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Questions Answered by Brent Bowden

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: my mom is giving my nephew my stepdads house and its not in her name can she do that?

my dads name was the only name the house was in and my mom had to get an attorney to get the house, only the finance company will not put it in her name until its paid off. what happens to it when she dies does it go to her children. because she is trying to give it to my nephew they went down and... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on May 19, 2019

If your mom did not have a will, you would have a right to it before your nephew.

However, while your mom is alive, she can do more or less whatever she wants with her property. Likewise, she can leave it to whoever she wants in her will. At that point, you would have no right.

As...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: Can I make a secret will that my husband will not know about until my death?

Brent Bowden answered on Nov 22, 2018

There is no requirement that your husband be aware of your will. But there are risks to a secret or surprise will. In the event you died and your husband survived you, he would be likely to open a probate assuming your old will or as if you didn't have one. If nobody brings the secret will to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on

Q: My mom passed away without a will. Her and my dad were married for 49 years. They lived in a house on land that she

inherited while they were married. He is not on the deed. There are 7 children. 4 from her previous marriage and 3 from her current marriage. My sister says the 4 from her previous marriage are entitled to 1/2 of the estate, but the 3 from her current marriage are not entitled to anything. What is... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Nov 1, 2018

When somebody passes away without a will, their heirs are determined by what are called the laws of intestacy. Washington's can be found at RCW 11.04.015 (http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=11.04.015).

There will be a question about whether the home is separate or community...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: How many witnesses do I need present when I sign my will?

Brent Bowden answered on Sep 12, 2018

Two. See RCW 11.12.020 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=11.12.020

Self-proving wills are easier to probate, but slightly more complicated to execute, as they require specific language and a notary. RCW 11.20.020(2). http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=11.20.020

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Employment Law for Washington on

Q: Is it illegal for a boss to have his family/friends on company payroll even if they don't work for the company?

Mr. Y, is a religious man and head of a seafood company branch owned by the church he attends. 5 years ago, he hired his friend, Reverend K, who "quit" the company after 6 months. Recently, upper management received an e-mail they were not suppose to get. It was HR asking Mr. Y who half the people... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Sep 12, 2018

It could be argued that he was sealing money and committing fraud, especially if he turned in timesheets/employment applications/etc that contained false information.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: Husband and wife buy a house together under both there names. They divorce. Husband gets remarried but then passes away.

Husband and wife buy a house together under both there names. They divorce. Husband gets remarried but then passes away. Ex wife name is still on the house. Is it hers or the new wifes?

Brent Bowden answered on Sep 12, 2018

It likely depends on if/how ownership of the house was dealt with in the divorce.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: My friend died in the State of Washington without a will. How must her estate be divided?

My friend (she) has no spouse, no living parents, two living sisters, and two living grandchildren. She also has one living child who is a ward of the State of Washington as the child is mentally disabled.

Brent Bowden answered on Aug 16, 2018

Every state has a set of laws that dictate how property is distributed if there is no will. Washington's can be found at RCW 11.04.015 ( http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=11.04.015 ). The exact distribution would depend on who the parents of the surviving grandchildren were (i.e, are they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: My parents just willed me some land and mineral royalties in Louisiana. I want to leave 50% of the royalties to my wife.

My 3 sons will get the land and 50% of the royalties. Do I need a lawyer or can I make a will and have it notarized?

Brent Bowden answered on Jul 27, 2018

You can draft a will without a lawyer, but it is important to follow the formalities required by Washington Law (I am assuming you live in WA). Merely having it notarized is not sufficient to create a will in Washington State.

RCW 11.12.020 contains the requirements for witnesses....
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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington on

Q: What does it mean for landlord to attempt to mitigate damages resulting from abandonment. see details for quote.

PROVIDED, That upon learning of such abandonment of the premises the landlord shall make a reasonable effort to mitigate the damages resulting from such abandonment:

Brent Bowden answered on May 15, 2018

It means, usually, that you try to find a new tenant. If a tenant abandons the premises or breaks the lease 3 months into a one year lease, you can't just do nothing and then demand the next 9 months of rent. You have to make reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.

That is a pretty generic...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on

Q: Revocable Trust and can I ask for all account of monies.

Mother had no debt. House was sold when she went into Memory Care Facility. She had CD's, and savings account. It took sister 4 months to send letter from attorney regarding the trust. Monies to be divided equally among 3 siblings. It's been 10 months since death and no word on distributing... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on May 1, 2018

If you got a letter from an attorney representing the trust or your sister as trustee, I would try reaching out to that lawyer to check on the status or hiring a lawyer to do it for you. There are any number of reasons it could be taking this long.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: The neighbors carport is 8' on our property. We bought the property less than 6 years ago.

