Estate Planning Washington
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Basic Questions About Estate Planning in Washington – What is a QTIP Trust?

The qualified terminable interest property trust, commonly referred to as the QTIP trust, is an advanced estate planning device that is often included in the estate plans of people with blended families. The QTIP trust is, like other trusts, designed to provide specific benefits, but is not suitable for everyone. Today we are going to take a closer look at QTIP trusts and how they work. QTIP Trusts Like all trusts, a QTIP trusts allows you to create a legal entity that can own property on behalf of a person or persons, known as beneficiaries, who get to use it. But, unlike many other types of trusts, QTIP trusts are designed to protect two different types of beneficiaries at different times. Here s how they work. First the person who establishes a QTIP trust, called a trustor or grantor, decides to transfer property into the trust s name. The trustor will then name two beneficiaries: the life estate beneficiary, and the final beneficiary. Once the trustor dies, the life estate benefic
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Taking advantage of your 401K

If you work for an employer who offers a 401K retirement plan or other type of pretax retirement savings plan consider yourself lucky!  It looks like many Americans are finally realizing how valuable a retirement plan can be according to this story.  As your earn and save money to take care of yourself and your family, it is vital to have a proper plan in place.   Please contact our office for a complimentary estate plan review or a financial review to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make your money work for you.
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Seattle Real Estate is hot again!

If you own a home in the Greater Seattle area you may have noticed that the current housing market is near the peak housing prices reached in 2007.  It is important to consider the potential newfound value of your home in the context of your estate plan.  Whether you plan to refinance, sell, or continue to stay in your home can have a significant impact on what your heirs will receive when you pass away.  For many the family home is the most significant asset they own and this can be particularly true in a thriving economic region like Seattle.  By selling your highly appreciated home one can unknowingly create an adverse tax impact without the proper professional advice.  If you or someone you care about are considering selling your home, don t forget to talk with an attorney at Byrd Garrett so that you know what the potential long and short term consequences are for both you and your heirs.  Knowing all your options so that you can make an informed decision is the bes
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New Digital Estate Planning Policy Gives Facebook Users More Options

For anyone in the Seattle, Washington area with a Facebook account, you might want to take some time to update your account to designate a legacy contact in accordance with Facebook s new policy. The policy, recently adopted by the company, gives users the ability to select the person who will have access to the user s account after that user dies. The person selected, known as the legacy contact, will have specific abilities over the contents of the Facebook profile that once belonged to the deceased person. This new policy reflects a growing recognition by companies of the need to address digital estate planning concerns. This is especially true of social media companies like Facebook because there are so many unanswered questions about what happens to social media information and data after a person dies. Legacy Contact Selection Under the new Facebook policy, every user has the ability to designate someone else as his or her legacy contact. The legacy contact will have specific ab
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Fight over Robin Williams’s Personal Property

When Robin Williams died last August, he left behind a large estate, several children, a widow, and millions of stunned fans. Soon after his death it was revealed that the actor had taken significant steps to craft an estate plan that was rather sophisticated in the protections it provided. Not only did the plan utilize a trust to protect the actor s largest assets, his real estate, but it also used a trust as the main vehicle through which is inheritances would be distributed. Nevertheless, a San Francisco probate court is set to hold a hearing in early June to settle a dispute that has arisen between the actor s children from his previous marriages and his widow, Susan Schneider Williams. Personal Property at Heart of Williams Estate Williams crafted an estate plan that left his three children from his two previous marriages all of his memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry, as well as his tangible personal property and jewelry. His wife, Schneider Williams, effectivel
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As Your Family Grows Up, Your Estate Plan Should Change

If you are a parent of a young child in the Seattle, Washington area who has taken the time to craft an estate plan, you should be prepared to make changes to your plan as your family grows up. Whether you have a single child, multiple children, a child with special needs, or are planning on adopting or having children in the future, making sure that your plan reflects your current situation and needs is essential if you want to get the most out of the estate planning process. Today we are going to take a look at several common issues that people need to consider as their families grow up. Change your guardian choice as your family grows up. When you have a child and craft an estate plan, one of the most important decisions you make will be the choice of guardian for your child. Should you and your child s other parent die, the guardian will be responsible for raising and caring for the child. Choosing the right guardian can be an arduous process, as you will have to take time to cons
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Using Trusts in Your Estate Plan: Questions and Answers

Learn more about trusts in Washington, the many types of trusts and purposes. http://www.byrdgarrett.com/estate_planning/living-trusts/
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Wills in Washington: Questions, Answers and Options

