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James A. Jones, Attorney At Law
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Tacoma Washington Elder Law Blog

How to decide which educational trust is right for you

Setting up an educational trust in Washington is more complicated than people often realize. Even though many parents and grandparents want to help their loved ones pay for their education, finding the best financial vehicle can be a confusing and challenging process. Those who are interested in establishing an educational trust should spend some time exploring all of their options before signing any legal documents.

There are many different trusts and savings plans to choose from, and each option has its own pros and cons. With a pot trust, the benefactor will put money in a single account that all of their beneficiaries have access to. When a beneficiary needs to pay for their education, they will formally request funds from that account. Unfortunately, that type of account can result in an unequal distribution of money if a beneficiary pulls too much out.

Why you should consider putting your parent’s home in a trust

Estate planning is all about streamlining the complicated and emotional legal challenges that follow the death of a loved one. A house is perhaps the most valuable assets a person obtains during their lifetime. So, as you might imagine, your parent’s home(s) may be complex to manage after their passing.

However, one way to simplify the transference of a home after death is to put it into a trust. Here are a few reasons why doing so could be helpful for your family.

Charitable giving can be part of an estate plan

The point of an estate plan is to create the means for an efficient transition of assets upon one's passing. Among other issues that estate planning can address is the continuation of charitable giving initiated during one's life or the creation of a new gift to a favored cause or charity. There are many ways that estate owners in Washington can accomplish charitable goals.

Most would consider philanthropic giving to be a product of high net worth individuals. While this is largely true, even more modest estates can establish a legacy that may extend onward for generations to come. Therefore, deciding on an appropriate recipient is important.

Writing a will that takes family into account

It can be relatively easy for Washington residents to create a will. It can also be relatively easy for them and others to create a will that creates tension between family members. To limit the chances that an estate plan causes families to break apart, it is important to select the right executor. In some cases, this means choosing a professional to do the job as opposed to the oldest child or a close friend.

Money that is designated for other parties should be distributed to them in a timely manner. It should also be distributed in a way that they can handle. For instance, if cash is being given to a young person, it should be provided over time as opposed to in a lump sum. However, it may not be a bad idea to give a spouse or another adult a large sum of money at once if they can manage it properly.

Which is best: A will, a revocable living trust or both?

When you are planning your estate, there are many legal documents you can choose to create. Estate plans typically include a will, a power of attorney a healthcare power of attorney. In the estate-planning process, many people also choose to create a trust for their loved ones.

You may find yourself contemplating whether you should create a last will and testament, or a revocable living trust. Then, there is a third option that some people dismiss: Creating both.

Legal documents any older person should have

People often assume that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. That it is a means of organizing wealth into complicated funds and trusts. The reality is that estate planning is for everyone. It doesn't require you to have amassed assets and property, it can be as simple as drafting a few pages of legal documents.

Each person's situation is different, but generally speaking there are a few key legal documents that no older person should be without. They cover the basics of what should be done if you are incapacitated and legally state your wishes for your things after passing away. They are often very inexpensive to create and can be drafted in relatively short order.

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