I mentioned it to him a couple of years ago and said I wanted it moved though I was in no hurry. I want him to move it now. What do I do? I sent a certified letter requesting he move it within 60 days but he won't sign for the letter. I did not tell him I was sending the letter.

Brent Bowden answered on May 1, 2018

The answer to this question likely hinges on whether your neighbor can claim ownership of the property the carport is on by adverse possession. To know how strong a claim your neighbor would have, we would need to know how long the carport has been there and under what circumstances (mainly, was it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: We purchased a 57 acre farm solely for farm use. Neighbor across the street states she has an easement.

Seller provided a notarized statement regarding the entire property being farm use only. No documentation anywhere to be found prior to sale of property regarding any easements. Deed received after occupancy of home states there is indeed an easement. The date is also signed by the seller stating... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Apr 17, 2018

Usually easements and other issues like that are discovered and disclosed as part of the title search and title insurance process. Did you get title insurance? If you did, and if the title insurance missed the easement for some reason, they may compensate you. Your insurance company may also try to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Washington on

Q: Who gets property after death.

My mom died 4years ago and her home was in her and her deceased husband's name. She had no will. She was remarried at the time of her death but the home was never in my step dads name. My stepdad recently passed away and has no kids so who does the house go to?

Brent Bowden answered on Apr 16, 2018

Under Washington intestacy laws (which govern in the absence of a will), your surviving spouse inherits all of your community property and half of your separate property if you have surviving children.

Your situation is somewhat complicated. The first question is who inherited her previous...
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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington on

Q: Does a tenant need to state an exact move out date on a 20 day notice, and also can a text be considered a 20 day notice

Brent Bowden answered on Apr 3, 2018

It is very difficult to give any detailed answers regarding your specific situation without reviewing the lease and getting more of the details, but in general, the point of giving notice is to let the landlord know when you will be ending the lease. I am not aware of any specific case law or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington on

Q: Can my landlord move into my home to bypass Notice of Entry requirements?

My landlords (married) have been conducting themselves with complete disregard for the law and I have insisted that they stop entering without notice (they do it daily, they live across the street).

They were enraged and declared on the phone that they would "fix the problem" by moving... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 24, 2018

Your landlord cannot move into an area that you have the exclusive right to possess.

However, your landlord could potentially move into a portion of the house if it isn't part of your lease. For example, if your house is rented room by room and you only rent one of the rooms they could...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Washington on

Q: My mother in-law wasnt informed about her father's death. Found out through Google. She was his only child. What to do?

He remarried when she was 3. No other children. The wife prevented contact and cut off contact with his daughter when he became ill with Alzheimer.

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 7, 2018

I would suggest that the first thing she do is try to figure out if her father's estate was probated and whether he had a will.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: What does a reconveyance mean? A mortgage trustee recorded a reconveyance with us as grantees.

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

Did you recently pay off your mortgage or refinance? That is the document the bank files to release their lien on the property.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on

Q: If there are two beneficiary's on a will, and one is also the executor, can said executor keep all the money?

My mother & I are two beneficiaries on my Grandparents Will, they passed, and the estate is ready to be closed, but she is saying since we were not allocated a set amount of money she can invest it all and keep it for herself. is this legal? can she make it so I get nothing since they didn't leave... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

The executor has to follow the will. So it would depend on what the will said. It would be very strange for the will to not specify the share of the estate that each of you were to receive.

For example, wills commonly say something to the effect of: "to my children, but if my children do...
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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington on

Q: If I have a landlord that wants me to pay my last months nths rent of my lease in full, when she knows I’m only gonna

Be here until the 12. Then wants to keep my deposit until one month later because of damage or cleaning. She lives in the same house as me, so she can see that there are no damages or cleanliness no to be done. She has threatened to kind close me out and lock the doors, take my clothes out throw... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

Depending on how your lease is structured, you may owe the full months rent even if you move out on the 12th. That is a difficult question to answer without seeing the lease. There are specific laws dictating how long your landlord can keep your deposit. RCW 59.18.280... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: Our lawyer formed three separate LLCs for our three rental buildings, but never put the LLCs on the titles. Concerning?

For our three separate rental buildings, we paid a lawyer to form three separate LLCs. However, those LLCs were never put on the property titles. He never advised us to do so, nor did he advise us to update contracts with our tenants with the new LLC information, so our tenants still write us... Read more »

Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

From the information provided, it does not seem like the LLCs are doing anything. Ideally, you would want the LLC to own the rental property, to be the landlord in the lease, and to be depositing the rent into the LLC account.

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