Probates and Estates

Probates and Estates

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Regardless of your net worth, it is important to have an estate plan so your goals are met.  Estate planning, whether it is writing a will, putting a plan in place for your financial assets and possessions after your death, setting up a trust or handling a probate, is personal.  The decisions involved in estate planning can be difficult to make alone.  We can help with those decisions and the information you need to move forward with your planning.  We provide personalized planning services, working with our clients on a case-by-case basis to serve each client’s unique needs, rather than using a one-size-fits all approach.Regardless of your net worth, it is important to have an estate plan so your goals are met.

Estate planning, whether it is writing a will, putting a plan in place for your financial assets and possessions after your death, setting up a trust or handling a probate, is personal.  The decisions involved in estate planning can be difficult to make alone.  We can help with those decisions and the information you need to move forward with your planning.  We provide personalized planning services, working with our clients on a case-by-case basis to serve each client’s unique needs, rather than using a one-size-fits all approach.

We have experience with planning tools including living trusts, generation-skipping trusts, special needs trusts and other asset protection plans.


Wills and Trusts 

Wills and revocable trusts are estate planning devices used to provide for the distribution of your estate upon your death. Deciding whether a will or a revocable trust best fits your needs will depend upon your circumstances and applicable tax laws.  Although revocable trusts are a popular alternative to wills; however, in Washington, wills are generally used because of the streamlined probate system in the State.  If real property is located in another jurisdiction, a title holdings revocable trust may be used to avoid ancillary probate in other states.


Probate Services

We are experienced at working through probates, contested or uncontested, from the beginning through to its conclusion. We offer assistance with regard to distributions, notice to heirs and beneficiaries, handling life insurance policies and other aspects of probate.  In Washington state, probate is relatively straightforward and often can be handled without extensive costs.
  
We handle the procedure to obtain Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration for the personal representative, assist with opening estate bank accounts and contacting insurance carriers.

We handle the preparation of estate planning documents, preparation of documents to commence the probate proceedings, handle the administration of the probate estate, handle creditor’s claims and expenses, handle the transfer of assets and close the probate administration.


Fiduciary Responsibility and Duties  

We assist fiduciaries in the administration of estates and trusts for the benefit of the beneficiaries.  This service includes educating clients on the responsibilities and duties of a fiduciary.


TEDRA Proceedings  

On occasion, a probate will involved contested issues, including challenges to Wills and other legal issues, that result in an adversarial TEDRA proceeding.  We handle TEDRA proceedings, including the filing of petitions, TEDRA mediation proceedings and TEDRA evidentiary hearings. We prepare clients for the typically unfamiliar processes involved in contested probate proceedings, including preparation for testifying during the hearing.


Durable Powers of Attorney, Financial Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

To complete an estate planning, it is important to consider the application of Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives.  We work with our clients to prepare these documents in accordance with their needs and in coordination with their estate planning needs.

We draft durable general Powers of Attorney enabling clients to appoint one or more persons to manage their financial affairs and property, either now or in the future.  When clients make a durable Power of Attorney for healthcare, they can give a healthcare agent as much or as little power as they feel comfortable doing.  We assist clients in considering what authority should be made for their health care should they be unable to make those decisions for themselves.  A healthcare directive expresses a person’s wishes regarding artificial life support and use of heroic means to prolong life.


Succession Planning

Family-owned businesses should address the future of the business after their founder’s retirement or death.  Proper succession planning is essential to ensuring the smooth and successful transfer of the business.  We understand the legal, financial and personal complexities in making these decisions.  We assist in developing a plan with executives and business owners to identify successors to own and manage the business or to plan for the disposition of the business.  We assist with preparation of the necessary documents, including wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements and other related agreements, defining the owner’s wishes so they may be successfully implemented after the business owner’s death.

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