“Walking a Matter through Court,” …in Person or by Mail

  1. “Walking a Matter through Court”
  2. “Walking a Matter through Court” in Person
  3. “Walking a Matter through Court” by Mail
“Walking a Matter through Court” means that regardless of whether or not Notice would ordinarily have been required to have been given for your matter, it nevertheless may be heard by the Court without:

  • Setting a hearing for it, or
  • Giving Notice of the hearing.

If Notice would ordinarily have been required, its requirement has been extinguished as a result of all of the interested parties having:

  • Consented to the matter to be heard, or
  • Waived Notice of the hearing.

A matter may be “Walked through the Court” in person or, in many counties for an additional fee, by mail.

A.  “Walking a Matter through Court”

If you want the Court to approve a request that either:

  • Does not require notice to be given, or
  • Does require notice to be given but you have obtained from all of the parties to whom notice is required to be given either:
    • >A written Consent for whatever it is that you are asking the Court to approve, or
    • A written Waiver of Notice of the Court’s hearing on your request (this website combines both into a Consent & Waiver), …

you may ask the Court to approve your requests at an ex parte hearing, using a procedure that is informally known as “Walking a matter through Court.”  You may either “Walk your matter through Court” in person or, for a fee ($30 in King County), by mail.

B.  “Walking a Matter through Court” in Person

To “Walk your Matter through Court” in person:

  • Telephone the probate clerk and find when ex parte probate matters are heard.
  • If your case has a “hardcopy” case file, obtain it at the Court Clerk’s Office and take it to the Court that is hearing ex parte probate matters.
  • Hand any hardcopy file to the Judge’s clerk and tell him/her that you have an ex parte Petition (eg, a Petition for Nonintervention Powers).
  • Hand the clerk (eg, in connection with a Petition for Nonintervention Powers for which you have obtained Consents & Waivers) in the following order:
    • The original of your proposed Order.
    • The original of your Petition,
    • The original of any Consents & Waivers you may have, and
    • Any further, supporting documents or evidence that would assist the Judge to determine that what you are requesting is consistent with the law.

    At least in King County, don’t hand the clerk any copies for conformation — you can conform your own copies with the stamps available in the common area of the Ex Parte Department (“downtown”) or at the back of the Courtroom (at Kent).

  • When the clerk calls your matter, follow the hearing procedure that you followed when you asked the Court for Letters.
    Many matters heard by an Ex Parte Court will be in cases (specifically, all those originally filed after 1999) whose documents are available only on computer (ie, not in “hard copy”).  In these hearings, the Judge will need to bring up the case on his/her computer and review its history, as revealed in its prior filed documents shown individually on the computer monitor.  This is a slow, time-consuming task that was usually more quickly and efficiently done with old “hard copy” files than with the newer computer files.  Be alert to assist the Judge in any way that you can, for example:

    • By handling the Judge a conformed copy of any especially relevant prior Order, or
    • By answering the Judge’s questions directly as opposed to:
      • “That’s shown in my documents submitted,” or
      • “That’s shown in the Court files.”
  • The Judge may ask you some questions.  For example, with a Petition for Nonintervention Powers for which you have obtained Consents & Waivers, the Judge may want to verify that:
    • Everyone entitled to notice signed a Consent & Waiver,
    • All the persons who signed them were competent adults, and
    • If any were signed on behalf of another (eg, a minor), the signatory was entitled to sign on the other’s behalf.
  • The Judge will likely review your proposed Order, sign it, and return it to you along with any hardcopy file.
  • If you need a certified copy of the Order:
    • Return any hardcopy file and the signed Order to the Clerk’s Office, and
    • Obtain a certified copy of the Order.

    Otherwise, leave any hardcopy file and the Order with the Judge’s clerk and make a conformed copy of the Order for your records.

  • You have now:
    • “Walked your matter through Court” in person,
    • Come out with your Order signed by the Judge, and
    • Avoided having to:
      • Set a hearing,
      • Give timely notice of it to all the interested parties, and
      • Wait for the notice period to expire before your matter can be heard.

“Walking a Matter Through Court” by Mail

If you don’t want to “walk your matter through Court” in person, many Clerk’s Offices will do it for you for a presentation fee plus any other applicable fees (eg, for Letters or certified copies).  [So far, your author has yet to find a Washington County Clerk’s Office that will not present an ex parte Order upon payment of a presentation fee — if you find one, please let us know.]  Note: This is not a filing fee (which you have already paid at your initial filing), but a fee charged by the Clerk’s Office for work out of its usual course of business (RCW 36.18.016(10)) to:

  • Take your documents, including your proposed Order, to an ex parte Judge,
  • Present them to the Judge, and
  • File the signed Order.

Ex parte presentation fees of some representative counties in Washington:

  • Chelan: $20, payable to Chelan County Clerk, POBox 3025, Wenatchee, WA 98807.
  • Clark: $20, payable to Clark County Clerk, POBox 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666.
  • King: $30, see: Ex Parte Correspondence Information.
  • Kitsap: $20, payable to Kitsap County Clerk, 614 Division St. – MS-34, Port Orchard, WA 98366.
  • Lewis: $20, payable to Lewis County Clerk, 345 West Main St. – MS: CLK01, Chehalis, WA 98532.
  • Pierce: $40, payable to Pierce County Clerk, 930 Tacoma Ave South – Room 110, Tacoma, WA 98402.
  • Spokane: $20, payable to Spokane County Clerk, W. 1116 Broadway #300, Spokane WA  99260.
  • Whatcom: $20, payable to Whatcom County Clerk, 311 Grand Ave. – Suite 301, Bellingham, WA 98225.
  • Yakima: $20, payable to Yakima County Clerk, 128 N. 2nd St. – Room 323, Yakima, WA 98901.

Remember: Of all the counties in Washington, King County is the only one known to accept a personal check — all others require a money order or cashier’s check.  And your request should be made in a cover letter, noting the case and its case number, outlining the circumstances, describing what you want the Clerk to do, and enclosing duplicates of all documents for confirmation and a SASE for returning the conformed copies to you.

Caution:  A major advantage of appearing personally in Court is that you will be there to answer any questions the Judge may have or to correct any errors or omissions in your documents that the Judge might detect.  If you choose not to appear, make doubly sure that your documents are complete and correct, as you will be relying on their “speaking for themselves” without the need for any additional testimony, and the Judge will likely not approve them if any questions arise.