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Washington Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: Can an executor establish a trust that isn’t specified in the will
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 15, 2020

It depends on the terms of the will. Some allow this and some don’t. If the will was prepared by an attorney, it might.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: I am writing my own will using the language & style of my old will drafted by an attorney.

Once it is witnessed and notarized will it be a legally binding document. I live in Washington state.

Deanny Lungu
Deanny Lungu answered on Apr 19, 2020

You would have to check your state statutes requirements for a valid will. I am not licensed in your state, hopefully, a WA-based attorney can provide some insight. Good luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: My recently deceased father wrote me out of his will, but I believe he had dementia. Is there anything I can do??

He lived with me from mid 2008 until Nov. 2018. Left evthing to my half sister..helppp

Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei answered on Apr 15, 2020

The legal standard for proving a person was incapable of making a will is a difficult one that must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. If you succeed in establishing that your father lacked sufficient capacity to make a will, then his prior will, if he had one, will control the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Washington on
Q: I live in Washington State, my husband and I amicably divorced. Do we need to change the title on our house?

Our mortgage and deed documents say "husband and wife." We want to continue to both own the property, but we're concerned if one of us were to pass away, what that would mean for passing the property automatically to the other since we are no longer married. Our wills state that the... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 29, 2020

You need to update the title to the house so that it conforms to your divorce decree. Was it awarded to the two of you in equal shares? Then update the title so that you each own a 50% undivided interest as tenants in common. A real estate attorney can help you with this.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: Hello, my 94 year old father told me recently that he would like to liquidate his savings (about 150,000) and give it

equally to his children while he is still alive. He is of sound mind, lives alone, drives etc so that is not an issue. His will also provides the same when he passes but he wants to give it to his kids while he is still alive. He has outstanding health insurance and income and other resources as... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 2, 2020

That is perfectly legal but your father should consult an attorney first so that he understands the potential negative consequences such as incurring a hefty Medicaid penalty period and potential gift tax and the need to either update his will or otherwise properly document the advancements, among... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: I am in WA state. But, CA state has jurisdiction &states involved and essentially this cash is funneled internationally

Ca case involving a very old, wealthy established family. I have been disincluded, knowing, by one of the co-executor heirs. They included my sister as sole heir. It was done before father passed and without legal authority with fraudulent, forged documents which I do posses. I am well prepared... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 15, 2019

Do you have a question?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: Executer for my father's will passed how do I become executer?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 13, 2019

You should hire a probate attorney to help you petition the probate court to appoint you as executor.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: When does the remainder-man becomes the legal owner - on the day of deed or day of death of donor/grantor/life tenant?

In piece county WA - if a son transfer his free and clear ownership of his home to his senior citizen mother as a gift but retains life estate in the deed..---

The mother (grantee) becomes the legal owner the same day or she becomes the owner day after the death of his life tenant... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 4, 2019

You REALLY should discuss this strategy with an attorney before you implement it. I can see all kinds of problems. Be aware that transfers of assets with the intent to hinder, frustrate or delay existing creditors are voidable. A creditor can reach back and get a court to undo the transfer and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption and Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: My father was old and manipul manipulation of elderly last will and testament States I give my daughter? Prove identity?

On Will & Testament it states I give my daughter? Amanda Gilbert my property what problem is he has no Daughter by the name of Amanda Gilbert this person only did a name change and took property and family back her up is that legal do you have to prove that you are actually a daughter to the... Read more »

Tammy Lyn Wincott
Tammy Lyn Wincott answered on Nov 26, 2019

If you believe he was unduly influenced and the will is fraudulent then you should consult an attorney regarding to see if it should be contested. Do not wait until the estate has been drained of all assets.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: When a Will has the residuary estate to my Dad. Then to his children . He dies shortly after the distributon. Unclaimed

Property comes in to the estate. Who gets it. My Fads stepson got all of the estate we got zero. We didn't even get notice. Stepson raised to be a lawyer too, go figure. What to do?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 21, 2019

It sounds like your dad’s will left everything to his stepson. If you do not think that is the case or if you have other concerns you should make an appointment with a local probate attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: How long do I have to file a handwritten will after death for it to be valid

Found will 4 years after death

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 24, 2019

Washington law provides: "Any person having the custody or control of any will shall, within thirty days after he or she shall have received knowledge of the death of the testator, deliver said will to the court having jurisdiction or to the person named in the will as executor, and any... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Washington on
Q: In WA, What do I file to take immediate control of father's estate?

