Estate Planning

  • Will. A Will does not mean that you can avoid a probate. Compared to other states, probate in Washington State is relatively easy if you have an estate plan. A will provides instructions for distributing your assets to your family and other beneficiaries upon your death. Our estate planning attorney will customize the Will provisions to meet your specific needs. You designate a personal representative to pay final expenses and taxes, and then distribute your assets. If you have minor children, a will is the only way you can designate a guardian for them. To transfer real property in Washington, a Will must be filed in probate court after your death. Probate is a judicial process for managing your assets and for transferring your assets when you die. Your personal representative distributes your assets and pays your liabilities. Generally, your personal representative will need to employ an attorney and our estate planning attorney, Dalynne Singleton, will be able to handle your affairs on your behalf with your personal representative. Because a Will does not take effect until you die, it cannot provide for management of your assets if you become incapacitated. That’s why it is important to have other estate planning documents in case you should become incapacitated.
  • Durable power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you name another person to act on your behalf. This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact. You can give your appointed agent broad or limited management powers. You should choose this person carefully because he/she will generally be able to sell, invest, transfer, dispose of and spend your assets. A power of attorney terminates upon your death. A durable power of attorney will continue during incapacity to provide a financial management safety net.
  • Living Will. A living will expresses your intentions regarding the use of life-sustaining measures in the event of a terminal illness. It expresses what you want but does not give anyone the authority to speak for you. This can be combined with a Health Care Power of Attorney.
  • Health care power of attorney. A health care power of attorney authorizes someone of your choosing to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. This document and a living will can be invaluable for avoiding family conflicts and possible court intervention if you should become unable to make your own health care decisions.