Washington Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: When drafting a will and power of attorney, can we work with an attorney outside the county in which we reside?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Mar 1, 2019
Greg Freeze's answer
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 is yours.

Disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor...

Q: When drafting a will and power of attorney, is it best to work with an attorney in our county of residence?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Mar 1, 2019
Greg Freeze's answer
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 property there, etc.

In Washington, you can file in any county you want! Very strange. But, perhaps this is helpful for whoever is going to be taking on the personal representative ("PR") role. In a sense, the...

Q: Can a trustee use funds from an irrevocable trust to create a new irrevocable trust for a different beneficiary?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Mar 1, 2019
Greg Freeze's answer
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 approval of not only the grantor, but the beneficiaries as well.

Switching beneficiaries doesn't sound right. You should get with a local trusts attorney and discuss your situation.

Disclaimer: The response...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Nov 22, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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 court, it would be like you never had it. Wills that are surprises are also potentially more likely to result in challenges to their validity. And, lastly, Washington is a community property state, so that...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Nov 1, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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 property or some mix of both. Generally, an inheritance is separate property. But community funds were possibly used to pay the mortgage, taxes, upkeep, etc, which can complicate things.

I am not...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Sep 12, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Aug 16, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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 the children of the surviving child, a deceased child, or two different deceased children). Washington's laws of intestacy dictate a distribution by representation, so each of those possibilities has...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Jul 27, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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.

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

This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on May 1, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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.

Q: Who gets property after death.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Apr 16, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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 husband's share of the house. If it was community property, it would have gone entirely to your mother. If not, it would have been split between your mother and his children or parents, if he had any...

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

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Mar 7, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Washington on
Answered on Mar 6, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
Did you recently pay off your mortgage or refinance? That is the document the bank files to release their lien on the property.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Mar 6, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
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 not survive me to my grandchildren." In that case your mom would be the only beneficiary, even though you were both technically named in the will.

To really answer this question an attorney...

Q: Trust to protect primary residence?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Mar 6, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
I think a little more information is necessary to answer this question. Most importantly, what is it that you are hoping to protect the property from?

Q: The estate of my mother (me-only child) is being sued regarding her real estate , there is no estate, what do I do?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Mar 6, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
There is not enough information provided to really answer this question, I would recommend speaking to a probate attorney. They are going to need to know at least whether there was a probate, who the personal representative was, whether this creditor was known or notified of probate, whether there was a published notice to creditors, and the nature of the court papers you were served with.

Q: My roommate passed away, left an 8 year old daughter and no will. Does the guardian have right to assets?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Mar 6, 2018
Brent Bowden's answer
It isn't clear from the question whether the father was still married to your roommate. If he was, he would be first preference for Personal Representative if he wanted to be, but, if not, the mother is likely the first preference. RCW 11.28.120 (http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=11.28.120).

That being said, the personal representative has to distribute the assets according to the laws of intestacy. If there was no spouse, everything goes to the child(ren). RCW 11.04.015...

Q: If a person named in a will legally changes their name are they still eligible to be able to collect?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Feb 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
First of all you don't 'inherit' debt. If there is more debt than asset I generally recommend against bothering with probate, and let the creditors scrabble for the scraps.

Secondly, the fact that someone has legally changed their name doesn't impact the bequest in a will. If I name a daughter and she gets married she still is my beneficiary so long as she is CLEARLY identified in the document. "My Son x" works even if the son changes his name. If son x were ADOPTED by someone else,...

Q: I downloaded a will template from eForms, Washington Last Will and Testament Template. Can I change some of the words?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Feb 8, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
Sure you can change it.

The problem is that it might not do what you WANT it to do. The only way to know for sure is to consult with a LOCAL ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY and SHOW him/her the language. That will cost as much as having the lawyer just prepare the document, but it really is the only way to know if the changes you want to make are significant and may or may not cause a problem.

Don't be penny wise and pound foolish about this. The cost of a professionally drafted will...

Q: My grandmother passed & willed everything to my aunt is it OK for her to go down & get the money out of My grandma bank

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Answered on Jan 2, 2018
Michael D. Whipple's answer
Washington law allows people to sign a "small estate affidavit" to settle estates that the value of the assets are below $100,000.00 AND there are no creditors (this is important), and, as you indicated, there are no additional heirs to be consulted. However, since there was a will, in this case, state probate law requires the will to be filed within 30 days and she can open probate, at the same time.

Q: If my sister is assigned as executor on my father's will and doesn't wish to do it, what do I need to do to be assigned?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Washington on
Answered on Jan 2, 2018
Michael D. Whipple's answer
You would petition the court for appointment as personal representative(executor) seeking 'Letters of Administration.'

You would submit the petition with an order to that effect. If the will stipulates 'without bond' and with 'non-intervention powers', your petition and order would reflect that. If it does not, you would need to be prepared to post bond.

If the will has not been filed with the court clerk, do so right away.

A death certificate is not necessary to open...

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