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In Washington State, does an Affidavit of Small Estate have to be filed with the Court?

Moses Lake, WA |

The Estate of my deceased friend is worth maybe $2000.00. Do we need to file an Affidavit of Small Estate with the Superior Court so that my friend's widow can recieve the $2000.00 of his insurance? Thats all there is as far as an Estate goes, except for personal items like his clothes.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Washington state does not require probate proceedings regardless of the estate amount. Probate in Washington is entirely discretionary

    Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC


  2. The small estate affidavit discussed in RCW 11.62.010 does not need to be filed with the court. But life insurance proceeds will generally pass to the named beneficiary without the need for a probate or small estate affidavit. If the decedent did not name a beneficiary, then a small estate affidavit might be necessary.

    I am not your attorney. My response is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


  3. Two WA attorneys have given you the best advice you will probably get.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  4. For an estate with less than $100,000 in assets and no real property - an Affidavit if Claiming Successor can be presented along with a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate to the financial institution to transfer the asset to the claiming beneficiary without the need to open probate. The Affidavit of Claiming Successor need not be filed with the Superior Court. With regard to any life insurance proceeds, the life insurance company will distribute to the beneficiary identified in the beneficiary designation.

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