The first thing that needs to happen is for the court to appoint a Personal Representative. This happens during a type of legal proceeding known as a probate action. A probate action is used to address the management of the deceased person’s estate. The prospective personal representative has to file a petition that includes a sworn statement to the courts. The personal representative is usually a family member or friend of the deceased but can also be a Washington wrongful death attorney. They will usually be a person that is reputable and trustworthy; a criminal background may prevent someone from being named the personal representative. The personal representative will be able to file the wrongful death claim for the deceased person’s estate.