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 handle 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 and 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 While the maintenance of keeping your estate plan up to date may seem daunting, an out-of-date plan has the potential to do more harm than good.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

How to Pass on Your Digital Assets & Cryptocurrency

Protecting investments and ensuring they get passed to the right people in the unfortunate event of a death can be a complicated process when cryptocurrency is involved. After all, cryptocurrency is known for decentralization and security; if only you are meant to ever have access to them, how do you ensure your assets are properly given to your beneficiaries? There are systems you can use to ensure proper handling Read More

The Step-Up in Basis is (likely) Saved! What it Means for Your Estate Plan

Recently, the Biden administration was considering repealing a long time tax benefit that affects your estate plan - the so-called “step-up in basis.”  Fortunately, there is no mention of repealing this benefit in the newest Biden tax plan.  The step-up in basis is one of the most powerful ways to save on capital gains tax.  The capital gains tax is triggered when the holder of an asset sells the asset and realizes a Read More

Wills and Trusts Do Different Things. Here’s What to Know About the Differences.

You’ve probably heard of a will (legally referred to as a Last Will and Testament). Most people have also heard of a trust. There are two main types of trusts covered in this blog - testamentary trusts and living trusts.  All of these legal documents are used in estate planning.  Almost everyone needs a will, but not everyone needs the benefits provided by a trust. Even if you decide that you want the benefits of a Read More

An Outline of the Washington Probate Process – and How to Avoid It

All states—including Washington—employ a legal process to close residents’ estates after they pass away. This legal process is referred to as probate.  In Washington, the probate process can be long and arduous - often taking 6-12 months or longer. Typically, an attorney is hired to navigate the process which can be costly. At Harbor Law Firm, we help you create a plan so you can avoid the probate process. After Read More

Washington State Estate Tax—What it is, and Tips to Minimize it

Both the federal government and the Washington state government impose a tax on assets after an individual passes away. Not all assets are taxed as there is an “exemption” amount—an amount of assets that are excluded from tax. The federal estate tax exemption is very high in 2021 at $11.7 million per person (however, Congress is actively trying to lower it to around $6 million this very moment). If you live in Read More