Washington, D.C. Probate

When a resident of the District of Columbia dies, family or other loved ones are confronted with the need to resolve the deceased person’s affairs, paying debts and distributing any remaining assets according to an estate plan, or according to the law of the District if the deceased person did not have a will or trust. This process is known as probate or estate administration.

Wallace Law is experienced in handling probate matters in the District of Columbia, and committed to providing clients with clear, compassionate guidance from beginning to end of the estate administration process.

Understanding the Probate Process in the District of Columbia

The probate process begins by filing the decedent’s will with the Probate Division of the Probate Clerk’s office within 90 days of the death, along with a Certificate of Filing Will. In most cases, the will names a personal representative (executor) of the estate. The personal representative has no power until appointed by the D.C. Superior Court Probate Division. If there is no will, or the will fails to name a personal representative, there is a statutory order that grants priority to serve as personal representative. Close family members are given highest priority.

In the District of Columbia, there are different types of probate processes depending on the size and complexity of the estate: unsupervised estate administration (informal probate); supervised estate administration (formal probate); and small estate administration. Most estates can be probated using unsupervised estate administration, but supervised administration may be called for if the estate is large, complex, or if there are likely to be disputes.

Whatever type of probate is required, an experienced probate attorney can provide vital assistance to a personal representative and ensure that each step of the process is completed correctly, promptly and efficiently. The law considers the services of a probate attorney a benefit to the estate, and the attorney’s fees are generally paid for by the estate rather than by the personal representative.

Attorney Megan Wallace has significant experience in probate practice in the District of Columbia. She practices exclusively in the areas of probate, trust administration, and estate planning. She regularly assists personal representatives in the District of Columbia with:

  • Filing wills with the Probate Division and securing appointment as personal representative;
  • Identifying and securing estate assets and preparing an inventory;
  • Notifying heirs, creditors and interested parties of probate proceedings;
  • Making sure that court fees and estate expenses are paid in a timely fashion;
  • Preparation of District of Columbia and federal estate tax returns;
  • Evaluating creditor claims against the estate and payment of legitimate claims;
  • Resolution of issues connected to foreign decedents’ estates (ancillary probate);
  • Preparing and filing of accountings with the Probate Division;
  • Coordinating with other professionals, such as accountants and financial advisers, to seamlessly manage estate business;
  • Distributing estate assets and efficiently resolution of the estate.

Megan Wallace works primarily with personal representatives, and also assists heirs and beneficiaries of estates seeking to understand and secure their rights under the law of the District of Columbia.

Knowledgeable, Caring Representation for District of Columbia Probate Matters

At Wallace Law, our entire practice is comprised of probate, trust administration, and estate planning. We are committed to helping our clients understand and navigate the District of Columbia probate process with compassion and clarity.

Probate is not just a legal process, but a personal one. At Wallace Law, we make a point of being accessible to our clients, and we take the time to respond to their questions and needs. We strive to offer excellent legal representation that is both thorough and efficient, to help clients resolve their loved ones’ estates and move forward with their lives. We understand that we cannot eliminate the pain of a loved one’s loss, but we can help to minimize the stress that accompanies the business and legal details surrounding a death.

We invite you to contact Wallace Law to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.

Assistance With Foreign Decedents’ Estates in the District of Columbia

If someone who lived outside the District of Columbia dies owning real estate located within the District, a foreign estate proceeding may be needed regarding that property. This is known as probate of a foreign decedent’s estate, or ancillary probate. Wallace Law regularly coordinates with attorneys handling probate cases in other states to file and efficiently resolve foreign decedents’ estate matters in the District of Columbia.