Probate Filings & Hearings in King County: “Downtown” vs. Kent
- Can “Kent” Documents Be Filed “Downtown?” (& vice versa)
- Can “Kent” Hearings Be Held “Downtown?” (& vice versa)
- When Must a Hearing Be Held at Its Proper Venue?
As shown on the King County Case Assignment Designation & Case Information Cover Sheet, there are two venues in King County for probate filings and hearings:
- For the Seattle Area: King County Courthouse, in downtown Seattle.
- For the Kent Area: Kent Regional Justice Center, in Kent.
Superior Court Clerk’s Office
King County Courthouse – Room E-609
516 Third Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
Superior Court Clerk’s Office
Regional Justice Center – Room 2C
401 Fourth Ave N
Kent, WA 98032
Does this mean that all Kent matters must be filed and heard in Kent and vice versa?
A. Can “Kent” Documents Be Filed “Downtown?” (& vice versa)
Yes. Any document for a King County matter may be filed either “downtown” or at Kent.
B. Can “Kent” Hearings Be Held “Downtown?” (& vice versa)
Yes — maybe — no. This situation is a little more complicated.
A hearing is required to be held at its proper venue (ie, either “downtown” or at Kent) in two situations:
- The hearing involves a pre-filed Will (eg, the hearing is on a Petition for Probate and the Will was previously filed alone, as a “Will Only”); or
- The matter is required to be noticed for hearing.
A King County probate hearing may be held either “downtown” or at Kent if it:
- Can be “Walked Through the Court” and
- Does not involve a pre-filed Will (eg, a hearing on any matter that does not concern a previously filed Will of Decedent).
What does this mean in terms of filing a Petition for Letters?
Simplest cases: Both
- A Will + a Petition for Probate & Letters Testamentary filed together
- If Decedent died unmarried or without community property: Filed by anyone, or
- If Decedent died married and with community property not subject to a Community Property Agreement:
- Filed by anyone after 40 days following Decedent’s death or
- Filed by Decedent’s surviving spouse or his/her written designee; or
- A Petition for Letters of Administration
- If Decedent died unmarried: Filed by anyone, or
- If Decedent died married: Filed by Decedent’s surviving spouse —
may be filed and heard either “downtown” or at Kent.
C. When Must a Hearing Be Held at Its Proper Venue?
1. Pre-filed Will: If the Will has been previously filed (eg, a “Will Only” filing), then the Clerk’s Office will have opened a file for the Will and stored the file at its proper venue. At any hearing on a subsequently filed Petition for Letters (or any other matter that specifically involves the Will), the Court will want to review the original Will, and so the hearing must be held at the proper venue, where the Will is stored.
2. Notice Required:
- For a Petition for Letters: If Notice is required to be sent to Decedent’s surviving spouse and he/she does not consent to the Petition or waive Notice.
- For a Petition for Nonintervention Powers (or any other Petition or Motion): If Notice is required to be sent to any person who does not consent to the Petition or waive Notice.
Regarding the Petition for Nonintervention Powers, what this means is that if you:
- Cannot qualify for Nonintervention Powers under the first two of the three Nonintervention qualification provisions but only under the third, “Catch-all” provision (the only one that requires Notice to be sent), and
- Cannot obtain either a Consent to the Petition or a Waiver of Notice from everyone entitled to Notice, …
then the hearing must be held at its proper venue.