WASHINGTON PROBATE LITIGATION
Protecting Your Rights as an Heir or Beneficiary
Seattle & King County | Tacoma & Pierce County
Everett & Snohomish County | All Washington
For Attorneys, Lawyers, & the Public
WA-Probate > Probate-Litigation > Bond & Inventory Issues
Any person interested in the estate may complain at any time about the sufficiency of any Bond or its sureties. The Court, with or without hearing, may require the Personal Representative to give a new or additional Bond. RCW 11.28.210
Bottom-line: If the Personal Representative has not posted Bond and you are concerned about the security of the personal property in the estate, or if the Personal Representative has posted Bond and you are concerned that it may be insufficient, you should file a Petition for Order for Personal Representative to Post Bond or Post Additional Bond.
2. The Inventory & Appraisement
a. Obtaining a Copy of the Inventory & Appraisement after Three Months of Appointment
Prior law required a Personal Representative within three months of his/her appointment not only to make but also to file an Inventory & Appraisement of all property in Decedent's estate that has come into the Personal Representative's knowledge or possession. The prior requirement that the Inventory be filed has been abolished. RCW 11.44.015
Now, after three months after the Personal Representative's appointment, any person "interested in the estate" may request in writing from the Personal Representative a copy of the Inventory & Appraisement. Within ten days of receipt of such a request, the Personal Representative is required to comply with the request. RCW 11.44.015(2)
If the Personal Representative fails to timely provide the copy, the Court upon petition may revoke the Personal Representative's Letters. RCW 11.44.050
If further property not mentioned in the Inventory comes into the knowledge of the Personal Representative, he/she is required to make a Supplemental Inventory & Appraisement within 30 days of its discovery and send a copy of it to any person who had requested a copy of the Inventory under RCW 11.44.015(2). RCW 11.44.025
Bottom-line: After three months after the Personal Representative's appointment, request in writing a copy of the Inventory & Appraisement. After ten days of the Personal Representative's receipt of your request, if you have not received a copy of the Inventory, petition the Court to revoke the Personal Representative's Letters.
b. Challenging the Inventory & Appraisement at Any Time
Any person "interested in the estate" may challenge the Inventory & Appraisement at any time in the probate proceedings. RCW 11.44.035
Bottom-line: If you question any aspect of the Inventory & Appraisement, for example, the presence or absence of specific assets, their community or separate character, their valuation, or the amount of any secured indebtedness on them, you should file a Petition Challenging Inventory & Appraisement.
c. Re-Opening the Probate to Include Property Omitted from the Inventory
Generally, a traditional probate proceeding is closed and its Personal Representative's liability for his/her acts or omissions as Personal Representative is terminated upon the Court's issuance of a Decree of Distribution and the filing of Receipts by the heirs or beneficiaries showing that each has received all that he/she is entitled to receive from the estate. RCW 11.76.050 In a nonintervention probate proceeding, the filing of a Declaration of Completion of Probate stating that all assets of the estate have been distributed or the expiration of the 30-day objection period (without any objection being filed) following the filing of a Declaration of Completion of Probate stating that assets will be distributed in the 5 days following the expiration of the 30-day objection period constitutes the issuance of a Decree of Distribution, thus closing the probate and terminating the Personal Representative's continuing liability. RCW 11.68.110(4) and RCW 11.68.110(2), respectively.
Query: What about assets that were neither included in the Inventory nor mentioned in the Decree of Distribution or Declaration of Completion? A Decree of Distribution or Declaration of Completion is not final and binding as regards omitted property, and the probate may be re-opened so that the omitted property may be properly inventoried and distributed to its rightful recipients. RCW 11.76.250; Price v. Price, 53 Wn.2d 393 (1959); Laughlin v. March, 19 Wn.2d 868 (1944); see also Wind v. Hendrickson, 32 Wn. 2d 64 (1948).
Pers. Repr. Issues