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AGO 1957 No. 123 - October 04, 1957
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTY CLERKS ‑- FEES ‑- NONINTERVENTION WILLS

(1) A fee of $6.00 is collectible if the "written declaration" contemplated by RCW 11.68.010 contains an account, otherwise no fee is collectible.

(2) The library fee authorized by RCW 27.24.070, as amended by chapter 31, Laws of 1957, may not be collected on the filing of the "written declaration" contemplated by RCW 11.68.010.

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                                                                 October 4, 1957

Honorable Don J. Clark
Prosecuting Attorney
Yakima County
102 County Court House
Yakima, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 123


Attention:  Mr. Richard C. Focht, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of September 11, 1957, in which you ask several questions relating to the collection of fees by the clerk of court in the probate of a nonintervention will.  We paraphrase your questions as follows:

            (1) In the case of a non-intervention [[nonintervention]]will, may the clerk charge a filing fee under RCW 36.18.020 for filing a written declaration that the administration of the estate has been completed?

            (2) May the clerk charge a library fee under RCW 27.24.070 for filing such an instrument?

            You are advised that (1) a fee of $6.00 is collectible if the "written declaration" contemplated by RCW 11.68.010 contains an account, otherwise no fee is collectible and (2) that the library fee authorized by RCW 27.24.070 may not be  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] collected on the filing of the "written declaration" contemplated by RCW 11.68.010.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            (1) RCW 36.18.020 provides that a fee of $6.00 shall be paid upon the filing of a "final account" in the settlement of the decedent's estate.

            RCW 11.68.010 provides for the probate of non-intervention [[nonintervention]]wills and reads in pertinent part as follows:

            ". . . when the estate is ready to be closed the court, upon application, shall have authority and it shall be its duty, to make and cause to be entered a decree finding and adjudging that all debts have been paid, finding and adjudging also the heirs and those entitled to take under the will and distributing the property to the persons entitled thereto. . . . If no application for a final decree is filed, the executor shall, when the administration of the estate has been completed, file a written declaration to that effect, and thereupon his powers shall cease."

            In our opinion to the prosecuting attorney of Lewis County, Washington, dated June 1, 1918, (OAG 1917-18 p. 291) [[1917-18 OAG 291]]we held that the fee of $6.00 was collectible upon the filing of an "application" for a decree under the act of the legislature now codified as RCW 11.68.010, quoted above, because that "application" for decree was necessarily an "accounting".

            You are therefore advised that, in our opinion, if the "written declaration" referred to in RCW 11.68.010 is in fact an "accounting," the fee of six dollars is collectible.  However, if the "written declaration" is simply a statement that no final decree has been filed, and that the administration of the estate has been completed, no fee is collectible.

            (2) RCW 27.24.070, as amended by chapter 31, Laws of 1957, authorizes a library fee in the sum of $1.50, and provides that the same shall be paid "By each person obtaining a final decree in a probate proceeding."

            The "written declaration" declaring the administration of an estate completed under RCW 11.68.010 is not a decree and therefore no library fee may be collected when it is filed.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            An order of solvency entered under the provisions of RCW 11.68.010 could be a final decree and therefore the library fee of $1.50 should be collected upon its being filed, in which event no further library fee could be collected if a final order were entered upon "application."

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General


EDWARD P. DONNELLY
Assistant Attorney General

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