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Washington Estate Planning, Probate & Tax Legal Blog

When should you allow someone else to make your choices?

Many families watch a loved one suffer with the inability to make safe choices or manage finances as he or she ages. In some instances, self-directed revocable living trust with a professional trustee may be valuable in helping someone you love make choices in his or her best interest.

One Washington resident who allegedly struggles with self-advocacy and may lack strong decision-making capabilities was not so lucky. Attorney Jennifer Rydberg was influential in helping this man fight against the reported misallocation of funds by former SeaTac mayor, Michael Siefkes.

Discussing estate planning matters with family members

Estate planning is not always a topic that families want to discuss, particularly at times of celebration. At best, it might seem to be a bit of an odd topic -- speaking about what happens after one dies. But, while families are sharing time together this holiday season, they also may want to discuss estate planning.

Offers from a tax settlement company may be too good to be true

With the tax season just weeks away, you may have several concerns over your tax situation. In fact, worries may have plagued you for months because you did not properly address the taxes you owed earlier this year. Now, you have outstanding tax debt, and you worry that you will face substantial penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.

Estate planning and disaster preparedness

With the recent amount of natural disasters across the country, Kent area residents may wonder if they will ever be affected by an unexpected disaster. Unfortunately, these can happen at any time and virtually anywhere. Planning for a disaster is something many families have taken the time to do. But, families may not have thought about their estate plan in the event of a disaster.

Millennials need estate planning as well

Many Kent area residents have taken the time to create an estate plan. However, not all ages believe that estate planning is for them. Millennials are one group who may think that estate planning is not something they need to worry about right now. But, the truth is that everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of age.

Millennials are typically defined as the generation born between the 1980s and 1990s. As this generation is currently in their 20s and 30s, most have finished school and are establishing themselves in a career path. Although millennials are typically not thinking about their death, it can happen at any time. A car accident or other unexpected event can take the life of a young person in just seconds.

Some estate planning mistakes and the best ways to avoid them

Many residents in the Kent area have taken the time to create an estate plan for their family. They understand the importance of having this done to make sure their wishes are followed and their family is not left with a tremendous burden. Creating an estate plan is important, but mistakes can be made.

One mistake that can be made is not including all assets. Assets can be in many locations, including safe deposit boxes, filed away in drawers, or solely online. Having a comprehensive list of all assets, including where to find the paperwork, passwords, etc. is critical.

The holiday season is a great time to discuss estate planning

Now that the holiday season is upon us, many families will have the opportunity to spend time together. Most people will say that spending time with loved ones is one of the best parts of the holiday season. While families gather this holiday season in the Kent area, estate planning may be a good topic of discussion.

Although estate planning is rarely on the list of acceptable family conversations, the holidays are a great time to have this important discussion. With many family members in town at the same time, sharing estate plans is important. Setting a time to have a discussion regarding estate planning, along with why it is important, is the first step. When a family meets for this conversation, they should discuss what estate planning documents are already in place and what else is important, along with any struggles that a family may have. It is important to discuss power of attorney designations, health care proxies, and what a person's health care wishes are. A family can also discuss whether there is a will or trust in place and what heirs can expect from the estate.

Estate planning after the death of a spouse

The death of a spouse is a traumatic event in a person's life. Nothing can prepare a person for the tremendous loss of a companion. This is often one of the main events that leads to the creation of an estate plan. For those who are widowers, estate planning is a big deal.

After the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse has estate planning needs that should be addressed. First, the surviving spouse should choose a durable power of attorney. This person would be able to act on the spouse's behalf if they become incapacitated. A health care proxy should also be designated. A health care proxy would make important medical decisions if the person was not able to communicate their wishes. Existing estate plans, such as a will or trust, should also be updated, along with beneficiary designations.

Divorced women and estate planning

Unfortunately, many marriages in the Kent area do not last forever. When a person gets divorced, it can affect many aspects of their life, including their estate planning. For those who have gone through the divorce transition, it is important to evaluate an estate plan and make sure it is updated for the new period of a person's life.

One thing that needs to be updated after a divorce is an existing will. A divorce usually means there is a change in assets along with a change in beneficiaries, which should all be updated. In addition, if there are children, their guardianship plan may also need to be updated after a divorce. A previous guardian choice may no longer be a good fit and a new one may need to be designated.

Make Your Consultation Appointment

To speak with an attorney at Gellner Law Group about estate planning, probate, trusts, wills or tax controversy, contact our law office in Kent, Washington, today. You can call 425-336-2908 or send us an email. We provide representation across the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.

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