Tacoma Estate Planning Attorneys
Helping You Guard Your Future
Thinking about end-of-life plans can be uncomfortable, but having a comprehensive estate plan is vital if you want to secure your legacy and help your friends, family, and loved ones process your loss without having to go through an arduous probate experience.
At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our team is dedicated to ensuring you receive the dedicated legal counsel you deserve. Contact our Tacoma estate planning lawyers online or via phone at (888) 981-9511 to learn more about our process.
Establishing a Will in Tacoma
Wills play a vital role in any estate plan. Unbeknownst to many, there are two types of wills.
A living will allows a testator (the individual who owns the will) to establish medical and financial power of attorney. Medical power of attorney dictates who is responsible for your medical care at the end of your life if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. Similarly, financial power of attorney dictates who can make financial decisions for you and your estate if you cannot make decisions in your own best interests or are otherwise incapacitated.
A last will and testament allows a testator to establish their last wishes (such as whether they would prefer to be buried or cremated, and if so where or where they would like their ashes scattered). A last will and testament also enables a testator to establish how they would like the property of their estate to be distributed among beneficiaries.
Having both a living will and a last will and testament is crucial if you want to ensure that your estate is handled properly after you die. You can also use your will to determine various other matters, such as appointing a guardian for any children you have and assigning an executor to manage your estate during probate.
To make a will in Washington, you must be 18 years or older and must be of sound mind. Additionally, you must declare the terms of your will in front of at least two witnesses, who must also sign your will.
You don't need to have your will notarized to make it legal, but you can make your will self-proving by having it notarized by a notary public, which can expedite the probate process.
Making a Trust in Tacoma, WA
Trusts often act as a counterpart to wills in estate plans.
When a person dies, their estate goes into probate. During probate, a probate court assesses the estate and takes various steps to ensure the deceased individual's last wishes are honored, such as validating their will and ensuring their estate is properly distributed among beneficiaries.
However, probate can be a lengthy process, especially if the deceased person distributed valuable property through their will.
Trusts can allow a trustee (the person in charge of the trust) to circumvent the probate process, since property awarded via trust doesn't go through probate. Awarding property to beneficiaries through a revocable living trust can help ensure that a deceased individual's friends, family, and loved ones don't have to deal with a long, drawn-out probate case.
To make a living trust in Tacoma, Washington, the trustee must decide what property to include in the trust. They must also appoint a successor trustee - the individual who will carry out the trust when they pass away.
For a trust to be valid, it must be signed in front of a notary public. The trustee must also change the titles of property included in the trust to ensure they can pass to the proper beneficiaries.
At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our team knows how difficult it can be to design a comprehensive estate plan that secures your estate and gives you peace of mind. Our Tacoma estate planning attorneys will work with you to develop an estate plan that gives you confidence in the future.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our estate planning services, contact us online or via phone at (888) 981-9511.
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