Rydberg Gellner Law
Schedule A Consultation Today 425-235-5535

Kent Estate Administration and Probate Law Blog

Four basic items contained in an estate plan

Many Kent area residents have taken the time to create an estate plan. An estate plan is critical to help a family specify where their assets should go, designate guardians and powers of attorney. For those who haven't created an estate plan yet, there are four basic items that should usually be included in every basic estate plan.

Everyone should probably have a basic estate plan completed for their family's needs. A basic estate plan usually consists of four items. The first is a revocable living trust. This is a document that covers who inherits what and ensures an estate will not need to go through probate. The creator of the trust can change it or revoke it at any time. The second document is a will. This would cover any assets that are not included in the trust, as well as any assets that are not jointly owned. The third element a person should consider is a power of attorney. This is a person designated to manage a person's property if they become incapacitated in some way. The final element a family should consider is a medical directive. This is a document that specifies who should be in charge of a person's medical decisions if they become incapacitated and can also spell out what medical interventions they want done to them.

How can estate planning protect a pet?

Many people in Washington have a cat, dog, bird or other animal companion. Having a pet can bring much joy to a person's life, as our pets provide us with companionship, comfort and unconditional love. With this in mind, as a person ages, they may have concerns about what will happen if their pet outlives them.

Legally, pets are considered to be an asset. So, while a pet may be a beloved family member, a person cannot simply leave money to their pet in their will. However, there are estate planning options for pet owners who wish to ensure that their pet is cared for should they become incapacitated or pass away.

Why are people scared of estate planning?

Many Kent residents have taken the time to create their estate plan. They understand how important it is to plan for not only the transfer of their assets, but their health care, guardianships and property should they become incapacitated. But, many people are scared of estate planning and what it may mean.

There are several reasons why a person would not want to create an estate plan. One is that they're afraid of facing the fact that one day they will die. This is not a pleasant topic, so it is understandable that thinking about one's mortality is not something people rush into. Another reason why someone fears creating an estate plan is that they think they will have to give up control. Most people want to control their assets until they're no longer able to, which is an approach estate planning can help a person with.

Planning for unexpected life events

No matter how well Kent area residents plan for the unexpected, they can still run into issues. Thinking about what would happen if a person unexpectedly dies or becomes incapacitated is not a pleasant topic of conversation. But, when a family does not plan ahead, it can turn into a serious matter.

A proper basic estate plan is invaluable when an emergency arises. If a person develops a medical or mental disability it can be a serious situation in which a person's medical needs and financial needs may not be met. If there is a properly drafted power of attorney, that person can step in immediately to help. Or, if a person has a trust, a person's financial matters will be handled. A health care power of attorney is also important to make sure a person's medical needs are being handled according to their wishes.

What is the difference between a will and a living will?

Thinking about the future can be both an inspiring and fearful. One has hopes for the future, but at the same time, individuals are often faced with more serious thoughts about the future, such as what will happen after his or her passing. Drafting an estate plan might be an important step to take, but it is one that is vital. It can include necessary documents that spell out your wishes regarding who gets what and your end of life wishes.

What is the difference between a will and a living will? A will is a legal document that specifies how the property and assets of an individual will be distributed after his or her death. A living will, which is also known as an advance healthcare directive that contains the instructions regarding medical treatment in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. Both of these documents are binding; however, the purpose of them varies drastically.

Helping you draft a living will

Unfortunately, we cannot stop the inevitable. We all age; therefore, we must take steps to prepare for this reality. Even if we believe we have loved ones to care for us in our final years, this can be a costly experience. Thus, taking the time to consider how you want to be cared for and how it will be funded is not only helpful for you but your loved ones as well.

By drafting a will, individuals are able to communicate their wishes to their loved ones. This is true regarding both the care one will receive at the end of their life, as well as what a person intends to leave their heirs and beneficiaries after their passing. Regardless of a person's age, this drafting process can be emotional and challenging. At Rydberg Gellner Law, our skilled legal team has years of experience drafting these and other estate planning documents. Our law firm is dedicated to serving those in the Seattle area, helping them memorialize their wishes in these documents.

Lessons to learn from Prince's estate

Music legend Prince has been dead for two years now. But, his estate, which is worth millions, has still not been settled. Everyone can learn from the steps Prince should have taken to secure his estate so that it wouldn't turn into this complicated probate procedure.

Kent area residents should understand that it is important to have an estate plan in place regardless of age. There is always something that needs to be protected, whether it be assets, children or your own health and choices. When a person dies without an estate plan in place, which is what happened with Prince, the family can run into a lot of problems.

Estate planning mistakes to avoid

Kent area residents who have taken the time to create an estate plan are ahead of the game. Although creating an estate plan may not appeal to many people, these plans are critical in order to make sure a person's family and assets are protected. But, there are estate planning mistakes that should be avoided.

One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make when it comes to estate planning is not having an estate plan at all. Not having an estate plan puts the fate of their children, their family, their health and their assets in the hands of others. Another mistake is not having directives in place. These directives include health care directives and a financial power of attorney. When these documents are not in place, it can be left to the court to make these decisions. For those who have children, not having a guardian or having an inappropriate guardian named can be another mistake. Sometimes, people choose grandparents to be guardians, but that may be a mistake as the grandparents may be too old.

How often should a will be updated?

Many families in the Kent area have taken the time to create their wills. A will is an important estate planning document that can help a person dictate how their assets should be distributed upon their death. It can also name guardians and other important tasks. But, just because a family has created wills doesn't mean that estate planning is done forever.

A will is a legal document that may need to be revisited over a person's lifetime. Just because a person creates a will doesn't mean it is a static document. There are many life changes that can occur that may affect a will. These include getting married, turning 18, retirement or entering a nursing home. It may also need to be amended for a birth of a child, death or divorce, birth of grandchildren, buying real estate, inheriting money or creating a succession plan for a business.

Estate planning with medically fragile children in mind

Families in the Kent area who have medically fragile children know how difficult day-to-day life can be. A medically fragile child requires a lot of care, money and time. Families need to plan ahead for their vulnerable child and prepare for the potential time when their child outlives them.

When parents find out that their child has a medical condition, it can be devastating news. These children will totally rely on their parents for much of their lives and many will need around-the-clock care. Special needs children may also need expensive medication and have many other medical expenses. Parents who have vulnerable children need to plan for their future. If the parents die before their children, it is important to have a plan in place for their care.

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

Contact Us
Phone: 425-235-5535
Fax: 253-852-0400