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How do you transfer property to a beneficiary after death?

Seattle, WA |

My Mom passed away last year and I am the only beneficiary. The probate process is about to close. What is the next step in transferring the home from her name into mine? What forms are required? Do I start the transfer before or after probate closes?

Thank you for your help

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Attorney answers 4


Normally, when final inventories and reports have been accepted by the probate folks, the executor/personal representative executes a deed to the heir. It has language like "Joe Smith, as personal rep for the estate of Mary Smith, grants to Joe Smith the following property...."

It is best to have a real estate lawyer draft the proper deed.


As part of the probate being closed, the estate would sign a deed transfering the property from the estate to you. I've found the link below very helpful in answering Washington probate quetions.


Typically a Personal Representative's Deed is used to transfer Real Property from the Estate to the Beneficiary. An Excise Tax Affidavit will be required, though the transaction is exempt from the tax if it is going to a beneficiary (except the $10 administrative fee, check with the specific County for local fees). You will also need to provide at least a copy of Letters Testamentary with the Excise Tax Affidavit. Depending on the County, the letters may need to have been issued within 60 days. If that is the case and your letters testamentary are outdated, simply order new letters testamentary from the clerk of the superior court for a fee which may vary depending on the county (it is $5.00 in all of the Counties in which I practice).


Thanks for your question. The timing for transferring the property depends on how you are planning to close your estate. There are three methods available. In two cases, you transfer the property immediately after the final report and/or declaration of completion has been filed and the waiting period has passed. If you are using a declaration of completion with receipts and waivers you can transfer it before declaration is filed with the court. If you are not sure what method you should use, you should consult with an attorney. In any event, the time lines can be very tight so make sure you have your ducks in a row before you move forward. You should also make sure that the probate is really ready to be closed before you start transferring real estate.

When the time does come to transfer the property the posts above are correct that you would want to use a PR deed and make sure you have the additional documents that are needed to records it such as the excise tax affidavit and letters from the court.

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