Estate Planning vs. Will: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever asked, “is estate planning the same as a will?” Well, a will is part of an estate plan, but an estate plan is more than just a will. The word “estate” often conjures thoughts of giant, sprawling manors surrounded by lush gardens, polo grounds, dressage arenas, and horse stables. However, the truth is much more modest. In fact, you and almost everyone who you know have an estate. Simply put, an Read More

How To Avoid Probate Court

You want your loved ones to be cared for after you pass away. However, many people don’t realize that beneficiaries must often deal with a lengthy legal hassle known as probate. Fortunately, estate planning can help ensure that your heirs avoid probate. All states—including Washington—have a legal process used to close residents’ estates after they pass away. This legal process is probate. In Washington, the Read More

Living Trust vs. Will

You’ve probably heard of a will, and most people have also heard of a trust. However, for many, that’s about where our knowledge ends. Let’s review the difference between a will and a trust and help you discover what’s right for you. The goal of creating either a will or trust is so you may decide who inherits your money, property, and other assets. In Washington state, someone who passes away without a will is Read More

Unexpected Death: Are you prepared?

It’s an uncomfortable fact that no one really wants to face. We are all going to die. Another uncomfortable fact is that with very, very few exceptions (and many of those exceptions aren’t great), we don’t know when it will happen. On Dec. 5, 2022, actor Kirstie Alley died of colon cancer. According to a statement from her family on Twitter, Alley’s cancer was “only recently discovered.” Colon cancer, also Read More

Asset Protection for Your Children

  You’ve spent years building your wealth, and now you want to plan for your children’s future. The problem is that it’s impossible to predict what life holds in store, and there are a lot of mishaps that could reduce the wealth you plan to leave or eliminate it entirely. For example, what if your child: Gets into a car accident and an injured party sues them for significant damages? Marries and then divorces Read More

What Are the Duties of an Executor?

  If you opt to use a will to transfer the assets of your estate, then probate proceedings will likely be required before those assets can be transferred to those you designated as the beneficiaries of your estate. Probate is the legal process of finalizing your estate and distributing your assets according to your will, and is often a lengthy and expensive process - as such, designating a qualified executor to Read More

Don’t Leave Your Pet Out of Your Estate Plan!

  Our pets are our loyal companions, and for those who want to protect their beloved friends, pet trusts are available to ensure that they’re taken care of for the rest of their lives. While a regular trust requires a human beneficiary (the person who benefits from or receives the assets placed into the trust) a pet trust can name your pet as the sole beneficiary. This means you’re able to ensure that the assets Read More

How Estate Planning Can Help Your Blended Family

  After remarrying, many spouses have family members from previous marriages or relationships in their new “blended” family.  Estate planning can provide plenty of benefits - and with the right estate plan, you can ensure that everyone in your blended family is accounted for. Creating an effective plan for blended families can be a little more difficult than your average estate plan, but this blog serves to help you Read More

Your Revocable Living Trust Is Useless Without Funding!

  Revocable living trusts can be one of the most useful parts of an estate plan, but only if they’re properly funded. Many people establish a living trust for their estate, but most will also fail to properly fund it - often resulting in an unintended probate process that may distribute property to unintended beneficiaries. In Washington State, the probate process usually takes a whole year - and can be a difficult Read More

Can I Make Changes to my Will or Trust?

Our lives can at times undergo significant changes, whether through our own means or by events we can’t control. When important events happen, it’s crucial to account for them in your estate plan by updating your will or trust to reflect the changes in your life. While the maintenance of keeping your estate plan up to date may seem daunting, an out-of-date plan has the potential to do more harm than good. Making Read More