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Updated wills can make a huge difference

Washington residents may not be immediately concerned with planning for the end of life. This is not always the most comfortable topic to discuss with family members or friends. But, considering the possible implications of avoiding the topic, many residents are taking the seemingly uncomfortable but extremely important steps of estate planning. The increasingly fast pace of life can make it difficult to slow down and really address some of these longer-term issues, but it's not too late to get started by taking the steps to ensure that loved ones will be properly covered through strong estate planning.

Wills & trusts are often not very difficult to set up and can provide lifetime benefits. According to the state of Washington, any person of sound mind who is 18 or older may devise a last will for all of his or her estate. Studies show that maintaining a will can lead to family harmony. Having the peace of mind knowing the future is secure can reduce stress.

It is important to communicate among family members to what will be distributed if death would occur and what properly goes to whom. For instance, leaving a large chunk of money to a family member at a young age could potentially lead to the misuse of spending it wisely. A teenager or troubled family member could misappropriate a large portion of money. Establishing a trust can set specific guidelines to protect assets until a designated recipient reaches a certain age.

The longer a person lives, the more assets that individual is likely to accumulate. Updating these assets in a will is consequential. For example, if someone recently purchased a new car and then passed away without adding it to their will, it's possible that the government could take ownership of the asset.

A poorly constructed will or improperly designed trust can leave families devastated after the death of a loved one. Like most things in life, death can be unexpected. What happens if there is no will or trust set up? Chances are, the government will be getting a large chunk of what's left through probate law. Seeking the help of a qualified professional to update or set up a will or trust can make all the difference.

Source: Patriot Ledger, "MAKING CENTS: Money is the root of many family problems," John P. Napolitano, Feb. 23, 2013

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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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