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What to Do When Someone Passes Away

Posted by Judy Nakashima Shoji | Aug 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Having a family member pass away is something that is so emotionally draining, but thinking about the next steps are right at the top of mind. So, if you are wondering what that next step is, we are recommending probate.

Probate is a court-supervised legal process that may be required after someone dies. Probate gives someone, usually the surviving spouse or other close family members, the authority to gather the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and eventually transfer assets to the people who inherit them.

If probate is necessary, the person named in the Will to serve as the Personal Representative. If there is no Will, or the person named in the will isn't available or willing to serve, the probate court will appoint an “administrator.”

Not everything will automatically go through probate. The obvious assets that will need to be probated are those with a title that is in the deceased name only. These assets might include bank accounts, investments, home, other real estate, vehicles, etc. Only the probate court can take your name off the title and put someone else's name on. Assets that generally do not go through probate are: 1) jointly owned assets that transfer to the surviving owner, 2) assets that have a valid beneficiary designation, and 3) assets that are in a trust.

Probate does not need to be a daunting and complicated process. Call us today and we will help you get started.

About the Author

Judy Nakashima Shoji

Judy prides herself on being approachable, down to earth and willing to answer any questions hr clients may have. She is a Seattle native. She attended the University of Washington, Tokyo University and Seattle University School of Law. She was a legal intern in the Civil Division of the Seattle City Attorney's Office and at Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance Company located in Shinjuku, Japan. Judy advises clients in all aspects of estate planning, probate and adoptions. She also serves as a Title 11 court appointed investigator in guardianship cases for King County Superior Court. She cannot think of any areas in which she would rather practice. She invests in learning about her client's whole story which creates a friendly environment in which she can provide more effective assistance. Her goal is for her estate planning clients to walk away with a customized, detailed, realistic, and clear estate plan which will accomplish their wishes. Estate planning can be uncomfortable and confusing and her goal is to explain complicated legal options in a way that is easy to understand and clear. Her desire is to provide peace of mind and clarity for her clients while also giving them the information necessary to make well informed decision. Judy has been a member of the Elder Law and Real Property and Trust sections of the Washington State Bar Association and King County Bar Association. She has been a volunteer attorney with the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Clinic and Pro Bono Services for the past 14 years where she was recognized as volunteer of the month in October 2014. Judy is married with three children. Outside of work she enjoys traveling to sunny locations, exercising (HIIT and barbell classes keep her grounded) and spending time with the people (and animals) she loves.

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At Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC, we represent clients from Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, and the surrounding region, including all of King County and the cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Federal Way, Shoreline, Des Moines, Bainbridge Island, Vashon, Auburn, Renton and Puyallup. We love working with clients from Seattle's unique, eclectic neighborhoods: West Seattle, Fremont, Ballard, Madrona, Queen Anne, Greenwood, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Wedgewood, View Ridge, Laurelhurst, Windermere, Madison Park, Magnolia, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Broadmoor, Phinney Ridge, Crown Hill, Yarrow Point and Mercer Island.

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Elise Buie Family Law Group

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Elise Buie Family Law Group PLLC
1001 Fourth Avenue, 44th Floor   Seattle, WA 98154

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