Probate Lawyer Seattle, WA
Estate planning can be difficult to deal with, especially because you are dealing with your own mortality. It can be an uncomfortable topic to think about or discuss with your loved ones, but it is an essential one. You should strongly consider estate planning no matter what size your estate is. It is so important to make sure that all of your loved ones are taken care of even after you are gone, though. No matter how old you are or how great of assets you have, it is crucial to speak to an experienced probate lawyer in Seattle, Washington, like one from Theus Law Offices, as soon as possible so that you can make sure your assets are protected. They will guide you through the estate planning process every step of the way, helping you make decisions that are right for you. One thing that they can help you with specifically is probate. It is the process in which a will is validated by the court, and your assets are distributed after you are gone. Not only can the probate process be a nightmare for your loved ones when dealing with dividing your assets, but the government can also put a great tax on what you have. Here are some important things to know about the probate process.
Getting Started With Estate Planning
It is common and understandable to not even know where to begin when it comes to estate planning. If you have any questions about the process, discussing your ideas and goals with a seasoned estate planning lawyer should be a top priority for you. They can explain to you the best way to approach estate planning and what you should include in your plan.
Since there are many elements to estate planning it is easy to get overwhelmed. It can take a long time to complete, but it is not a process that should be rushed without careful thought.
Protecting Your Assets
There are a number of ways that you can choose from to secure your assets. Some of the most common methods include revocable living trusts, offshore trusts, limited liability companies and charitable donations. Talk to a lawyer for more detailed information about the pros and cons of these methods and whether they make sense for you and your estate.
You Should Give Away Some of Your Assets While You Are Still Living
Not only can it bring joy to you to watch one of your loved ones receive some of your own special belongings, but it also exempts expensive things from being taxed by the government. The probate process is not only a lengthy one, but it is also highly taxed. When you give some of your assets away you can cut down on your expenses. To learn more about maximizing your savings, you can reach out to a qualified estate planning lawyer. By speaking with a skilled probate lawyer in Seattle, WA from Theus Law Offices ahead of time, you are taking the initiative to make this process as simple as possible for all of your loved ones.
The Probate Process May Take a Long Time
You may hope that if you pass away in an untimely fashion that your loved ones would get all of your belongings right away, but this is not always the case. It can be a nightmare to get all of your property out to the right parties if you do not have a will. Even if you do, the probate process can be complicated because people may contest your will or believe they deserve things that you did not intend to give to them. In any event, speaking with a good probate lawyer can help ease any concerns that you have and you can come up with a way for your assets to be distributed as quickly as possible to the people you leave behind.
Creating a Strong Estate Plan
Strengthening your estate plan involves paying careful attention to your descriptions, ensuring that they are clear to whoever is reading your will. Being specific about your vision for how you want your estate to be managed is crucial so that there will be no legal issues which could result in family disputes or contended wills. You should also remember to think of your smaller assets such as personal possessions and heirlooms. These can easily get forgotten in favor of the larger, higher value assets like property and vehicles.
How to Create an Estate Plan
Making the decision to create an estate plan can be scary, but once you do, you’ll be happy that you did it. A good estate plan can help ensure that your assets are distributed to loved ones as you want, and that your wishes are followed after your death, even when you pass away unexpectedly. The best part of having an estate plan in place is knowing that you can rest easy knowing that the future of your family is taken care of — not just now, but also after you’re gone.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
An estate plan (also known as a last will and testament) is critical for all adults, regardless of whether they have children or significant wealth. An estate plan allows you to name your beneficiaries, decide who will inherit your property, and control how that property is distributed. It also helps prevent complications down the road if you become incapacitated or die unexpectedly. You may want to talk with your loved ones about what you want done with your assets after death, create trusts for minors or disabled individuals, and include health care directives such as living wills. Planning ahead can help make this process easier on those close to you when the time comes.
