Seek Legal Help to Protect Your Legacy

When it comes to estate planning, many Washington residents are unaware of what a will won’t do in Tacoma WA. Jones Legacy Law, a team of Tacoma estate planning attorneys, is here to help. With a free consultation, they can provide you with the information you need to make the best decisions for your family’s future. 

At Jones Legacy Law, their attorneys understand that estate planning can be a difficult and confusing process. They are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. With their experience and guidance, you can rest assured that your family’s legacy will be secured. 

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Contact Jones Legacy Law today for your free consultation and take the first step towards protecting your family’s future.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets and property should be distributed upon their death. In Tacoma, Washington, a will must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) and two witnesses in order to be valid.

The will may also name a guardian for any minor children, as well as beneficiaries who will receive assets from the estate.

Why is it Important to Make a Will?

It is important to make a will because you might want your family or friends to get a different share of your property than what the law says. Furthermore, if there is no will, all of your assets will be handled equally. It will all go to the same person or group of people, such as a husband, daughter, or parents, with no difference. By writing a will, you can designate which of your assets go to which family members, friends, or other beneficiaries.

Do I Still Need a Will Even If I Have Taken Out a Trust for My Family?

A will is still necessary even if you have established a trust. A trust only protects properties that are titled or held in the trust. For the trust to be effective, a  pour-over must be utilized to move any property that might have been forgotten into the trust upon your death. Furthermore, using a trust exclusively to evade probate might not be the best legal or financial option. 

Probate in Washington is typically not a difficult, time-consuming, or costly procedure. In some instances, the cost of establishing a trust can be ten times that of establishing a basic will, while in other cases, the cost of establishing a trust can exceed the cost of an entire probate. It is advisable that you consult with an estate planning attorney before deciding to use a trust for estate planning purposes to determine if it fulfills your objectives both legally and financially.

What are the Things That a Will Won’t Do in Tacoma, WA?

While wills are a great, low-cost method to take care of many people’s estate planning needs, they can’t cover everything. We’ll go over some unrealistic expectations for your will.

A Will Cannot Leave Behind Certain Types of Property

Most of the time, you can’t just decide to use your will to leave:

  1. The property you hold in shared ownership with someone else (or in “tenancy by the entirety” or “community property with right of survivorship” with your spouse).
  2.  Property that has been moved to a living trust.
  3. The proceeds of a life insurance policy for which you have designated a beneficiary.
  4. Funds in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), 401k plan, pension plan, or any other retirement plan for which you have designated a beneficiary in documents given by the account administrator.
  5. Any property that is owned through a transfer on death (TOD) designation. Examples of such properties are bonds, stocks, and, in certain jurisdictions, motor vehicles or real estate.
  6. Funds in a bank account that is payable upon death.

A Will Cannot Provide Funeral Instructions

Finding a person’s will often takes place days or weeks after their death (if it is even discovered at all). That’s far too late to help those who need to decide on a body’s final resting place and memorial or funeral arrangements right away. Instead, write down your wishes on a separate document and inform your executor where to find the document when the time comes.

A Will Cannot Reduce Estate Taxes

If you anticipate your estate to incur federal estate taxes, you should take measures now to minimize the tax payable. A will can’t help you avoid paying taxes. There are many different types of trusts that can be used to lower or postpone the tax payment.

A Will Cannot Save You From Probate

Property left in a will may sit in probate court for several months or even a year before it can be handed to the people who are going to inherit it.

A Will Cannot Set Conditions on Gifts

There are some legal limitations as to what you can do in your will. For instance, you can’t leave behind a gift that’s contingent on the marital relationship, divorce, or conversion of the religion of a beneficiary. However, you can make an effort to influence less important issues. You could, for example, leave money “to Jeremy, should and when he pursues college.” However, conditional gifts often raise questions about who will execute the will’s terms and for how long.

Leave Money for Unlawful Purposes

This issue does not happen a lot, but you cannot assign money for illegal activities. This could lead to legal repercussions for the executor of the will, as well as the beneficiaries of the money. Additionally, it could be seen as a violation of public policy and could be challenged in court.

Arrange for Special Needs Care for a Beneficiary

A will is not the place to provide long-term care for anyone. It is far better to establish a trust that is customized to the needs of the beneficiary. A special needs trust would provide additional income for a disabled loved one without risking government benefits.

If your situation is complicated or you prefer to receive advice from a professional, you may want to talk to a lawyer with experience in this area.

Leave Money for Pets

Pets are considered property and cannot legally own money or other assets, so do not leave property to them in your will. Instead, place your pet in the care of someone who has agreed to provide a safe and healthy home for it, as well as some funds to help with pet-related expenditures.

Tacoma Estate Planning Attorneys

If you have questions about what a will won’t do in Tacoma WA, Jones Legacy Law can help. Our estate planning attorneys are well-versed not only in estate planning, but also in elder law, bankruptcy issues, probate and estate administration, and more. We offer free consultations to discuss your individual needs and provide you with the best advice for your situation. 

Dying without a will can have serious consequences for your family and loved ones. Don’t wait until it’s too late – contact Jones Legacy Law today to learn more about how we can help you plan for the future. With our experience and guidance, you can rest assured that your legacy will be protected.

Tacoma Estate Planning Attorneys

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