corner of the first page after "No." You won't have the cause number until you file the probate. See the Initial Hearing page for details on how you put the cause number on your documents when you go to the Clerk's office.


Initial Hearing Forms & Documents

Case Designation Cover Sheet (PDF) (Word)
Verified Petition (with a will) (PDF) (Word)
Verified Petition (no will) (PDF) (Word)
Order Probating Will and Appointing PR (with a will) (PDF) (Word)
Order Appointing Administrator (no will) (PDF) (Word)
Order Appointing Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word)
Order Appointing Limited Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word)
Death Certificate Coversheet (PDF) (Word)
Oath of Personal Representative (PDF) (Word)
Notice of Request for Nonintervention Powers (PDF) (Word)
Waiver of Hearing on Nonintervention Powers (PDF) (Word)
Designation of Resident Agent (PDF) (Word)
Waiver of Surviving Spouse (PDF) (Word)
Ex Parte Notice of Court Date (Seattle) (Kent)
Declaration of Mailing of Hearing Notice (PDF) (Word)
Declaration of Witness to Will (PDF) (Word)
Notice Re Probate Case (PDF) (Word)
 

Case Designation Cover Sheet. (PDF) (Word) The Clerk requires this cover sheet to begin a case. You should fill in the "Case Caption" line with the name of the estate (e.g. Estate of John W. Brown). Then you should check the box for the correct location for the case depending on where the decedent lived. For example, if the decedent lived in Renton at the time of death, you would select "Kent." If the person resided in Seattle or anywhere else north of I-90, you should select "Seattle." If the decedent didn't live in King County, you should select the location where estate property is located. If the decedent didn't live in King County and didn't have any property in King County, you can choose either courthouse. For typical probates, you'd select the box on the second page for "Estate." Be sure to sign and date the front page.

Proposed Order Probating Will (PDF) (Word). The proposed Order is the document signed by the Ex Parte Commissioner, which orders the will admitted to probate, certifies the witness testimony (if there is a will), grants you nonintervention powers, and directs the court clerk to issue you Letters Testamentary. If you have no will, you will need an alternative proposed order which you can find here: (PDF) (Word). 

Death Certificate with Coversheet (PDF) (Word). While not required by state law, the Ex Parte Commissioner in King County will expect you to have the death certificate of the decedent for the Commissioner to review at the initial hearing. Bring it with you. It doesn't need to be an original. A copy is fine. I like to file a copy with the clerk and therefore have a coversheet that I attach to the front of the death certificate. You should redact the social security number and mother's maiden name on the death certificate. If you need to get appointed before a death certificate is available, the court will sometimes accept an affidavit where someone swears that they have communicated with the funeral home about the decedent's remains and that the funeral home is handling the arrangements.

Oath of Personal Representative (PDF) (Word). If you are successful and the Ex Parte Commissioner signs the Order appointing you as the personal representative or administrator of the estate, you will immediately take the signed Order to the clerk's office and hand it to the clerk. Before giving you Letters Testamentary, however, the clerk will require you to provide a signed and notarized oath for filing.

Waiver of Hearing on Nonintervention Powers (PDF) (Word). If you do not have a will or you are not the person named in the will to serve as personal representative, you will need to schedule a hearing to receive nonintervention powers and give notice to all of the heirs and beneficiaries of the hearing date and time. This can be a complex process and is described on the No Will page. You'd prefer to avoid having to do this. To avoid scheduling a hearing, you can have each of the heirs and beneficiaries waive their notice of the hearing.

Notice of Request for Nonintervention Powers (PDF) (Word). If you are forced to schedule a hearing to obtain nonintervention powers because you can't get waiver from the other heirs and beneficiaries when there is no will appointing you as personal representative, you must file and mail to each heir a proper Notice of Request for Nonintervention Powers. The Request for Nonintervention Powers must comply with RCW 11.68.041(3).

Designation of Resident Agent (PDF) (Word). If you are not a resident of Washington State, you will need to designate another person as your agent to receive documents related to the probate. The designated person must live in the county where the probate is pending. 

Waiver of Spouse to Serve over Community Property (PDF) (Word). During the first 40 days after a person dies, the surviving spouse has a right to serve as the Administrator over any portion of the community property. However the surviving spouse can waive that right. This is a pleading that does that.

