Gellner Law Group
Schedule A Consultation Today 425-336-2908

Kent Estate Administration and Probate Law Blog

Advance directives are important for Kent area residents

Many people in the Kent area know someone who has been affected by a medical emergency. Although it can be rare, a medical emergency in which a person becomes incapacitated can happen to anyone. A person can be in a car accident, fall, construction accident or other unexpected situation in which they are seriously injured. In these serious medical emergencies, having an advanced medical directive plan in place is important.

Although many people think estate planning is for when they get older, estate planning has aspects for any age, including medical directives. A medical advance directive, also known as a "living will," is a document that lists what medical interventions a person would want performed on them to keep them alive. When creating a living will, a person should think about what kind of quality of life they would like to maintain. Would they want their life extended regardless of their circumstances? Or, would they only want to be kept alive if a cure was possible? Regardless, thinking through these circumstances and having a plan in place is important.

Giving a gift to family members through estate planning

There are many families in the Kent area who enjoy giving gifts to family members each year. The gift of money is a smart way to ensure loved ones receive a gift while reducing a person's estate and gift taxes. There are many reasons why giving loved ones money while you are still alive is a good idea.

Giving money to family members is something that many people enjoy doing while they are still alive. Besides the tax advantages, there are other good reasons to give away money. These monetary gifts improve the lives of loved ones now and not at some time in the future which is yet to be determined. Plus, the giver gets to see how the money is spent and that may impact how gifts are given in future years. It can be a good way for the beneficiary to learn how to manage money instead of waiting until they receive a lump sum inheritance. Giving these gifts at the beginning of the year can lower a person's tax bracket. A person may also be able to exploit the annual gift tax exclusion. By giving property or money at the beginning of the year, it will most likely go up in value by the end of the year, but the gift tax exclusion only takes into account what it is worth on the date it was given. This allows a person to give more shares tax free. A person can also give tax free in unlimited amounts to education expenses and medical care.

Blended families and estate planning

Many families in the Kent area are "non-traditional." There are many relationships in which a couple does not stay married forever. When a couple winds up divorcing, this is, many times, not the end of their love lives. Most spouses go out, date and find another person to marry. In a "blended family" situation, estate planning is especially important.

Blended families create a unique estate planning situation. In a remarriage situation, there can be many parties involved, including former and current spouses, children, stepchildren and in-laws. With the potential for many people to be involved in a person's life, it is important to have a plan in place for their assets when they pass away.

Power of Attorney in Washington

Many Kent area residents understand the importance of creating a power of attorney. A power of attorney is an important estate planning tool that should be executed by everyone, regardless of age. There are several requirements in designating a power of attorney in Washington that people should be familiar with.

Under Washington's Uniform Power of Attorney Act, there are several unique characteristics that a resident may want to be aware of. First, a power of attorney designation needs to be either witnessed by two people or signed by a notary. If there are co-agents listed in a power of attorney, they must work together unless the power of attorney document states that they can work independently. In addition, a power of attorney will be terminated in the event of a divorce or a court appointment of a guardian or fiduciary.

How can opioid addiction affect estate planning?

There are some families in the Kent area and across Washington who know a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol in their family. The opioid crisis in the United States has reached an all-time high and many families are faced with this crisis. Estate planning around this situation can be tricky.

Every day in the U.S., over 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Addiction has reached a crisis level in the U.S. and estate planning has become more difficult for those who have family members who have an addiction. Opioid addiction can affect any family, regardless of where they live or their economic status. When there is an addict in the family, it places tremendous stress and financial strain on a family. There are many conflicted feelings as to how to help the addict and how to protect the family assets.

Discussing estate planning matters with family members

Estate planning is not always a topic that families want to discuss, particularly at times of celebration. At best, it might seem to be a bit of an odd topic -- speaking about what happens after one dies. But, while families are sharing time together this holiday season, they also may want to discuss estate planning.

The holidays and estate planning can go together well. While generations get together, discussing what is important in regards to estate planning can be a blessing. Estate planning can actually be an important "gift" for those who are left behind. When a person dies, the family often needs to deal with a lot of stress regarding funeral arrangements and other details, along with working through their own grief. When this is planned ahead of time, families can feel at peace knowing their loved one's wishes have been communicated and will be followed.

Offers from a tax settlement company may be too good to be true

With the tax season just weeks away, you may have several concerns over your tax situation. In fact, worries may have plagued you for months because you did not properly address the taxes you owed earlier this year. Now, you have outstanding tax debt, and you worry that you will face substantial penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.

Unfortunately, serious consequences can result from situations like yours. However, you do not have to resign yourself to a negative outcome. In fact, options are available for seeking help with your tax-related issues. However, you may want to remain wary of tax settlement companies, or tax mills, that claim they can lower your tax debt.

Estate planning and disaster preparedness

With the recent amount of natural disasters across the country, Kent area residents may wonder if they will ever be affected by an unexpected disaster. Unfortunately, these can happen at any time and virtually anywhere. Planning for a disaster is something many families have taken the time to do. But, families may not have thought about their estate plan in the event of a disaster.

No one expects they will be a victim of a disaster. Whether it be a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc., these disasters can be a major event. If a family is not prepared, they can find themselves scrambling when it comes to their estate planning and financial information. In order to be better prepared, families need to have a plan to secure important information and make it accessible in the event of a disaster.

Millennials need estate planning as well

Many Kent area residents have taken the time to create an estate plan. However, not all ages believe that estate planning is for them. Millennials are one group who may think that estate planning is not something they need to worry about right now. But, the truth is that everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of age.

Millennials are typically defined as the generation born between the 1980s and 1990s. As this generation is currently in their 20s and 30s, most have finished school and are establishing themselves in a career path. Although millennials are typically not thinking about their death, it can happen at any time. A car accident or other unexpected event can take the life of a young person in just seconds.

Some estate planning mistakes and the best ways to avoid them

Many residents in the Kent area have taken the time to create an estate plan for their family. They understand the importance of having this done to make sure their wishes are followed and their family is not left with a tremendous burden. Creating an estate plan is important, but mistakes can be made.

One mistake that can be made is not including all assets. Assets can be in many locations, including safe deposit boxes, filed away in drawers, or solely online. Having a comprehensive list of all assets, including where to find the paperwork, passwords, etc. is critical.

Main Office
8407 S. 259th Street Suite 203
Kent, WA 98030

Spokane Office
505 W. Riverside Avenue Suite 500
Spokane, WA 99201

Contact Us
Phone: 425-336-2908
Fax: 253-852-0400

Contact Us
Phone: 425-336-2908
Fax: 509-769-0202