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Washington Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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...
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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
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
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
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 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
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... 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
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 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... Read more »

Brent Bowden
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 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
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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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
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
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... Read more »

Brent Bowden
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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: Trust to protect primary residence?

A friend of mine have real estate in WA state which is our primary residence ..she owns this property free and clear.

She does not have any other property.

I heard that one can create a trust to protect our real estate ..can you shed light on what type of trust she should create?... Read more »

Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

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?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Washington on
Q: The estate of my mother (me-only child) is being sued regarding her real estate , there is no estate, what do I do?

My mother passed June 1, 2015, I got served with court papers February 18, 2018 regarding real estate property which she did own but it got foreclosed-- the sherriff's office got involved.(date escapes me right now) Then she rented an apartment for two years but in an out of the hospital and... Read more »

Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: My roommate passed away, left an 8 year old daughter and no will. Does the guardian have right to assets?

My roommate has passed away and has left behind her 8 year old daughter, whom her father has full custody of. My roommates mother is trying to capitalize on her assets and become the personal representative of her estate. Can she do this? We know that she will not give remaining assets to my... Read more »

Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden answered on Mar 6, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: If a person named in a will legally changes their name are they still eligible to be able to collect?

My adopted brother is named in my parents will. It was written when he and I were babies. My dad has passed and my mom is close behind. My "brother" has renounced the family and has legally changed his name to his birth mother's name. There isn't really anything to get, no... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 18, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: I downloaded a will template from eForms, Washington Last Will and Testament Template. Can I change some of the words?

I have made the wording fit my particular situation in the beneficiary section of the will. Does this action change the validity of the will?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 8, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
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
Michael D. Whipple
Michael D. Whipple answered on Jan 2, 2018

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... Read more »

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

I am listed next on the will as co-executor and would be willing to act as executor.

Michael D. Whipple
Michael D. Whipple answered on Jan 2, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Washington on
Q: My husband & I have lived with my husband's grandparents for 4 years. The house is willed to their son.

Do we have any rights to stay after they pass away? We currently live there.

Ben F Meek III
Ben F Meek III answered on Sep 22, 2017

Probably not. The only way I can think of would be if they conveyed some real property interest in the house to you during their lives. This could be a lease agreement (written) or a term of years or a life estate or several other types of interest. Other than a lease, these other arrangements... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Washington on
Q: We live in WA and would like to add adult children to two mortgaged homes. We live in one home. Do we need a Life Estate

We are in our late sixties and our estate consists of the equity in our mortgaged homes and life insurance to be divided between three children. Our daughter and granddaughter live in one home and we live in the other. Our goal is to avoid probate and while we plan to age at home, doing this may... Read more »

Inna Fershteyn
Inna Fershteyn answered on Aug 26, 2017

You need to do Estate planning and set up Revocable living trust (feel free to read more info on how Revocable trust operates on my website below it has comprehensive tutorials).

The best thing to do is to do a Triest, transfer all your real estate and bank accounts into such trust and...
Read more »

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