This presentation talks about wills in Washington and aims to answer various questions people may have about them. http://www.byrdgarrett.com/estate_planning/wills/
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Differences in Advance Directive Laws Highlighted by Recent Texas Case

A Texas case involving a pregnant woman is drawing renewed attention to state laws about advance directives, incapacitated people, pregnancy, and the ability to make medical choices. In late 2013, Dallas-Fort Worth area paramedic Eric Munoz found his pregnant wife unresponsive on the floor of their home. After transporting her to the hospital, Munoz discovered that his wife, Marlise, had likely suffered a pulmonary embolism that had left her incapacitated. The embolism had deprived her brain of oxygen, and left her effectively brain-dead. The doctor said they didn’t know if any damage had been done to fetus she was carrying. Mr. and Mrs. Munoz were both experienced paramedics. They had previously discussed the question of whether they would want to receive life-sustaining treatment if they were in an unrecoverable medical condition. Eric Munoz said that his wife, even though she had not completed an advanced medical directive, would not have wanted to be kept alive artificially. He
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Common Questions About Estate Tax Portability

Many people have questions about estate taxes, portability, and what it all means for them. While estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax calculations can be a little intimidating, there are some basic concepts that can help you easily understand them. When it comes to portability, asking the right questions will give you a better understanding of what it means for you, your spouse, and your estate. Question 1. What is the estate tax? The estate tax is a federal tax that applies to property left behind by a deceased person. If you die leaving behind property, your estate may, through your estate representative, have to pay a portion of its value as a tax. Question 2. Do all estates have to pay an estate tax? No. Federal law allows every estate to exempt a specific amount of property from the estate tax. The exemption is the amount of money your estate gets to keep before it has to pay a single dollar in estate taxes. In 2014, the estate tax exemption limit is $5.34 million.
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Understanding Living Trusts by Debunking Living Trust Myths

If you are like a lot of people in the Seattle, Washington area beginning an estate plan, you have likely heard of revocable living trusts. A revocable living trust is an essential piece of many contemporary estate plans. Like other estate planning tools, living trusts will serve some specific purposes and will allow you and your estate some significant benefits. There are, unfortunately, some commonly held myths about living trusts that you may have come across. While most of these myths are relatively harmless, it’s a good idea to understand why they’re not true. Having the right information about revocable living trusts will allow you to make much better choices when you go through the estate planning process. Myth 1. If I create a revocable living trust I don’t have to worry about probate. A revocable living trust is essential if you want to create an estate plan that focuses on probate avoidance. Yet creating a revocable living trust is not the only necessary step. Your tru
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Powers of Attorney and their Place In Your Estate Plan

A detailed look at powers of attorney - what they are, what you need to know about them before you decide to create one.
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Supreme Court rules for plaintiffs in 401(k) case

In a rare unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that a trustee has a continuing duty, separate and apart from the duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset, to monitor and remove imprudent trust investments.  The court further held that a fiduciary must discharge his responsibilities with care, skill, prudence, and diligence that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use. The lawsuit started in 2007, when employees of Edison International argued that their 401(k) trustees violated their fiduciary du­ties with respect to three mutual funds added to the plan in 1999 and three mutual funds added to the plan in 2002. In short, the investments in question were offered to the plan participants as higher-priced retail share classes when cheaper institutional share classes could easily have been obtained.  Edison argued that the case was governed under ERISA and therefore a 6 year statute of limit
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Mother’s Day Sunday May 10th

Our moms help us in so many different ways, it s impossible to quantify everything that they do.  But here is a link to a story which does exactly that, and she s entitled to a 3.7% raise this year!   We at Byrd Garrett hope that you all have a wonderful Mother s Day this Sunday!!
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Basic Questions About Estate Planning in Washington – What is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning is an aspect of estate planning that a lot of people do not know much about. Even if you know that Medicaid has something provides health care insurance to the poor, those with disabilities, or the elderly, you may not know how this process works, or why it has anything to do with estate planning. To help better explain what Medicaid planning is and why it might become a part of your estate plan, today we are going to take a look at some essential questions surrounding the Medicaid planning process. What is Medicaid? Medicaid is a health insurance program jointly operated by the federal government and the 50 state governments that is designed to provide insurance coverage for people with disabilities, low-income children, and seniors. As a part of this coverage, Medicaid pays for the expenses associated with long-term care costs for people with disabilities or anyone who need to reside in an eldercare facility such as a nursing home or assisted living center. What is
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Basic Questions About Estate Planning in Washington – What is Long-Term Care?

