Wills and Trusts
Every estate plan should include a will to provide the peace of mind that every asset will be accounted for and distributed in accordance with the testator’s wishes. A will is also important to appoint a guardian for any minor children, or to manage and protect the assets you leave to them until they are older. The alternative to a will is the law of intestate succession, which takes all of your property and gives it to your relatives and the state according to a statutory procedure, without any regard to how you would want your property given away.
While a will is still very important, trusts are another tool which can be of great benefit to your estate plan. Through a trust, you transfer title in an asset to a trustee to manage for the beneficiaries, who will later take over the asset at a designated time. You can have the assets professionally managed, maximizing wealth accumulation for the beneficiary. At the same time, the trust can be used to avoid estate tax on the asset and avoid probate at the same time. With a revocable living trust, you can cancel or change the trust during your lifetime, should your needs or desires change. Trusts are often an integral part of financial and tax planning.
Planning for Incapacity
Another important aspect of estate planning that should not be overlooked is planning for incapacity. Just as you want the peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of after you are gone, you also need the security of knowing that you and your affairs will be looked after in the event you become physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to manage your financial affairs or self-care. Through a combination of powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, and thoughtful business succession planning, you can be assured that personal and financial decisions made on your behalf will be made according to your wishes.
Experienced Washington Estate Planning Attorneys
Managing partner C. Scott Kee leads the estate planning team practice, and can assist you with wills and trusts and probate, providing the best advice and service in this ever-changing area of law. It is never too early and (almost) never too late to create an estate plan. Even if you have conducted careful planning in the past, events in your life such a divorce, personal injury, criminal law matter, or change in business, may trigger the need to revisit and revise your current estate plan. To visit with Scott or another member of our legal team regarding your Washington wills and trusts and estate plan, contact Budd Bay Law, P.S. in Olympia.