The only thing that really matters is who you love. After twenty-eight years as an estate planning and probate attorney, that’s one thing that I know for sure! Yes, we’ll ask you about the money, the tax planning, the way your retirement and life insurance are designated, who gets your jewelry. But we always circle back to the issue of why those things are important. Who do you love, and how should they be cared for if when you are gone? What is the best tax advantaged way to care for those people?
The state legislature wrote one for you. It’s called the Intestacy Statute. The state’s Will everywhere in the US gives money to youngsters when they turn 18. The State’s Will won’t give money to charities. It might provide for your parents, but maybe not. The State has to presume that you didn’t trust anyone to handle your affairs without being supervised, because if you had trusted someone, you would have told us and so the Courts will supervise every move that your Executor makes. The Executor can’t sell the house without the Court reviewing all the offers. She can’t clean out your home or have a garage sale without an order from the Court.
There are really only two questions you need to answer, so that we can provide you with a Will or Living Trust that truly reflects your last wishes.
First: Who do you love and how should they be taken care of after you are gone? Are you concerned about your elders who need health care help, people with disabilities, foreign spouses? Are there people who are not legal heirs who should inherit from you, such as a “significant other”?
Second: Is there any tax planning that should be done if you die, or you and your spouse die at nearly the same time?
The usual answer includes spouse, partner, and children as the most loved. Now think of your larger family. Maybe you’ve got an elder on your list of special people, or a disabled sister or brother. Do any of these people need special school or have unusual talents that should be nurtured? Will your aging parents need additional income if inflation outpaces their pensions? Some people are too young, too old, too dedicated to drinking, too involved with an abuser or too nonchalant to handle money all by themselves. Maybe those people should be protected with a Trust. Once we understand what’s important to you, then the planning can begin.
Our goal is to help you identify your wishes, and then draft documents that capture your heart, planning in a way that gives you the best estate tax planning, maximizing your gifts.
We are located in the heart of Bellevue, WA and our office is easily accessible to King County areas of Seattle, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Renton, Issaquah, Bothell, Mill Creek and Redmond.