As a probate attorney, we often get calls from people that died with no will.
When that happens, people generally want to know what the process is like.
This article (and video) will give you everything you need.
First, when there is no will essentially ANYONE can become the Personal Representative (Executor – who I’m going to call the PR from here on out).
All that needs to happen is a petition is filed with the court to open probate, a hearing date is set, any heirs are given notice, and the court will decide if that person is to be the PR or not.
With that being said, the rules do provide a hierarchy of people that are to be appointed PR if they ask to do so (if you want this order google RCW personal representative or set up a time for us to chat).
Once that happens the probate is opened and proceeds very much like a probate that has a will, with ONE big difference.
That difference is, with a will, the distributions are outlined specifically. Who gets what is known and obvious.
When there is no will, this remains the same in many ways, except that the distributions are set by Washington State law and not the person who has died.
The exact order of distribution is in the graphic below.
So that’s pretty much it.