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My husband passed Feb. 12. Want property probate, ex lives in house. I live in WA, she in OR. Is that possible? Aprx cost?

Oak Harbor, WA |

I need to put personal property & house in probate. Husbands ex-wife lives in house in Hilllsboro/Beaverton, OR. I live in Oak Harbor, WA. My husband passed Feb 2012. How do I go about this? I would like to file in Island County. House, cars, tools, etc. are in Washington County. I do not know if she has disposed or sold any of my husbands personal items or now. I would like her to have to travel here, not me there. Is this possible? Is this costly? They was married 25 years, we were married 1 1/2. He and I were together 5 years. He lived with me the whole time. They separated 10 yrs ago. He was 57, when he passed. I am 54, she is 62ish. I need an attorney, that will help me win. Thank you. Melva

Attorney Answers 3


I am very sorry for your loss. You have many questions, but many of those questions cannot be answered without additional facts. It is not clear how the ex-wife would have rights in your husband's house, for example. Was she also on the deed? Was she awarded some part of that property, in the divorce?

The relative time periods of the respective marriages are not going to make a difference for your purposes. The presence or absence of a Will or Trust very well could.

When you say you need an attorney that will help you win, it is not clear what you are hoping to achieve. The facts will dictate what happens. It does not appear that there are any arguments about what the facts are. It will depend on the title of the assets, the estate planning documents, if any and perhaps on the divorce judgment or property settlement from their divorce.

You clearly DO need an attorney to assist you with this. Ideally, you would want an attorney that is licensed in both Washington and Oregon, because it appears there may be an overlap in terms of the probate. If you do not know of an attorney, you can click the "find a lawyer" link below and type in probate litigation and the city/area.

Best wishes to you and I hope that you are able to resolve this with a minimum of expense and delay!

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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Much depends on the ownership of the house in Oregon, and whose name is on the deed. if a Washington spouse has an ownership interest in Oregon real estate, then the Oregon real estate would be subject to Oregon law and would be probated in Oregon.

If a deceased spouse leaves property in Washington, typically you would initiate the probate in Washington for the Washington property, and initiate an ancillary probate in Oregon for the Oregon property.

I strongly suggest that you speak to a local attorney. He or she will ask a number of questions to determine what rights you may have in the Oregon (and other) property.

I wish you the best.

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My colleagues are correct in their assessments of your situation. First, you will need a local WA probate attorney to initiate a petition for probate in WA. The, an ancillary probate will have to be filed in OR, with an OR attorney.

Your scenario is silent as to the existence of any testamentary documents (wills or trusts) and the form of title for the real property. These facts will have a great impact on how the probates will proceed. You mention that you need an attorney to help you win, there are no winners or losers, in this context. The law is generally clear, if there is a valid will (and it is not contested) its terms should be followed. If there is not a valid will, the laws of intestate succession will apply.

When you retain local counsel, they should be able to provide you with a solid base for what should transpire, based on the facts not provided here.

When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

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