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WA-Probate > Probate Court Practice > The Initial Filing in a New Case


Washington Probate Court Practice



III.  The Initial Filing in a New Case

  1. File at the Clerk's Office

  2. Pay the Filing Fee
  3. Now Take Your Documents to the Courtroom
  4. File Immediately Following the Hearing on Your Petition
  5. Obtain Your Letters


Side-bar:  King County Clerk's Office.


Side-bar:  Probate Filings & Hearings in King County: "Downtown" vs. Kent.



A.  File at the Superior Court Clerk's Office:    

For your records, make sure to bring and conform a copy of every document that you file.


For the time being, don't file as yet any other document.  File them immediately after your appointment by the Court.  Some Courts may have different procedures --- "go with the flow."


The clerk will:

Problem:  You Anticipate Your Probate Won't Close Within 12 Months


B.  Pay the Filing Fee    


Currently (July 24, 2005) $200 and get a receipt for it.


Filing Fees & Methods of Payment



C.  Now Take Your Documents to the Courtroom    


See: Appearing in Probate Court.



D.  File Immediately Following the Hearing on Your Petition    


Upon obtaining the Judge's signature on your Order:

See: Filing a Probate Notice to Creditors.



E.  Obtain Your Letters


Caution:  It is not enough for you to have been appointed by the Court as Personal Representative or Guardian (ie, merely for the Judge to have signed your Order) for you to have authority to act on behalf of a Decedent's or a Guardianship estate --- you must be "qualified" to act.  In other words, you must at least have done everything required in order to obtain your Letters (and possibly even have obtained them).  Unfortunately, the Personal Representative appointed in Estate of Shaw, 122 Wn. App. 871 (2004), must not have known this.  There, she obtained appointment but never bothered to:

Acting as Decedent's Personal Representative, she accepted on the estate's behalf her own service of process regarding a personal injury lawsuit she had filed in her individual capacity against Decedent's estate (she had been injured when Decedent's car ran into a Metro bus that she was driving).  Several months later, she was removed as Personal Representative, and the successor PR affirmatively defended that when she accepted her service of process on behalf of the estate, she was not qualified as Decedent's Personal Representative.  The Court agreed and dismissed her lawsuit.  By this time, however, the 3-year statute of limitations had run on her claim, and it was now barred.  Don't make this mistake:


Obtain your Letters before acting as Personal Representative or Guardian.



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