Verified Petition (PDF) (Word). The Petition is the document that describes your case to the court. To create a "verified" Petition, you sign a declaration at the end swearing under penalty of perjury that everything in the Petition is correct. The Petition should contain facts that give the court jurisdiction over the matter, such as who you are, when the decedent died, whether there was a will, whether the estate is solvent, who are the heirs, and what you are asking for. This is filed with the court clerk first, along with the Case Designation Cover Sheet and (currently) $240. After you file it with the Clerk, you then take a copy to the Ex Parte Courtroom for the Initial Hearing. If there is no will, you'll need a different Petition for starting a probate without a will (PDF) (Word). For the process of starting a probate without a will, visit the No Will page.

Will, Codicil and Tangible Personal Property List. If you have an original will, codicil and/or tangible personal property list, you will also need to take these documents to the Ex Parte Courtroom (along with the Verified Petition and Proposed Order) for the Ex Parte Commissioner to review. Any will and codicil you present must be an original and must include an affidavit from the people who witnessed the execution of the will, which usually appears at the end of the will or codicil as an attachment. This makes a will or codicil "self-proving," which is very important. If a will or codicil is not self-proving, the witnesses must either (1) appear for the hearing to testify regarding the execution of the will or codicil or (2) sign a Declaration of Witness to Will (see below). Tangible personal property lists need not be witnessed. If all you have is a copy of a will or codicil, the process for admitting the copy is more complicated, and you should see the page on Admitting Copy of Will to Probate

Declaration of Witness to Will (PDF) (Word). To admit a will to probate, it must be self-proving, meaning that it must have a declaration or affidavit signed by each witness describing the circumstances surrounding the signing of the will. Most wills have this "attestation" page or provision at the end of the will. If your will does not, you need to get a Declaration from the two witnesses in order to admit the will to probate.  

Order Appointing Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word). For an estate in which one of the heirs or beneficiaries is under the age of 18 or otherwise incapacitated, the Ex Parte Commissioner will appoint a probate guardian ad litem (GAL) to look after the interests of that minor/incapacitated heir or beneficiary. The GAL is normally an attorney who has knowledge of probate law who the court trusts to ensure that the incapacitated person receives what he or she is entitled to. The court will not appoint the parent of the child as the GAL. For more information on this process, visit the page on minor beneficiaries.  

Order Appointing Limited Probate Guardian ad Litem (PDF) (Word). For certain estates, the appointment of a full probate guardian ad litem may seem unnecessary. This can be the case when the estate is small, or when a will names a minor as a beneficiary, but the minor’s share of the estate is passing to a trust. In such cases, the court has an order it uses to appoint a probate guardian ad litem with limited powers to investigate certain narrow issues.

Fiduciary Bond. If you file a probate without a will, the Ex Parte Commissioner will likely require you to post a bond before you can receive Letters Testamentary from the court clerk. A bond is a type of insurance policy that protects beneficiaries, creditors and others parties interested in the estate from you stealing from the estate or otherwise mismanaging it. You will need to find a surety company who will issue this fiduciary bond to you. Once the bond is received, you'll need to return to Ex Parte to have the Commissioner sign the bond before obtaining the Letters Testamentary from the court clerk. Companies that issue such bonds can be found by googling "fiduciary bond for probates in Seattle."

Ex Parte Notice of Court Date (Seattle) (Kent). This form, one for Seattle and another for Kent, is for situations where you need to schedule a hearing on the Ex Parte calendar, such as if you need to admit a copy of a will to probate or schedule a hearing on your request for nonintervention powers. Whether you use the Seattle or Kent form depends on which courthouse your case is assigned to. Your Case Designation Coversheet should have designated which courthouse was assigned the case. When in doubt, look at your case number. If it ends in KNT, you’re in Kent. If it ends in SEA, you’re in Seattle.

Declaration of Mailing of Hearing Notice (PDF) (Word). If you are forced to schedule a hearing, the court will need to ensure that proper notice is provided to all parties requiring notice. You should file the Declaration of Mailing with the court clerk before the scheduled hearing, but also have a copy available for review by the Ex Parte Commissioner. Do not forget to write in the city where you signed the Declaration and the date you signed it.

Notice Re Probate Case (PDF) (Word). Currently, the King County Clerk will provide you a document called a Notice Re Probate Case when you file a new probate. Some attorneys bring this document with them and stamp it with the case number when they file a new probate, but currently you are not required to bring your own with you. This document describes the importance of administering a probate as quickly as possible. It also warns that if your probate will last longer than twelve months, you will need to provide the Court and each party a Statement of Case Status (see below under Closing Documents). The Notice Re Probate Case should be mailed to each heir and beneficiary with the Notice of Appointment. 


