SPOKANE ATTORNEYS FOR THE CREATION OF WILLS AND TRUSTSYour subtitle goes right here.
Estate planning is not just for the old or the wealthy. In fact, establishing a solid estate plan while your family is young can provide you with peace of mind and prevent future problems that arise when others attempt to determine your desires. Working with experienced legal counsel on a comprehensive estate plan can ensure that your wishes will be carried out as you see fit.
The law office of Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., has been helping people with their legal needs throughout Washington and Idaho since 1981. Our Spokane lawyers can help create wills, trusts and other estate planning documents that are tailored to fit your family’s needs now and into the future.
Crafting Comprehensive Wills and Trusts to Suit Your Needs
Most people’s basic conception of a will is that it is a document that names who is to receive what following a person’s death. While a will can certainly serve such a purpose, it can also do much more than that. For example, a properly drafted will may not only lay out your wishes for what you would like done with your assets, but it can also name a guardian for any minor children you may have. Our attorneys will review your situation and help you come up with a will that addresses all of your family’s needs.
Trusts are a little less familiar to most people, but they can also be a valuable component of any estate plan. One benefit of establishing a trust is that it can simplify the transfer of assets and can help avoid what is often a lengthy and costly probate process. There are a number of different trust options available to help facilitate a variety of different needs. We can go over what your wishes are and help you achieve those goals.
Documents and Forms Cannot Replace the Services of Legal Counsel
A number of companies have sprouted in recent years that claim to offer “do-it-yourself” legal services. These companies can be an invaluable resource for the most basic legal documents or as means to get you thinking about what it is you want or need. However, online forms or “canned” documents simply cannot address the specific needs that are unique to your situation. When you meet with our lawyers, we can help ensure that your wishes will be carried out to the tiniest detail.
Contact Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., Today
We invite you to contact the law office of Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., today at 509-926-4900, or e-mail us, to schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your estate plan.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wills
Do I Need A Will?
A will provides the benefit of having you decide what happens to your estate when you die. There is certainly no requirement that you create a will. In fact, some people don’t ever draft a will. You just have to realize that if you do not ever draft a will, your estate will be treated differently when you pass away.
What Are The Benefits Of A Will?
There are a number of benefits to drafting a will for your estate. Drafting a will lets you decide what happens to your estate. When you die without a will (intestate), the court must follow state laws on how your assets will be distributed: your wishes are taken out of the equation. Also, when you have a will there is less burden on your heirs in your probate. For instance, without a will, your heirs will have to go through the process of appointing your personal representative, and get approval from the court if your heirs cannot agree. A will allows your heirs more control over your probate and estate, eliminating the need for excess court supervision.
What Items Are Covered In A Will?
A will determines what happens to assets you own that are titled in your name or don’t otherwise have a beneficiary designation attached to it. Things such as your house, vehicles, personal property, and cash are items that often pass in a will. There are many items that may not pass in a will, including:
- Retirement Plans: Upon death, retirement plans such as a 401(k) or an IRA, are transferred to whomever you have named as beneficiary. Thus, these assets pass irrespective of a will and outside of the probate process.
- Life Insurance: Your life insurance contract dictates who received the life insurance benefit when you pass. Life Insurance policies would therefore pass outside of the probate process as well.
- Securities and Other Accounts: On certain securities and accounts you can name one or more beneficiaries who will receive the assets when you pass. Often these accounts will be designated “TOD”, or “transfer on death”. Other terms that could serve the same purpose would be “POD”, or “paid on death.”
- Community Property Agreement: Washington State allows married couples to execute a community property agreement, allowing one spouses community interest to pass to the other outside the probate.
How About My Minor Children In The Will?
It is very common for married couples, after they start having children, to think about drafting a will. Regarding minor children, a will allows parents to decide 1) who may care for the children if something were to happen, and 2) set trust provisions for management of the assets for the benefit of the minor.
Can I Change My Will At A Later Date?
Not only can you change your will as time passes, it is also good practice to do so. As time passes, many different events change in life. Divorce, marriage, new children, change in assets, etc., all present situations where it may be prudent to re-visit your will to confirm how you want your assets distributed. If a major change occurs that the will did not account for, courts are left with applying state laws (not your wishes) in deciding how assets will be distributed.
Are There Other Documents I Should Get With A Will?
Often, a will is drafted with other documents as well. A community property agreement allows the spouses to agree that their community property will transfer between each other automatically at the time of death. You can also draft financial and health care powers of attorney that allow you to name a person(s) who will make your financial and/or health care decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. Also, you may want to consider drafting a living will, which contains your direction to your physician regarding your medical treatment if you are incapacitated.
What Should I Do With The Will Once I Have It?
All you need to do after you drafted your will is put it in a safe place. You should let your relatives and close friends know that you have one, but you do not need to share the contents with anyone. Also, your lawyer will keep a copy of the will.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Draft A Will?
You certainly aren’t required by law to have a lawyer prepare your will. In fact, there are businesses and websites that provide forms for people who want to draft their own. But like anything, you will want to make sure you have done the proper research in following the applicable law to formalize your will. And, if you wish to draft your own, you will want to make sure that you properly notarize and witness the signing.
If you have any questions regarding your will or estate, and would like to talk to us, we would be happy to set up a free consultation.