There is a saying that “nothing is certain except for death and taxes” hence preparing for both would be a good idea. Estate planning will be very beneficial for protecting the things you have worked very hard for.
According to recent research, less than 50% of Americans have wills and testaments. And unfortunately, only 1/3 of adults with minor children have a will or living trust. No need to worry, estate planning will ensure and secure your assets for your family members.
What is an Estate?
In the eyes of the law, your estate is your total net worth and it may include:
- Bank accounts
- Cars and other vehicles
- Houses and other real estates
- Personal belongings
- Life insurance
In short, all your property and belongings comprise your estate including your debts and assets.
Creating an estate plan will need many legal documents such as wills and trusts and each of those play an important part. The goal is to enable you to pay fewer taxes, legal expenditure, court fees, and other kinds of expenses.
Common types of estate planning documents
Last Will and Testament
This is a very crucial part of an estate plan. In this kind of legal document, how you divide your assets must be very specific. Who will carry out your will and who will receive the guardianship of your children are also critical, hence, a guardianship attorney can be very much of help you. Your last will and testament will only be effective after death. Being physically and mentally capacitated will not offer protection to your estate.
Living Will Document
If you are not able to make decisions on your own, a living will can help you. For example, you experienced an accident, are hospitalized and put on a comatose state, you won’t be able to make decisions because you are greatly incapacitated. If you have strong feelings against being resuscitated or if you have medical treatments that you would not want to avail of to keep you alive, creating a living will is necessary so the actions that should be taken will be done according to what is indicated there.
This is a document that puts your assets in a trust while you are still alive. Once you die, it will be transferred to whomever you designate as your fiduciaries. Having a living will and a living trust can be done. The biggest benefit of having living trusts is avoiding probate. Getting a trust lawyer and having a trust will also help your beneficiaries to receive the inheritance in the most efficient way and hassle-free way possible.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is when you appoint a person to make decisions for you when you are not able to do so yourself. Most people appoint their close family or the one they trust with their life, such as the spouse, to be the one who has the power. There are different kinds of powers of attorney, so it is very important that you specify what powers you are granting to them, examples are healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney.
Importance of Estate Planning in Washington
The state of Washington will appoint an administrator to distribute your estate according to the State Succession Laws if you pass away and fail to have a will. The laws will give the control to your “closest” living relative, successor or heirs regardless of your choice and preference.
This is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person. Fortunately, the probate code in the state of Washington is easy to understand and consulting a probate lawyer will greatly help.
- The person you designated in your will shall be your personal representative and they can act with authority without any court intervention most of the time.
- The attorney’s fees will not be based on the percentage value of the estate
According to the tax laws, there is no inheritance tax in Washington but it has an estate tax. It means that the beneficiaries’ estate itself is taxable and not the decedent of the estate.
There are some exceptions to having one but in most cases, having estate tax planning in the beneficiary’s will results in no estate tax.
The law is ever-changing including federal and state laws. Hence, reviewing your estate planning from time to time is necessary to make sure that everything is up to date.
How Jones Legacy Law can help you
Estate planning is not overwhelming. We at Jones Legacy Law will be your trusted partner to help you through the legal process, planning process, and financial security of your estate. Our help includes:
- Drafting a will
- Setting up a living trust
- Updating the beneficiary designations you made
- Reducing federal and state estate taxes
- Considering both federal and state estate taxes
Our Tacoma Estate planning attorneys will make sure that you are clear about your very own estate plan. Call us now for a free legal consultation and get all of your doubts answered.