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Jamie Corrine Clausen

Jamie Clausen’s Answers

30 total

  • Does being a convicted felony effect ones ability to be appointed executor/ personal representative of a family members will

    my grandmother passed away dec 18th. Her will gives power of attorney and executorship to her brother whom is deceased and the next named is my father. my father has handled all of her affairs and just yesterday got a letter from his sister that s...

    Jamie’s Answer

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    I agree with Justin's answer. Your father cannot serve and was legally obligated to file the original will with the court within 40 days. That said, your father may want to have an attorney look at the order and make sure that his rights are adequately protected. The court should not have granted the sister non-intervention power or waived bond without either your father's agreement or notice to your father prior to the hearing. If his relationship with is sister is strained he may want to make sure those protections are in place and start working with an attorney to make sure the probate stays on track. He would also want to make sure the Will itself is probated if it contains any other language that is more beneficial to him than the intestate laws.

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  • In Washington state is a beneficiary entitled to the inventory of all known assets of the estate and their estimated value?

    My dad made his will in 1987, at the time the oldest of us was 18, now the youngest (deceased) 41. He named his brother the executor. Everything was to go into a trust until we were 25 and then distributed. Dad never got around to changing his w...

    Jamie’s Answer

    I would add that regardless of whether the trust or an individual is a beneficiary any heir at law is entitled to an inventory and you would be an heir at law for your brother's estate. That inventory is required though until at least three months have passed since your uncle was appointed (if he has been appointed yet) and at least ten days have passed since you made a "written" demand. I echo that advice that you find counsel and am confident that you are entitled to this information but you want to make sure you that you fully understand your rights.

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  • Will a small estate affidavit from Washington state apply to obtain funds left in my deceased father's Alaska bank?

    My father was a resident of Washington state since 1992 died at age 67 while visiting Alaska. I only found out about his death via the state troopers. He had no will. He had worked in Alaska for many years and kept his account & a safe deposit ...

    Jamie’s Answer

    I agree that a Washington State small estate affidavit should be sufficient under the law but in reality it can be a struggle to get out of state asset holders to honor these documents because they are not court orders. I think it would be worthwhile to have one prepared and to present it along with the death certificate but if they refuse to honor it, I think your money would be better spent opening an intestate probate in Washington and getting a court order than spending time and money fighting to get them to honor the affidavit. I think the bank is more likely to honor the affidavit if it is prepared and presented by an attorney and given the expense of probate you would be better served to get help at that step than try on your own and get forced into the more expensive option.

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  • My husband just died without a will and we have a house together.

    Our house was built after we were married, but the land that it is built on was purchased by my husband before we were married although we were still paying on it after we were married. Is the land still considered separate property and is my st...

    Jamie’s Answer

    From what you said it would appear the the home is an asset that contains both separate and community property. What the percentages would be would depend a great deal on the characterization of the payments made during your marriage the comparative values of the property with or without the house and before and after your marriage. I would recommend that you hire an attorney to evaluate the facts in detail and then approach your step-son (assuming he is over 18) with a reasonable settlement and try to reach an agreement. Litigating these issues can be unpredictable and expensive for all involved. If your step son is under 18 the court will want a GAL to approve any possible division.

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  • Can I charge the executor of a deceased tenant if they entered the home and took only a box of personal belongings, and key?

    verbally stated he would pay to have dwelling cleaned, and did not, said he was not coming back and left on a plane back to mississippi from washington, he had the only key to the apartment. He left everything, holes in the wall, doors,

    Jamie’s Answer

    As a landlord you have most of the same rights against and duties to the estate of a deceased tenants as you would to the tenant themselves. If someone has been appointed by the court as the executor of the estate you can make those claims through them but it is unlikely the executor owes you a personal duty. If no executor has been appointed you may want to consider getting appointed yourself to take care of getting the apartment cleared and making a claim for any significant damage. I would recommend you see an estate attorney to better understand your rights and responsibilities. They can also search the court records and find out what the status of the estate might be.

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  • My husband passed away in WA state the debt related to his illnesses has not been paid His will left everything to me.

    His will left one dollar to each of his daughters When we married we combined our separate assets Wells Fargo is with holding his IRA due to them not filling out the correct paperwork All bank information came to us as joint owners It does however...

    Jamie’s Answer

    The answer above is not correct legal advice for the State of Washington!

    In Washington, non-probate assets may be "abated" meaning used to pay debts depending on the size of the debt and the other assets available. Abatement rules are complex and if there is sizable debt in the estate you should meet with an attorney to determine the order debts should be paid and proper assets to use.

    Also, if the money that was contributed to the IRA was community property money, the beneficiary designation would only apply to his half of the community unless you had previously agreed to the beneficiary distributoin. Again, the law in this area is complex and very fact specific. I think you need an attorney to help you determine if you have a claim to this money.

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  • For Washington State, what is the fee that an exector can ask for? There are two executors for the estate.

    What is the amount they can be paid for? Again, there are two executors for the estate.

    Jamie’s Answer

    As stated above, an executor or executors in your case, can receive reasonable compensation for their efforts. Unlike in other states, like California, where that is determined by looking for a percentage of the size of the estate, in Washington the courts want to see actual records of the time the executors spent working on the estate, the kind of work they were doing, and hourly fee they are requesting. While there is no set hourly rate that an executor can receive, factors that courts tend to look at are the complexity or difficulty of what was done and the skills or expertise the PR brought to the task. Professionals may also be asked the rates they charge clients for similar work.

