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Estate plans can come in as many varieties as Washingtonians do

A common reason cited for crafting an estate plan is to provide a financial legacy for one's children. However, many Washington residents feel that this advice does not apply to them. For instance, some do not have children, and some feel that they don't have enough money to make the effort worthwhile, and so they decide to do nothing. That decision is misguided.

What many people do not understand is that if they do not provide a will stating how they want their property distributed after their death, the State of Washington will decide on the distribution of property for them. Under the state's law of intestacy, a court will distribute the estate to the person's heirs in a predetermined order. Depending upon the makeup of the family and its surviving members, the estate could end up going to a distant cousin the deceased never really liked - or perhaps never even met. Sometimes finding distant relatives takes a lot of work, and much of the estate is consumed by the associated fees as the state looks for the heirs.

One good option for people who don't have close family members - or don't wish to provide for the relatives they have - is to execute a will which provides for a favorite charity. Even those who don't have a great deal of wealth can make a big difference in the bottom line of a nonprofit service organization.

Another aspect of estate planning that many people do not understand is that a will can make decisions about far more than just money. In fact, many of the most emotional disputes over inheritance involve not money, but items with mostly sentimental value. One can help loved ones avoid these conflicts by creating a will that determines who will get what items.

Kent County estate planning attorneys can work with clients to create a fully personalized plan for all types of family situations and personal goals.

Source:, "What Kind Of Inheritance Do You Owe Your Kids?" Bart Astor, April 14, 2014

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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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