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Kent Estate Administration and Probate Law Blog

Caring for a loved one who has become legally incapacitated

Many Washington residents have barely finished raising their own children and seeing them off to adulthood before they find that their own parents need care. In some ways, caring for an incapacitated adult is similar to caring for a child, but as anyone who has cared for an older person with dementia can attest, in other ways it is very different.

In terms of the law, the main difference is that children are not legally able to make certain decisions for themselves, but an adult has rights to make his or her own decisions. When an adult is incapacitated, another party must legally acquire the right to make these decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

Important estate documents everyone should have

Most people in the Kent area don't wake up in the morning expecting that day to be their last day or to have a medical condition where they are no longer able to make decisions. And for most people their day will go on as planned but accidents and other events happen every day. It is important for everyone to have certain legal documents, including a will, in place in case the unthinkable happens.

First, a person should have a power of attorney for both property and health care. The power of attorney for property will appoint a person to have the ability to make financial decisions for the person who can no longer make decisions. The decisions a person is appointed to make can be for all financial matters or just specific ones such as selling of a house. A health care power of attorney is a person appointed to make health care decisions if the appointer no longer can. It can include whether life-saving devices should be removed, organs donated and other important matters. Family members should be made aware of whom the health care power of attorney is and what the specific decisions and wishes are in regards to health care choices.

Three things to keep in mind when writing a will

Many Kent area residents will have a will created for them or at least consider the creation of a will. Wills are important pieces of estate planning. There are a few things a person should keep in mind as they consider writing a will.

Writing a will is a smart plan for most people. Although a will is an important piece of an estate plan, it does not cover all of a person's assets to distribute to heirs. If a person has accounts that have beneficiaries attached, such as an IRA or life insurance, the beneficiary will inherit the account regardless of what the will provides. Therefore, when a will is written, it is important to make sure the will and the beneficiary designations match.

Including a family vacation home in an estate plan

Summer in Washington is a time for families to take vacations together and enjoy the beautiful weather. Many families own vacation homes in the area and these homes can become a point of contention for these families. Many vacation home owners want their homes to be passed to their heirs, but that can lead to difficulties.

Some vacation homes have been in the same family for generations, or current owners have dreams of the home passing down through the generations smoothly. But in some cases, the vacation home is a contentious issue and families can be torn apart by the fighting. Sharing and co-owning a vacation home is challenging so there are some tips for families to help keep the vacation home happily in the family.

We can help draft Washington healthcare directives

It is inevitable that every Kent area resident will pass away. Although it is not a pleasant thought, the planning for the event can lighten the load for families. No one wants to worry about their children having to plan what happens to them if they can no longer make decisions for themselves. A healthcare directive allows a person to dictate how they want to receive care at the end of their life.

A living will is a way for a person to explain their preference as to what life-saving medical treatment they want at the end of their life, or when they are not able to communicate their wishes because of their illness. A living will, which is also known as a healthcare directive, gives medical providers information about what a person's healthcare wishes. A living will can tell medical providers that a person would like to die naturally, or would like to be kept alive using artificial support and advanced medical techniques. They can also include feeding tubes, resuscitation, organ donation and other medical issues.

Washington business owners can benefit from an estate plan

In the Kent area, there are many family business owners. These business owners are often very busy with the day-to-day operation of their business to even think about what will happen to the business after they pass. Estate planning for family business owners is very important in making sure the business is passed to their heirs, sold or whatever they would want to have happen.

There are many options for what can happen to a business when the owner dies or decides to retire. The business can be put up for sale, or the owner’s spouse or children can take over and continue the business. If the owner of a family business decides he wants to transfer it to another family member, there are many things that should be considered. Often, a transfer of the business is not successful for a number of factors, including the new owners now knowing how to run a business or not having enough cash to pay for the estate tax.

Washington estate planning checklist

Most Kent area residents know the importance of estate plans. But, there is more to an estate plan than a will. There are many different things an estate plan should include, like wills, trusts and health care directives.

It is a good idea for everyone to go through their estate plan and make sure they are thorough and complete. A financial advisor can help a family with their estate plan. An estate plan should include a will, which provides the information as to how your estate should be distributed upon your death. It also designates a guardian for any children you may have.

Even Washington couples without children need a will

When most Kent area residents think of an estate plan, they probably think of a will. Wills are a popular part of a basic estate plan and are used to protect assets. Most couples who do not have kids probably do not think a will is that important. But, everyone should consider having a will, regardless of whether they have children.

A great percentage of women under the age of 44 are childless. According to the U.S. census over 47 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 do not have children. Because there are so many childless couples now, it can make it difficult for these couples to delegate where there assets will go when they die.

Estate planning for young families

The last thing couples with small children want to think about is what will happen when they die. Young families are often extremely busy and also feel somewhat invincible when it comes to their inevitable death. But, we all know of a family that has been struck by tragedy at a young age. An estate plan can include many items including guardianships, trusts and health care directives.

Although estate planning may be the last thing on a young family's mind it is extremely important. One incredibly important part of an estate plan is establishing guardianships. Parents need to protect their children in the event of their death or disability by appointing a trustworthy guardian. If a guardian is not appointed the children could be placed with someone the parent's wouldn't approve of or in the custody of child protection or another court appointed guardian.

3 important parts of estate plans

Most Kent area residents don't want to think about what is going to happen when they die. It's a depressing topic for a lot of people and can create worry and sadness. Of course the inevitable will happen one day and having an estate plan is important. There are three important keys to having a good estate plan for heirs.

The first significant part of an estate plan is to have all important information readily available. Having an organized record that lists out accounts and legal documents is key in making sure heirs can easily find the information. The record should include professional contacts and family contacts, location of the will, living will and other estate documents, insurance information, list of all financial institution information, home and car insurance, credit cards, beneficiaries of accounts and user name and passwords for online accounts.

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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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