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How to account for uncertainties in estate planning?

Many Washington residents in the Kent area may feel confident about their current estate plan. But to ensure that the assets included in a family inheritance are protected, there may be certain modifications that are necessary for an estate plan to remain a strong one.

A number of factors have to be considered to help ensure that assets are fully protected for future generations. Clearly, individuals have to be careful about how they spend money, but there are other concerns such as the weak economy and future legislation that may result in changes to Washington residents' estate planning needs.

Here are some factors that both beneficiaries and asset holders will want to consider when making plans for the future:

  • How will a plan account for the increasing cost of healthcare?
  • If the testator lives longer than expected, how will that affect an inherited retirement fund?
  • How should an estate plan mitigate the effect of probate and taxes on an inheritance?
  • If money is put into a trust, what kind of future access should beneficiaries have?

Also, typically all estates in Washington, barring a few exceptions, will need to go through the probate process. These exceptions include estates with a value under $100,000, assets held in a community property agreement, assets contained in a living trust and property with clear title. That means the costs of probate will need to be considered for estates that aren't exceptions to the rule.

Estate administration is a complicated process and, if not handled properly, can result in the needless loss of assets, as well as stress for beneficiaries. That is why maintaining an up-to-date estate plan is of the utmost importance, regardless of the estate size.

Source: CNews, "Don't count on an inheritance," Amy Fontinelle, Feb. 8, 2012

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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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