Estate Planning in Washington State 2016-11-03T13:53:21+00:00

ESTATE PLANNING IN WASHINGTON STATE

Some people equate Estate Planning with creating a will and equate a will with something you sign 2 days before you die, which is never today. Lucky you!

Estate Planning is far more than creating a will. Estate Planning allows you to own and manage your assets during your lifetime should you become incapacitated, and to control how your assets will be distributed to your intended recipients upon your death.

Frank Selden Law, PS solely provides Estate Planning for clients who live in, or have assets in Washington State. If that is you, please contact us for a personal consultation to discuss your specific goals and wishes.

estate planning for your family

Do I need an Estate Plan?

The answer is simple: YES, you do. Everyone should complete some type of Estate Plan. The type of Estate Plan you will need depends on your circumstances, goals and objectives, but should at least include:

  • a Will to arrange your affairs at death
  • a Durable Power of Attorney in case of incapacity, and
  • a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will for medical issues.
  • who will become Legal Guardian of minor children, if applicable.

Many people choose to add a Revocable Living Trust to their Estate Plan. A Revocable Living Trust provides additional privacy, is much more efficient, and can save a lot of money.

At Frank Selden Law, we specialize in more complicated Estate Planning, which often also involves the continuation and ownership of your business. 

When Do I need an Estate Plan?

As soon as possible. There are too many examples from people of all ages who did not. Families falling apart over an inheritance or any other difficult decision that has to be made. Recent high profile cases include Prince and Bobbi Kristina Brown, but most likely you know of similar cases ‘closer to home’.

Estate Planning provides your loved ones with guidance. It also keeps them from having to make difficult decisions for you that some day they will regret. But Estate Planning also ensures that your wishes are respected.

Fortunately we will never know if and when misfortune will strike. But that is exactly why you should not procrastinate. Get your affairs in order as soon as possible.

Estate Planning provides peace of mind

F.A.Q. about Estate Planning in Washington State

A Will is a relatively simple document in which you identify who will receive your assets when you die. It only applies to assets held solely in your name, you cannot include joint assets.

At your death, the Executor/Executrix or Personal Representative will be in charge of going through a court process called Probate, which will distribute your assets according to your Will or state law.

Probate is the court process every Will must go through before they are made effective. As with all court actions, the length and cost can vary: a nine month to three year duration is not uncommon and executor/administration fees can amount up to 5% of your Estate. Also,  all your assets will be made public. 

A Revocable Living Trust is an Estate Plan in which you leave instructions for your Trustee to care for you in life and for your beneficiaries after death.

Most people prefer Revocable Trust based plans because, unlike Wills, they do not have to be Probated. Depending on your assets, the cost can be far less in administrative fees and you will be able to  keep your affairs private.

In almost every case, you will be your own Trustee while you are alive and capable of to making sound decisions. You can then name friends or family members as the Trustee of your trust. Doing so will ensure that they can make financial decisions on your behalf when you are no longer capable, and distribute your assets according to your wishes after your death.

In a Revocable Living Trust you should name Trustees who can take financial decisions for you should you not be able to, not want to, or not wish to do so. It’s important to choose a person whom you trust to act in your best interest.

This back-up trustee comes to power when you die, resign or become incapacitated. There is no need for court involvement as long as you do not dispute that you are incapable of making sound decisions on your own behalf.

Through the Health Care Power of Attorney (POA) document you choose an “Agent” (usually your spouse or another family member) to make medical decisions on your behalf once you can’t do that yourself. This Agent can discuss your medical condition with the doctor and decide on courses of treatment or procedures.

A Living Will should include directions regarding life prolonging procedures when you are in a terminal and irreversible state, with no hope of recovery, and/or permanently comatose. This document dictates your last wishes directly to your doctor, if the situation arises.

More importantly perhaps, you avoid forcing your spouse or children to make that very difficult decision for you. Decisions they may regret for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately there is no straight forward answer for the cost of Estate Planning. Every client is unique, and every Estate Plan we create is created with the best interest of our client in mind. 

There is no fee for our initial consultation. Once we learn what your goals are, we will explain to you what we can do for you. Then we will provide you with a fee, which you are free to accept or decline.

Estate Planning Resources & Links

All information on this website, including any links and documents linked to below, is given for legal education and promotion of legal services only. It may not work for  your specific situation. It is not legal advice, I am not your  lawyer and I do not answer questions from non-clients. I strongly recommend that you hire your own local lawyer to get legal advice and help with your specific problems.

Estate Planning DIY

Estate Planning Links

The Washington State Bar Association publishes a series of 2-page consumer-information pamphlets on various legal topics. Written for the non-lawyer, these pamphlets are intended to educate citizens about basic aspects of Washington state laws. Of  interest to the topic of estate planning are:

These pamphlets are designed for multi-sided printing so if you read them online you need to read the second page first.