My stepbrother moved into my father's house last year after being evicted. Claimed to be caregiver, but after my father had a couple hospital stays due to bed sores, etc, I sold my house and moved in to finished basement about a month prior to his death. While I was with my father at the... Read more »

Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden answered on Aug 29, 2019

The typical way to gain control of his probate would be by initiating a probate, but, as you indicated, that requires a final death certificate.

The court can appoint a special administrator if there is something critical that must be addressed before a personal representative can be...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Washington on
Q: Can. POA take cars, tractors etc from my fathers home and keep for himself. I’m the sole beneficiary of the estate. 100k
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 23, 2019

No. An agent acting under a power of attorney can and must only take actions that are in the best interests of the principal. Self-dealing is strictly forbidden unless the POA specifically permits it. If you are encountering a rogue attorney in fact, you might need to hire an attorney to have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Probate, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Washington on
Q: My Fathers wife promised me and my Father, that she'd give his kids half of the money from the sale of the house.

I cared for my Father for the past 14yrs until he passed. Spent 85% of my time with a my father making sure he took his meds and insulin and also took him to almost all his doctor appointments and surgeries. We pretty much did everything together. I have witnesses to her making these statements... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 10, 2019

You might have grounds for suing your step mother for breach of contract. It sounds like there was an agreement and it was supported by consideration. The fact that there are witnesses to her promise is very helpful. Seek out a contract litigation attorney in your area.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: Father passed wks after remarrying in Washington with a Will. Does new widow get 50% of everything when nothing was her?

My father died just weeks after remarrying. The Will does not list his new wife. She brought nothing to the home. With a will, and with Washington being a community property state, does she automatically get 50% of everything? I know she should get something, but that doesn’t seem right for her... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 10, 2019

Under the laws that apply when there is no will the spouse would inherit 100% of the community property, which is property acquired during the marriage. There was hardly time for that so I am guessing there is virtually none. When there are children the spouse inherits half of the separate property... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: Needing a will.

I am trying to help a friend who is elderly. She wants to get her affairs in order and needs a will. Is this available as a free service?

John Kenney
John Kenney answered on Jun 24, 2019

Usually attorneys charge to prepare and execute a will and the other necessary documents such as a durable power of attorney, health care directive or living will and a health care power of attorney. Some attorneys may offer discounts or payment plans to assist a person who has lower income or... Read more »

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
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...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: When drafting a will and power of attorney, can we work with an attorney outside the county in which we reside?

My husband and I live in a relatively rural area and county with few estate attorneys. However, we are 30 miles away from our state capital (which is also in a different county) where there are more estate attorneys. Does it matter where an attorney's practice is located when filing our... Read more »

Greg Freeze
Greg Freeze answered on Mar 1, 2019

Wow. You question remained unanswered for a couple of months. This is now answered on your more recent post. The short answer remains, something like, if you want to leave your small town to go somewhere else, that will work. But, it will also work just fine with a local attorney. The choice... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: When drafting a will and power of attorney, is it best to work with an attorney in our county of residence?

We live in a rural town and county. A recent search on your site identified 2 estate attorneys in our local area. Our state capital is 30 miles away (and in another county). A search in that city produced a significantly longer list of estate attorneys. When it comes to filing our will and... Read more »

Greg Freeze
Greg Freeze answered on Mar 1, 2019

Let's start with the "filing" part of your question. Your will gets filed with the court doing the probate. Washington is a little funny, as compared to say Oregon. In Oregon, you have to have some kind of connection with the county, such as living there, dying there, owning... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: Can a trustee use funds from an irrevocable trust to create a new irrevocable trust for a different beneficiary?

I am the sole beneficiary of a 15 year old irrevocable trust and I believe the assets were recently moved into other brand new irrevocable trusts with new beneficiaries. (The grantor is the trustee) If the trustee has no other funds to reinstate my trust assets are the newly created... Read more »

Greg Freeze
Greg Freeze answered on Mar 1, 2019

Your magic Google phrase is "decanting irrevocable trusts." Your question dips into an area of law that, to me, is a bit controversial.

Despite the name "irrevocable" in the trust, there are circumstances where changes can be made. Generally, those changes required...
Read more »

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