Wills-Trusts-Estates-Probate


Victory for Washington estates against aircraft industry

Supreme Court hands significant victory for estates of persons who perish in aircraft accidents Small aircraft are popular in the Pacific Northwest, just come to Anacortes and the San Juan Islands on a sunny day and you will find the place abuzz with activity. But when the worst happens, does the estate of a airplane crash victim have the right to sue the aircraft manufacturer under Washington tort law? Today,…

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New Power of Attorney Law in 2017

What is new for your powers of attorney documents in 2017? On January 1, 2017, the Washington Uniform Power of Attorney Act, Chapter 11.125, RCW.  comes into effect and the new law will bring Washington’s requirements in line with many other US jurisdictions. A power of attorney is a document through which the principal (i.e. the person signing the document) gives a trusted person (“agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to…

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The ‘two witness’ rule is mandatory for a valid will

The ‘two witness’ rule must be strictly observed will to be valid In math, two times one is equal to one times two. But not in probate law. Two substantially similar wills, both leaving all assets to the same person and executed days apart, and both attested (i.e. witnessed) by a single witness, are not equivalent to one will attested by two witnesses, held the Court in  Estate of Burton (Aug. 18, 2015…

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New Directed Trust Act and trustee delegation powers

On July 24, 2015, Senate Bill 5302 adopted the Directed Trust Act and made significant changes to the rules on a trustee’s delegation of power, RCW 11.98.070(27). A quick review of the Senate Bill Report will shed light on the key changes in the law. A. Understanding the Basics 1. What is a Trust? A trust is a form of ownership of property that separates responsibility or control of the…

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Ex wife beneficiary designation on husband’s plan rules

Does an ex wife beneficiary designation on husband’s retirement allow her to receive the benefits? Yes, the Court of Appeals, Div. 1, ruled today, thus reversing the trial court’s decision allowing the Estate to recover Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.)  benefits after they had been distributed to the designated beneficiary, his former wife. ERISA preempts state law The Estate argued that the former wife waived…

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You are a woman business owner, is your estate plan in order?

Estate and business succession planning for women in business You are a successful woman business owner or you are just starting out. You are planning for retirement or have your very first month in the black. You are passing the baton to a younger business partner or thinking whether your best friend will go into business with you. Is that you? If so, what is your plan? The answers to…

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Thinking of death is not fun! How do I even begin to plan for my estate plan?

Many of us tend to be squeamish when it comes to death, especially when thinking about our own or that of someone we love. It is not easy to begin your estate plan. But consider, for many families, the estate planning process provides the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about hopes, dreams, legacy wishes, and more. So, set aside a specific time to talk with your loved ones and begin…

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Can a health care power of attorney turn into a lethal weapon?

Can a health care power of attorney turn into a lethal weapon? Probably, if in the wrong hands. While we rarely comment on criminal law cases, this one from Missouri is unique. Father and partner are allegedly killed by father’s daughter.  The daughter apparently used forged health care power of attorney to show that father died after attack. See what you can do to protect yourself.

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Huge personal representative fees award for poor probate procedure

Award of $294,000 for Probate Personal Representative Fees In a case published today, the Court of Appeals, Div. II, affirmed an award of Personal Representative fees in the amount of almost $294,000! The Court held that the superior court lacked jurisdiction to hear the issue of the reasonableness of the personal representative’s fees in the settlement of decedent’s estate because none of the pro se heirs properly invoked the superior…

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Planning for the future relieves stress and anxiety today!

Wills trusts estate plan

Many of our clients often think of an estate plan as “taking care of the future” with concerns such as minimizing estate taxes, providing for loved ones, or ensuring that minor children will be cared for. But, as they leave the office, crisp documents in hand, many breathe a sigh of relief and share that their newly created (or updated) estate plan has enhanced their “present moment” by reducing or…

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The trap of do-it-yourself estate planning

Beware of the trap of do-it-yourself estate planning While estate planning forms sold by online “no-legal-advice” providers have proved to be popular, beware of the trap of do-it-yourself estate planning. A bankruptcy judge recently warned:  “Whether for carpentry or for estate planning, it is usually a good idea to use the right tool for the job.  Unfortunately, when it comes to estate planning and asset transfer, people are often ill-informed about the tools…

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