How better estate plans, contracts and agreements can reduce stress in your life and help you prepare for a prosperous future.

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Seattle Estate Planning Law Blog

Estate planning should be done sooner rather than later

There are many unknowns that people may not want to contemplate as they grow into adulthood in Washington. One fact that is known that all should contemplate is that everyone will someday die. In order for one's final wishes to be carried out, estate planning is a task that should be tackled. No one knows how many years one has left, so it is better to act sooner rather than later. There are other reasons that people will give for not establishing an estate plan.

One of the most common reasons cited is the perception that one does not have sufficient assets to merit having a will. The fallacy here is that a will does not just allow for disposition of one's financial assets. It can also address one's final wishes regarding burial or cremation. Without an estate plan in place family squabbles could arise that would contribute to the stress of a difficult time.

Young people may want to consider their estate planning goals

As a younger adult, you may think that you still have a considerable amount of time before you need to start thinking seriously about estate planning. However, creating this plan as early as your 20s or 30s can prove immensely useful because, unfortunately, serious accidents or illnesses could strike at any time. Certainly, you want your loved ones to know your wishes should such an event occur.

Even if you do not have a substantial number of assets or a wealth of money, creating an estate plan can still benefit you. Understandably, you may not know where to start in creating your plan, so one of the first aspects you could consider is your overall planning goals.

Parents may offer better protection for kids with trusts

Few Washington parents take the time to create an estate plan, but those who do often believe wills are the best way to ensure their children obtain the assets parents leave behind. However, a careful examination of trusts may show that these tools can offer benefits wills do not. While a will is a good place to start when creating an estate plan, a trust can save money, offer privacy and protect heirs who may be vulnerable.

At face value, a will may be cheaper to execute than a trust. However, a will must go through the probate process, which typically requires additional attorney fees and court costs. Many parents like the fact that a trust allows their children access to their inheritance immediately rather than having to wait months for the probate process to end. Additionally, the contents of a trust are not a matter of public record like those of a will, so families can protect their privacy.

5 steps to selling your house without a realtor

If you are considering selling your house in the Seattle area without a realtor, you may be wondering what exactly you need to do in order to sell your house as a for sale by owner (FSBO). This process can be a lot of work for you as the seller, but you may also save yourself quite a bit of money.

Here are five steps to a successful FSBO: 

Special needs of estate planning regarding art and valuables

More people today than in previous years appreciate the importance of having an estate plan to help ensure that one's final wishes are carried out as one would like in Washington. This awareness is due in part to prominent celebrities who died without estate plans and the ensuing drama that occurred regarding their estates. While money figured prominently in those instances, chances are there were other valuables that became objects of contention that may have been avoided if estate planning had been done.

Where fine art and other valuable possessions are concerned, additional steps may need to be taken to make sure that these treasures are distributed as intended. An accurate inventory of valuable objects should be part of one's estate documents. This inventory should be stored safely and updated as needed. In addition to listing the items they should also be tracked as to their physical location.

Understanding healthcare power of attorney

There are many useful estate planning tools available in Washington. Each tool serves a different purpose. For example, someone could give durable powers of attorney to a representative they trust—often called an agent. Durable powers of attorney permit the agent to make legal decisions on behalf of that individual.

Powers of attorney can involve a wide range of matters, including managing someone's finances after they pass on. It is up to the principal—the individual who created the estate plan—to decide what responsibilities their agent should have.

Reasons couples should consider a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements often carry a stigma. Many people believe that they mean a marriage will eventually end in divorce. While it is true that they often include protections in case of divorce, they also offer many different safeguards for married couples.

Whether or not to create a prenuptial agreement can be a tough decision. Here are some reasons couples should consider a prenuptial agreement.

What to know about business contracts before signing

For many people in Seattle, starting a small business is a lifelong dream. They could already have a wide variety of ideas for the future of their business. However, there are quite a few details that business owners need to evaluate before starting up their dream company.

One of the most important details is understanding the complex nature of contracts. There are many types of contracts business owners deal with throughout their entire career, from real estate to ownership contracts. 

Trusts are a powerful tool in estate planning

While estate planning has become more prevalent in Washington, there are still many people who avoid the issue because they think it's too hard to deal with. They may be reluctant to face their own mortality or hesitant to stir up potential conflict within the family. Understanding the basic components of a plan can help alleviate concerns. People associate estate planning with having a will, but trusts can be valuable as well.

If one plans to have his or her assets distributed among two or more people, having a trust can simplify that process. The trust maker designates an individual to act as trustee in order to administer  the assets according to the instructions laid out in the trust document. Upon the death of the author of the trust, the trustee is responsible for administering the assets according to the instructions contained in the trust document.

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