Recent Washington Legislative Update concerning Estate Planning and Probate – Part 1

Emily Y. Tyson-Shu Edmonds Lawyer

While the WA Legislature is currently in regular sessions, multiple bills are under review for consideration, and, once enacted, may change current practices to estate planning and probate. This blog will discuss general bullet points on House Bill 1867 relating to eliminating the estate tax filing requirement involving a qualifying familial residence.

In general, if a Washington resident passes away while the value of the resident’s gross estate meets or exceeds the Washington estate tax exemption amount in $2.193 million, a tax filing for the estate is required to be done within 9 months since the date of death. An extension for an additional 6 months can be filed, yet some actions need to be taken to claim the extension. 

For most married couples, the tax filing obligations generally fall onto the surviving spouses when one of the married spouses passes away. If this new law is enacted, it could potentially save surviving spouses’ the trouble with preparation of tax filing, while the surviving spouses are going through grief and loss.

According to this bill, “[b]eginning with decedents dying on or after January 1, 2025, a Washington estate tax return is not required to be filed if:

(1) the decedent’s estate is not required to file a return to claim a specific election;

(2) the decedent was survived by a spouse and the decedent’s interest in the qualifying family residence passed from the decedent to the spouse; and

(3) the value of the decedent’s gross estate after deducting the value of the decedent’s interest in the qualifying residence is less than the applicable exclusion amount.”

See Bill analysis for HB 1867 by Washington State House of representatives – office of Program Research – Finance Committee

In other words, in a scenario where the deceased spouse owned a family residence that will be inherited by the surviving spouse, and the gross value of the deceased spouse’s estate will not meet or exceed $2.193 million after deducting the value of the deceased spouse’s interest in the family residence, then the surviving spouse may have an option not to prepare a tax return for the deceased spouse’s estate, and hence save some time, energy and professional fee.

This bill is currently under review for consideration in the Senate. Stay tune and get updates on whether this bill will be enacted into law by the Washington Legislature. Source: Washington State Legislature. (as of February 6, 2024)

To learn more about Recent Washington Legislative Update concerning Estate Planning and Probate, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100

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