The death of a loved one can be an emotional time. Many people going through the estate planning process in Washington know about probate. Probate is the court process that supervises the transfer of money and property, identification of heirs and payment of debts when someone dies. Probate can be a significant cost for an estate and there are ways, through careful planning, that probate can be avoided or significantly reduced.
Washington's many music fans may remember Bill Graham as one of the most powerful concert promoters of the rock era. With his Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Graham had a front-row seat to the flowering of the music business on the West Coast from the Summer of Love until the early 1990s. When he died in a helicopter crash in 1991, Graham left behind an estate worth at least $36 million. However, the precise value of that estate has been the source of litigation for years.
If Kent residents share the opinions of an increasing number of retirement-age Americans, they may find themselves considering estate planning options that differ from the traditional notion of leaving a financial legacy for children. A recent study indicates that 45 percent of the baby boomer generation would not rate leaving an inheritance as a primary concern. For 31 percent of respondents, using wills or trusts to make gifts to charity surpassed the importance of leaving money to heirs.
King County pet lovers may take interest in the "Puppies in Probate" pet guardian program established by the Seattle Humane Society. The program affords pet owners the peace of mind of knowing that their furry friends will be placed in a welcoming home if they outlive their human caretakers.