Estate plans need to address a host of issues, including the possibility that you might one day need long-term care. A majority of Americans will require at least temporary long-term care at some point in their lives, but few are prepared for this reality. Further, as more baby boomers reach retirement age and confront the realities that come with aging, many are realizing that long-term care planning is something they need to think about. Long-Term Care Types There is not just one kind of long-term care, but a variety of options. One of the most commonly used types of care is the permanent care facility, such as a nursing home, assisted living center, or similar institution. These places offer varying levels of care, amenities, and activities for their residents. For some people, spending time in a nursing home environment is something they have in intention of doing. While staying at home is sometimes possible, it too has its costs associated with it. A full-time home care assistant
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Can you Transfer Inheritances? 3 Common Questions

While it may seem like a counterintuitive option, there may come a time when you might want, or even need, to transfer inheritance rights to others. The process of transferring inheritances, the circumstances under which you might want to do it, and the steps you have to do to make sure you do it properly are all something that your attorney will talk to you about in more depth. Until that happens, however, here are a couple of common questions people in Washington have about why they might want to transfer inheritances to others. Question 1. What are some common reasons why people might transfer inheritances? When someone dies without leaving behind an estate or inheritance plan, or more specifically, without leaving behind a last will and testament, that person is said to have died intestate. In this situation the laws of the state of Washington determine who that person s legal heirs are. However, it isn t always easy to determine where those heirs might be located. For example, a
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Intestacy And Your Estate - YouTube

Intestacy And Your Estate - YouTube | Estate Planning Washington | Scoop.it
Learn more about the basic concepts of intestacy and your estate in Washington. http://www.byrdgarrett.com/estate_planning/living-trusts/
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Wills in Washington: Questions, Answers and Options

Wills in Washington: Questions, Answers and Options | Estate Planning Washington | Scoop.it
This presentation talks about wills in Washington and aims to answer various questions people may have about them. http://www.byrdgarrett.com/estate_planning/wills/
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Intestacy and Your Estate Common Questions

When someone dies and leaves behind an instestate estate, the family members of the deceased persons are often left with some unanswered questions.
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A Family History is Often the Most Valuable Part of Your Legacy

In survey after survey, people report that the most important thing they can receive from their parents or grandparents as an inheritance is a legacy of family stories and personal histories. While many people think that inheritance and legacy planning focus solely on questions of property, those who stand to inherit often believe much differently. In a 2012 survey conducted by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, respondents overwhelmingly reported that they valued keeping their family history’s life more than anything else. Boomers and Elders Agree on Legacy Issues The survey asked baby boomers and Americans age 72 and older a range of questions about inheritances and family legacies. The vast majority of baby boomers who responded, 86%, said that the most important part of their personal legacy was to be able to leave behind family histories and stories that were kept alive by other family members. 74% of elderly Americans said the same. These results were very si
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Estate Planning in the Face of Alzheimer’s

If you, or a close family member or loved one, has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are many estate planning issues you will need to consider. As with any significant medical condition, a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease should prompt you to seek out the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer in Washington. The progressive nature of Alzheimer’s disease means that your time to create an estate plan is limited, and you need to act quickly. To help you get started, here are two issues you need to consider. Alzheimer’s Disease and Capacity There is currently no treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, the disease has different stages, each of which can lead to different symptoms. In order to create an estate plan in light of Alzheimer’s disease, you must be sure that you’re capable of making choices. The ability to make choices is necessary whenever you create a legal document. As someone with Alzheimer’s disease, your abili
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What You Think You Know About Elder Law Could Hurt You

Elder law attorneys commonly hear a lot of myths about this area of the law. Whether you get your advice from someone who is well intended but uninformed, hear something from a friend, or see something on television, relying on bad information could harm you as you create an estate plan or consider elder law topics. If you ever have a question about an elder law issue or need assistance, you should talk to your attorney for specific advice. In the meantime, here are two of commonly held myths that many people believe about elder law and estate planning. You can qualify for Medicaid by giving your property away. When people consider the costs of long-term care, some of them turn to Medicaid as a way to cover the expenses. While Medicaid will pay for nursing home expenses or similar costs, not just anyone can use it. To qualify for Medicaid you have to meet some fairly strict income and asset eligibility criteria. A lot of people are aware of the Medicaid eligibility restrictions, but t
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Advance Medical Directives in Washington: Why Every Adult Should Have Them

Advance directives, also called medical directives or advance medical directives, are legal documents that state your medical care preferences. They are designed to be used when you are incapacitated and are either about to receive medical care, or are currently hospitalized. This presentation will talk about advance medical directives in Washington, how to make them and why every capable adult should have them. http://www.byrdgarrett.com/estate_planning/wills/
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