    Because the case law on this issue is so old in Washington, making the numbers themselves a little meaningless, I often encourage clients to look at the rates charged for various services by professional fiduciaries like professional guardians. Because these guardians bring a wealth of experience and training to their job, a non-professional should expect to charge less spending on how similar a background they bring to the table. If there were unique PR requirements (like remodeling a home they would want to look at what professionals would charge and charge less depending on their level of expertise.) Most attorneys who practice in this area have a good "gut feeling" about what rate a court will or will not accept and I recommend running any conclusions by one before you make any final decisions.

    I have seen a lot of probates get hung up on PR fees and spend more time fighting about them than anyone saves. If you are a PR, I recommend letting the other people know upfront what you plan to charge per hour and keep them updated on the work you are doing so that the bill at the end makes sense. If you are a beneficiary concerned about a PR overcharging, I recommend that you ask for their hourly breakdown before jumping to an conclusions and try to settle the issue informally or in mediation before litigating anything!

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  • I inherited a fair size amount of money from my mom, but I have not seen the will, or been given all of the money its being

    allocated out to me, which is not a condition of the will . I have concerns because a total of 4 siblings are to divide this money equally, but as far as I know non of us know a total amount. The taxes have not been done for this year and 1 siblin...

    Jamie’s Answer

    The advice above is all good but I wanted to give you a little bit more information about timeline that might be helpful to you.

    (1) In Washington the Personal Representative has 40 days to present the will to the court.
    (2) The PR has three months from the time probate is opened to make an inventory of all the assets. That inventory must be given to all beneficiaries or heirs who request it within 10 days.
    (3) It is common that a PR will NOT give all the assets for at least four months after the probate is opened because they need to keep assets to pay creditors and taxes.
    (4) If the assets haven't been distributed within 12 months, the PR needs to report to all the beneficiaries about the status of the probate and why the assets haven't been distributed.
    (5) The PR is entitled to be paid a reasonable hourly rate for the work that he or she does on the estate so they likely will receive more than the others but the rate and time must be reasonable and must be reported to the court before the probate is closed. If you disagree with the amount then, you can contest it with the court.

    Hope that helps.

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  • My probate attorney withdrew. How will this effect the probate.

    The probate is very simple and was opened simply to transfer real property (the only asset). One heir, one will leaving everything to heir.I am paid up currently, but am being billed for calls to attempt to collect more fees. He has said the judge...

    Jamie’s Answer

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    As a PR it is true that you have a legal obligation to complete this probate and are likely to want an attorneys assistance in doing so. But I disagree with an earlier answer that you would necessarily be best served by working with your prior attorney. If the relationship has broken down to the point that he or she has withdrawn, it is probably best to try with someone new.

    I would recommend that you start by requesting your full file from your prior attorney. He has an obligation to provide it to you if requested. That will give a new attorney a good head start on seeing what has been done and what still needs to be done so that you can get things back on track. If your prior attorney has been doing what needs to be done it doesn't sound like much more is required that paying any creditors that need paying, making sure all taxes have been paid, and filing a declaration of completion. Having the prior file will make sure that you don't have to pay for duplicative work.

    I don't know what happened in your relationship with your prior attorney but as you pick a new one I have several suggestions to make sure things go better this time. (1) Do some research first and make sure your attorney focuses their practice on your area of law and has positive reviews from past clients. (2) Make sure you understand how you will be billed and stay current on payments. If you have questions, ask. Your attorney should not bill you for the time necessary to do your billing, answer billing questions, or attempt to collect fees.
    (3) Make sure your attorney has your most current contact information and that you are easy to get a hold of or return messages promptly. Attorneys will bill you for status updates and calls or emails to get needed information and if they need to make several attempts, it will increase your costs. (4) Make sure that you clearly communicate what portions of the probate you are willing to do by yourself (like transferring property in your case), get clear instructions on what the attorney needs you to and what documentation they need that you have done it and let them know the status. That avoids things falling through the cracks or being done twice.

    Best of luck on getting your probate back on track!

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  • Wrongful death - Washington state specific

    Mother is deceased and 3 adult children are survivors and equal beneficiaries. All 3 were present at time of situation. WA statue dictates the PR is the responsible party to initiate an action, on behalf of and the benefit for, the estate and surv...

    Jamie’s Answer

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    Most Personal Representatives in Washington, especially those named in a will, serve with non-intervention powers. That means that they are have a lot of power to make decisions, including decisions about litigation without having to consult with the court or get consent from the other beneficiaries. This is part of why probate in Washington is relatively inexpensive and quick.

    But it can also lead to conflict when beneficiaries are left out of decisions and feel cut off from information. That can ultimately lead to more expense for the estate and potential liability for the PR since they are still required to make reasonable decisions and the cost of defending a choice after the fact can be expensive and difficult.

    That is why it is usually advisable for all PRs to provide as much information as possible to beneficiaries and try to get everyone on the same page. This can be more difficult in a litigation situation since it risks the breach of attorney client privilege that can hurt the estate in the case.

    It may be more useful not to focus on your "right" to information, which is likely very limited, but to instead approach the PR with helpful suggestions on how you could establish an open line of communication that would allow everyone to have the information they need to feel comfortable with the choices that are being made. You could point out that this would have the added benefit of not putting the PR in a position to be second guessed after the fact by people with less information and reduce the chances of the estate ending up in conflict that could cost everyone money down the road.

    I think that including you in conversations would be best accomplished by having all the involved beneficiaries enter into a collaborative law agreement that would protect privileged information from outside parties. It also reduces the chance that conflicts should they arise will need to be settled in through expensive litigation. It may be useful to consult with an attorney who practices collaborative probate to reach out the PR with that suggestion.

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