To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to minimize probate costs, it is important that you seek qualified legal counsel to draft a will and have it properly executed.
Trusts & Trust Administration
Forming a revocable living trust allows individuals to avoid having their assets go through probate. An estate planning attorney can explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of this option and assist you with creating the trust and transferring assets into the trust.
Special Needs Trusts
Special needs trusts are created to ensure that a disabled beneficiary is able to use the funds held in the trust without jeopardizing their ability to receive government benefits.
Community Property Agreements
Community property agreements for married persons act as an alternative to having assets go through probate upon the death of the first spouse. These agreements have certain advantages and limitations that a qualified attorney can explain in detail.
If yours is large enough to be subject to estate taxes, you may want to have an irrevocable trust to protect the interests of your beneficiaries and reduce estate taxes.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney allow individuals to appoint another person to act on their behalf. Powers of attorney can be useful when the principal, the person making the appointment, becomes unable to manage his or her property and financial affairs.
In the State of Washington, living will documents are the Health Care Power of Attorney and the Health Care Directive. In the State of Oregon, the living will is the Advance Directive. An individual with serious health issues may also obtain the POLST form from his or her physician. A qualified attorney can explain the advantages and disadvantages.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A Health Care Power of Attorney allows an individual to appoint another person to make medical care decisions in the event the individual is incapacitated.
Health Care Directives
Health care directives are written documents in which individuals specify their health care preferences should they become unable to make such decisions and designate a person to carry out those preferences.
Prenuptial agreements will help you preserve the assets acquired before marriage. Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful in the event of second marriages.
With a life estate a person has use and control of property for his or her life, and upon death the property immediately transfers to another person. When setting up a life estate, estate planning should be concerned about Medicaid rules and other consequences.