Given the increasingly large number of coronavirus cases across the State of Washington, many residents are suddenly and justifiably concerned about estate planning. If you die without a valid will, the State of Washington already has an estate plan for you. It’s known as the law of intestate succession, and it’s found at RCW 1104.015, but it’s unlikely that it will be satisfactory for your individual intentions. Rather than you deciding who shares your assets, the State of Washington decides, and rather than you deciding on who the administrator (executor) of your estate will be, someone will have to be appointed by the court. It’s perfectly legal for a probate court judge to appoint somebody to that office who you never met before, but it will be too late for you to object. Most people don’t want a probate court making those decisions for them, so they provide for those issues with a will.
We are still open, working remotely and creating wills for people during the Stay at Home Oder. Call us today if you would like a will.
What is a Will?
When you make a will, you create a written document that is dated, signed by you and also signed by at least two witnesses. It provides for a designated person to distribute your property upon your death. Once a proper will is executed in Washington, you can revoke it or amend it at any time. If you are married, you can also include a Community Property Agreement, which allows your property to pass to your spouse in the event of your death, without the need for an additional probate. If the decedent’s estate is $100,000 or less, probate of a will might be avoided through a Small Estate Affidavit.
Trust Language within Your Will
If you die having minor children, a will allows you to designate a guardian and/or trustee for them during their minority. The terms of the trust usually provide for living expenses, schooling, transportation, and other items the child may need prior to turning 18. On top of that, parents often do not like the idea of leaving a large sum of money to their children when they turn 18. For this, parents can structure the terms of the trust for the minor to provide payments for certain life events, and to be structured for payments at certain ages of the child.
Other estate planning instruments known as advanced directives are recommended by just about every estate planning lawyer in Spokane. Those might include a health care power of attorney, general power of attorney, and a living will/health care directive. We are prepared to discuss advanced directives with you.
Realities of the Coronavirus
Residents throughout the State of Washington are living in times of uncertainty. The issue is not if you will need estate planning services, but when you’ll need them. Now is a good time to consider putting a plan in place. While the coronavirus poses most risk to elderly and those with preexisting health issues, the disease transmits through all of us with extreme speed. While our country is taking steps to contain the effects of the disease, most experts say that vaccines are 12 to 18 months away, meaning we will deal with this for some time.
Spokane Remote or Telephonic Consultation for a Will
Washington State has placed many restrictions on us to move within the State to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Currently, our law office is receiving frequent inquiries about estate planning from people that have no plan in place. We can arrange a free consultation by phone or video conference to discuss your estate planning needs. Also, given the current public health situation and the urgency of your need to have a valid estate plan, we can draft all of your estate planning documents and email them to you. After that, we can arrange for video execution of all of those instruments if needed.
For a consultation, contact us by phone or email. We’ll be happy to speak with you about your needs. We’ll answer your questions too. After that, we can work toward finalizing your complete estate plan.