A Brief Q&A on Washington State Probate

When a person passes away with or without a will, that person's estate may have to go through a process called “probate.” It commonly involves transferring assets to the person's inheritors, paying any debts and taxes that the estate may owe, and determining whether the will is valid. Probate in Washington will look a little different from the process in other states, so here's what you need to know if you reside in Read More

5 Reasons to Start Estate Planning TODAY

If you need to ask when you should start writing your will and other documents, most estate planning experts will tell you the same thing: you should have started yesterday! It doesn't matter if you're a young newlywed with no children, a middle-aged divorcee, or a senior citizen with a huge family—a solid estate plan is absolutely essential to your future. There are several important reasons why youngsters and old Read More

A Brief Overview of Washington State Gift Laws

You may have heard that gifts are an excellent way to reduce estate taxes. When you take the right approach, gifts can be very useful, but it's important to first understand how gift laws work in your state. If you live in Washington State, keep reading to learn how gifts are governed and how they can benefit you and your loved ones. What's the legal definition of a gift? When you give away something of Read More

What You Need to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

Are you thinking about whether you or a loved one will need long-term care in the future? It's never too early to start planning. If you give enough thought to long-term care and LTC insurance now, you'll be better equipped for any future changes—and you'll have more potential to save money. Take a look at this overview of long-term care insurance to learn what it is, who may need it, and how it can benefit your Read More

Understanding The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

The “do-it-yourself” approach has been cropping up all over social media in recent years, usually presented as hobbies and money-saving hacks. The fun side of DIY may look like hand-knitted scarves, homemade soaps, and upcycled clothing, but the other side is riddled with botched plumbing jobs and sketchy electrical work. In other words, there are some things you should never DIY—and estate planning is one of Read More

Medicaid Eligibility: 6 Important Things to Know

Medicaid has helped millions of seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and children get the health care coverage they need. The program is jointly funded by the federal and state governments, designed to help financially eligible people get the medical and long-term care. Whether you need financial aid now, you're planning ahead for the future, or you're researching on behalf of a loved one, there are Read More

A Brief Guide to the Different Types of Powers of Attorney

If you're thinking about sprucing up your estate plan, you've probably given some thought to appointing power of attorney (POA). It essentially gives a trusted person (or “agent”) the legal authority to handle your affairs on your behalf. What is power of attorney, exactly, and what are some of the different forms it can take in the states of Washington and Idaho? First of all, you should know that powers of Read More

4 Key Planning Steps to Take When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may naturally be preoccupied with his or her immediate needs. It can be difficult to think about estate and financial planning during this emotional time. Why start now? For one, it's important that you discuss your loved one's preferences while he or she is still able to communicate them effectively—while he or she still has the “legal capacity” to decide. It also Read More

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts: Understanding the Key Differences

Trusts are exceptional estate planning tools that can be used to address a wide range of situations. They can help you save money, plan for your future, and protect your family from unnecessary stress and expense. Trusts generally let you transfer control of certain property and assets to a document that will essentially own them on your behalf. There are two main types, called revocable and irrevocable trusts. Your Read More

Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot: What Happens to Your Firearms If You Don’t Have a Gun Trust

You might consider your firearms to be part of the legacy you leave behind for your loved ones. If that's the case, you should make sure your estate plan includes a perfectly legal way to pass on those firearms after you're gone. You may intend to leave your surviving family with fond memories, but with the wrong approach, you could end up leaving them with a great deal of legal trouble. Gun trusts are typically Read More