Recently, I wrote a blog post entitled “Do I Have to Mention my Evil Twin Brother in my Will?”. This post discussed the importance of mentioning one’s unsavory family members in a Will (even if the family member is Dr. Evil himself) so that, upon death, proper notice will be given both when a probate is initiated and also when it’s closed to all heirs as defined by statute. My prior blog post explained that this notice should be provided even if those heirs will not receive an estate distribution, and even if they are evil.
The statute cited in my blog post, RCW 11.68.110 has been amended by Senate Bill 5132 which will become effective on July 25th. Pursuant to the amended statute, as the estate administration is nearing conclusion, the following notice should be provided to heirs:
NOTICE IS GIVEN that the attached Declaration of Completion of Probate was filed by the undersigned in the above-entitled court on the . . . . day of . . . . . ., (year) . . . .; unless you petition the above-entitled court under chapter 11.96ARCW to enforce your rights, to review the reasonableness of the fees, and/or to compel the personal representative to close the estate under RCW 11.68.100, within thirty days after the date of the filing of the Declaration of Completion of Probate, the schedule of fees set forth in the Declaration of Completion of Probate will be deemed reasonable, the acts of the personal representative will be deemed approved and the payment of those fees will be approved, the personal representative (and any bond ensuring the proper action of the personal representative) will be automatically discharged without further order of the court, the estate will be deemed to have been properly and fully distributed and settled, and the Declaration of Completion of Probate will be final and deemed the equivalent of a Decree of Distribution entered under chapter 11.76 RCW.
In other words, if a Personal Representative provides proper notice to Dr. Evil that the probate is about to be closed, Dr. Evil must petition the court within 30 days if he chooses to be evil and object to various aspects of the estate’s administration. If he waits for 31 days before objecting, it’s too late. He can’t do anything.
But suppose the Personal Representative either doesn’t know about Dr. Evil, can’t find him, or decides he doesn’t want to rock the boat by contacting him? In that event, none of the protections given in RCW 11.68.110 will apply to Dr. Evil. Dr. Evil can lurk around in the background, as evil twins are wont to do, and then come back a year or two later, perhaps after the estate’s beneficiaries have already spent their inheritances, and try to raise claims. Which is not a desirable result. Although providing notice to evil family members can seem awkward, the protections provided are well worth it.
Do you have questions about who receives notice of a probate? Please let us know. We’d be happy to help.
This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.