Establishing Your Revocable Living Trust
Once you’ve settled on a will, make sure it takes legal effect. A will must be registered with a court in order for it to be considered valid. You can do so by completing and filing these necessary forms with your local courthouse. You can also designate a custodian of your estate that’s separate from your Revocable Living Trust — that way, if anything goes wrong with your trust after you die, your estate will still be distributed according to what’s outlined in your will.
Determining Who Should Be In Charge of Your Finances
The most important step in creating a will or trust is determining who should be in charge of your finances after you die. Your executor (or personal representative) will be responsible for transferring your assets into the name of your chosen beneficiaries, as well as paying off any debts you may have left behind. You should choose someone who is honest and trustworthy, has their own financial stability, and ideally has experience managing assets. If you don’t feel that anyone in your life fits that description, consider using a professional service — most banks offer probate services with little fuss on top of other financial services.
Choosing Guardians for Children and Pets
Choosing guardians for your children and pets is an incredibly important part of estate planning. Selecting a guardian for your child(ren) can be particularly difficult, especially if you aren’t close with relatives or family friends. If you are like most people, then chances are you have at least one friend who would make a great guardian. Just be sure that whoever you choose has a strong relationship with your child and/or his/her other parent. At our law firm, we commonly meet parents who are concerned that they will create problems by choosing someone their children don’t get along with — but it’s actually more common for there to be tension when no one is named as guardian!
Contact a probate lawyer today at Theus Law Offices.
You Need a Lawyer on Your Side
Some people work on estate planning on their own. While this can be done, it can be a tedious process because there are so many things that make up an estate plan. Filling out forms, gathering important legal documents, and ensuring that your plan meets the legal requirements can be a complex process.
It is always important to have an estate planning lawyer on your team to go over the “what if” scenarios and have your best interest at heart even after you are gone. A lawyer will be there for you to check that you have covered every aspect of estate planning. They can review your documents for accuracy, ensuring that there are no mistakes or missing information. Your lawyer can make the process go much smoother for your loved ones as well as make sure you have the best plan in place for whenever you do pass away. Do not wait too long to explore your legal options. It is important that you understand them sooner than later. A lawyer can provide you with a variety of personalized legal advice so that you can find the solutions best for you. This can give your loved ones peace of mind no matter what and will ensure your wishes will be carried out, even after you are gone. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, which is why it is so important to contact a probate lawyer from Theus Law Offices as soon as possible to begin planning your estate.
What Is Probate?
As a probate lawyer Seattle, WA residents can confirm, probate refers to the legal process in which a will is proven valid in court. Probate also identifies all the deceased person’s assets, appraises property, pays taxes and debts and distributes remaining property to the remaining heirs.
Does All Property Have to Go Through Probate?
No, not all property is required to go through the probate process. For instance, if you place some of your property in a living trust, that property can skip the probate process and go directly to an heir. Likewise, if you own property with another person, that property can go to that person right after your death.
Does Having a Will Avoid Probate?
No, assets in a will are required to go through probate. However, having a proper will allows you to have more control of the probate process, like who will be your executor and who will receive your assets. If you didn’t have a will, the court may make these decisions.
How Long Will It Take to Probate an Estate?
Many heirs worry that the probate process will take forever and they will not receive their inheritances for a while. However, as a Seattle probate lawyer can confirm, how long an estate takes to probate depends on various factors. If it is a small estate and no one tries to challenge it, probate could finalize within several months. On the other hand, if the estate is larger or someone brings claims against it, the process could last more than a year.
How Do You Retrieve a Copy of a Decedent’s Will?
If the decedent did not leave a will with you, your next step is to go to the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the will was filed. They can give you a copy of the will there. You may also request that it be mailed to you.
Does an Executor Receive Compensation?
Yes, the executor of an estate is entitled to receive compensation for his or her duties. The amount of money will depend on various circumstances and should be discussed with a probate lawyer beforehand.
If I’m Named as an Executor, Do I Have to Serve?
No, you are under no obligation to serve as an executor. Being an executor is a huge responsibility and can take up a lot of your time. If you don’t have the time or desire to take on this role, you certainly don’t have to. Tell the Seattle probate lawyer promptly that you do not want to be the executor.