Closing Documents


Declaration of Completion (PDF) (Word)
Notice of Filing of Declaration of Completion (PDF) (Word)
Declaration of Completion with no Will (PDF) (Word)
Declaration of Completion with Holdback for Taxes (PDF) (Word)
Notice of Filing of Decl of Completion w/ Holdback for Taxes (PDF) (Word)
Receipt (PDF) (Word)
Statement of Case Status (PDF) (Word)

Declaration of Completion (PDF) (Word). To complete the probate, you must file a Declaration of Completion with the court that meets the requirements of RCW 11.68.110(1). You'll also need to mail this document to each of the heirs and beneficiaries who have not provided a written waiver of their right to receive this document. Note that when preparing the Declaration of Completion for cases where there is no will, you must also include in the Declaration the names and contact information for each heir along with their distributive share of the estate. A sample of a Declaration of Completion without a will can be found here. For more information on the process and documents involved in closing a probate, visit the Closing the Probate page.

Notice of Filing of Declaration of Completion (PDF) (Word). When you mail the Declaration of Completion to the heirs and beneficiaries, you must also include a Notice of Filing that meets the requirements of RCW 11.68.110(3), which describes the rights of the heirs to object within 30 days of the filing of the Declaration of Completion. For more information on the process and documents involved in closing a probate visit the Closing the Probate page.

Declaration of Completion with Holdback for Taxes (PDF) (Word). If you intend to close the probate but retain power to deal with taxing authorities, you must insert special language in the Declaration of Completion reserving this power. For more information on the process and documents involved in closing a probate visit the Closing the Probate page.

Notice of Filing of Declaration of Completion with Holdback for Taxes (PDF) (Word). A special Notice of Filing must be used if you intend to make final distributions while retaining authority to deal with taxing authorities. For more information on the process and documents involved in closing a probate, visit the Closing the Probate page.

Receipt (PDF) (Word). Closing a probate can be made even more efficient through the use of receipts signed by all of the beneficiaries. For more information on the process and documents involved in closing a probate visit the Closing the Probate page.

Statement of Case Status (PDF) (Word). Under RCW 11.48.010, you are required to administer the estate as “rapidly and quickly as possible.” How long that takes depends on the specific circumstances of each case. However, the King County Clerk expects most probates to be concluded within a year, and if yours isn’t, the Clerk wants you to file a Statement of Case Status explaining why it isn’t closed. You should then mail that Statement to all of the parties.

Post-Appointment Documents


Notice to Creditors (PDF) (Word)
Notice of Rejection of Creditor’s Claim (PDF) (Word)
Decl. of Mailing of Notice of Rejection of Creditor’s Claim (PDF) (Word)
Notice of Appointment and Pendency of Probate (PDF) (Word)
Declaration of Mailing of Notice of Appointment (PDF) (Word)
Declaration of Mailing of Notice of Appointment to DSHS (PDF) (Word)
Declaration Regarding Reasonable Search for Creditors (PDF) (Word)

Notice to Creditors (PDF) (Word). The Notice to Creditors may be published in a legal newspaper where the decedent was residing at the time of death. It may also be sent to each creditor. For more information about how to properly deal with creditors, visit the page on Creditors.

Notice of Rejection of Creditor’s Claim (PDF) (Word). If you have published a Notice to Creditors and receive a claim that you want to reject, you must mail via certified mail a notice of rejection that contains the appropriate language about the claimant’s rights to bring suit against the estate. RCW 11.40.100.

Declaration of Mailing of Notice of Rejection of Creditor’s Claim (PDF) (Word). If you reject a Creditor’s Claim that is brought against the estate, you must file with the court proof that you mailed the rejection via certified mail, as well as attach a copy of the Notice of Rejection. The law also permits you to personally serve the Notice of Rejection, in which case, the attached Declaration will need to be revised to reflect that you personally served the claimant. RCW 11.40.100.

Notice of Appointment and Pendency of Probate (PDF) (Word). As described on the Notice page, you are required to give notice of your appointment to all heirs and beneficiaries within 20 days of your appointment. You should also include the Notice Re Probate Case with this mailing. Don't forget to also make sure that DSHS and the Department of Revenue also receive the Notice of Appointment. Once these documents are mailed to the heirs, beneficiaries, DSHS and the Department of Revenue, be sure to file with the court proof that you have done this. Sample Declarations of Mailing can be found above. 

Declaration Regarding Reasonable Search for Creditors (PDF) (Word). Before closing a probate, it's recommended that you file a Declaration that describes your reasonable diligence in identifying creditors of the decedent. For more information on this document visit the page on Creditors.