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Kent Estate Administration and Probate Law Blog

Estate planning tips for women business owners

The number of women who own their own business has dramatically increased in recent years. More and more women are graduating from business school, law school and other professional schools, landing them with the opportunity to own and manage their own business. Businesswomen in the Kent area should also make sure that their estate planning tools are up-to-date.

There are some estate planning tips for businesswomen. One is to make sure you have a team of professionals helping with your financial and business objectives. A team would consist of an estate planning attorney, accountant, financial advisor and an investment manager.

Estate planning for singles

Although many people may think that the majority of Americans are married, the truth is that for women over the age of 65, more than 53 percent were not married and 26 percent of men were single. These statistics show that there are millions of single Americans who may need to think about what will happen to their assets when they die. Estate administration for singles is important in making sure that the assets are passed down to their intended heirs.

When a single person dies without a will or trust their assets are usually passed down through bloodlines. Children would be first, followed by parents if they're still alive, then siblings, distant relatives and finally to the state if no living relatives have been found. If a person has other people in mind to receive their assets, like a friend or a charity, they need to create a will and a revocable living trust stating their intentions.

Funding a revocable trust

Many Seattle area residents use a revocable trust as part of their estate plan. Revocable trusts transfer assets from individuals into a "trust'" where they simplify a person's assets.

Once a revocable trust is set up it is important for them to be funded in order to receive a revocable trust's maximum benefit. Assets that a person has should be transferred to the fund. An asset by asset review should be completed so that all assets are accounted for and to determine which assets should be transferred to the trust. Investments should be changed so that the trust's name is listed as the owner. Anything that is titled should be re-titled in the name of the trust.

Naming a guardian is important

As many Seattle residents know, our lives can be unpredictable. One minute you're playing with your kids, the next minute you become incapacitated because of a freak accident. When a person becomes incapacitated they often need to have a guardianship appointed.

When a person suddenly becomes incapacitated the courts will appoint a guardian. This guardian can be the legal authority of the incapacitated person's personal finances, medical preferences, and providing personal care. These are all very important tasks.

What is a community property agreement?

For married couples in the state of Washington there are many estate planning options. One option available for married couples and domestic partners is a community property agreement.

In Washington, married couples and domestic partners have the option to set up a community property agreement. A community property agreement can be a helpful estate planning tool. A CPA is unique from a will or a prenuptial agreement. It can greatly simplify estate planning for couples by automatically transferring all assets from a spouse who passed away to the surviving spouse. This allows the surviving spouse to avoid probate.

How to use charitable trusts to support great causes

Kent area residents often believe it's important to support their favorite charities. Charitable giving can also be part of estate planning. Once people takecare of their heirs via their estate plan, they may consider establishing a legacy of giving.

One way to incorporate charitable giving into an estate plan is to set up a charitable trust. There are generally two types of charitable trusts. The first is a charitable lead trust. A charitable lead trust is where the charity you choose receives the interest from the gift for a specific amount of time, like 10 or 20 years. After the time is up whatever is left in the trust goes to the beneficiary -- either an heir or back to the donor. A charitable lead trust works well to reduce the donor's taxable income and when the remainder of the trust is transferred back to the beneficiaries it can reduce the gift tax and estate taxes.

How can giving gifts help with tax benefits for heirs?

For many people, helping others is an important value in their lives. Many people in the Kent area give generously and hope that their legacy will include the generous contributions they have made to society. Giving gifts can also have tax advantages for givers and their heirs.

As part of estate planning many people consider giving gifts to loved ones and their favorite charities. Besides being a nice gesture for charities and loved ones, giving also allows for certain tax benefits by reducing your taxable estate. There are two ways for a person to give gifts without incurring the gift tax. The gift tax is applied for any amount that is given over $14,000. A person may give an unlimited amount for medical or educational expenses. This money must be given directly to the institution. Second, a person may give up to $14,000 annually to as many people as they want.

Does a trust make sense?

One important part of financial planning for Kent residents is estate planning. After working hard to build a strong portfolio. it is important to have a plan in place for asset preservation. So would a trust make sense in your situation?

Although many people believe trusts are something that only the very rich use, the truth is that they may make sense for anyone who has an estate of more than $100,000. If you have an estate of $100,000 or more, like many people do, or you have particular family circumstances, a trust may be a useful estate-planning tool.

The benefits of long term care planning

No one wants to think that they will get older and require medical care at some point in their lives. But, aging happens to all of us and it is best to have a plan, such as a living will, for these circumstances.

You can never know for sure if one day you will need long term care. Medical needs are unique for every person and the careful consideration of these needs can go a long way. In order to prepare for any medical needs you may have you should first think about what may happen if you become seriously ill or disabled. It is important to talk with friends and family about who would care for you if you have medical needs.

Have you talked to your children about your WA estate plans?

Washington family dynamics can always be a source of frustration for parents and their kids as well. Death is a difficult topic for anyone to talk about, but when family drama is brought into the situation, it can be commonly ignored. Estate planning is a critical topic to discuss with your family, but how can you discuss this commonly ignored topic?

The baby boomers are entering the final stages of their lives. With that comes trillions of dollars that their beneficiaries will inherit. But, just a small percentage of families have discussed financial plans with their kids. UBS recently did a study of their clients. Of those surveyed, over 80 percent had a will, but only half shared the will with their kids and a third discussed what their assets are with their kids. Around 50 percent of parents talk about inheritance with their kids. Although most parents want the transfer of assets to go smoothly when they die, without talking to the children, it could lead to family headaches.

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Jennifer C. Rydberg | Attorney at Law

Jennifer C. Rydberg
8407 S. 259th Street, Suite 203
Kent, WA 98030
Phone: 425-235-5535
Toll Free: 866-213-7556
Fax: 253-852-0400
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