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September 2013 Archives

Suspicious will leads to fight over $300 million estate

Washington probate courts must look at a valid will as the person's final say as to how all his or her assets should be distributed. Since the person is no longer around to correct or interpret the will, the court is very serious about sticking to the express terms of the will, so long as all the formal requirements of a will are met. However, there are cases in which all the formal requirements appear to be met, and yet the person's family members or other beneficiaries suspect that it does not represent the person's true wishes. Perhaps they suspect that the person was in poor mental health at the time the will was executed, or was coerced or manipulated by someone with undue influence over the person. In these cases, interested parties may contest the will in court.

Cabins, beach houses and family trusts

A vacation home is a great place for a family to spend time together, and many Washington residents would like to make that kind of experience something to pass on through the generations. Unfortunately, vacation homes are often a source of conflict after one generation leaves it to the next. Multiple siblings and their spouses and children all want their time in the property, and they may get into conflict over who gets it, when they get it, who maintains it and who pays for upkeep. The original owner can leave the home in a will and pass it on to the next generation, but that doesn't settle most of these questions.

Death, taxes and same-sex marriage in Washington state

It was only last December when Washington's same-sex couples were legally allowed to get married in the state, but estate planning and tax issues have changed for these couples quite a lot in the months since then. First, there was the Supreme Court's decision that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which meant that the federal government could no longer deny federal benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married. Next, just last month, the Internal Revenue Service outlined new rules that made it clear that married same-sex couples will be able to file their taxes just as heterosexual married couples have long been able to do, as either "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately."

Hospital seeks guardianship over Amish girl with cancer

Under Washington law, guardianship is a legal power that allows one person to make decisions for another who can't make those decisions for themselves. For example, parents are typically considered legal guardians of their minor children by virtue of being their parents. However, when an adult is unable to make important decisions due to disability or infirmity, a family member or other concerned party can take legal action because of incapacity to be made legal guardian. This arrangement is common in cases adult children becoming guardians of their elderly parents.

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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