Estate Planning

When you come in for your free initial estate planning consultation, my goal will be to listen to how you want your estate distributed and who you want to benefit.

Wills

The most familiar estate planning document is a will. The person signing the will is known as the Testator (you).

Why make a Will? There are two very important reasons for making a will. The first is obvious, by making a will you choose who will receive what you own at the time of your death. The second reason may not be so obvious; by making a will many disagreements over the distribution of what you own at the time of your death are laid to rest.

Formal Requirements: In Washington State a will must be typed, signed by you and witnessed by two people who will not be receiving anything from that will. Additionally, for purposes of probate, an affidavit of attesting witnesses is required. The affidavit of attesting witnesses confirms that the witnesses either saw you sign the will, or were directed by you to witness the will. The affidavit also confirms that you appeared to be of sound mind and not under duress at the time of signing.

Distribution: Once the formalities of the will are met, you are free to decide who will receive what property and under what, if any, conditions. For example, minor children receive their inheritance in trust and you decide at what ages what distributions are to be made. Additionally, you name the person who will handle the minor’s money and who will raise the minor. You may choose the same person to handle the money and raise the child if you wish.

Changes to a Will: A will does not become ‘set in stone’ until a person dies. As long as you remain competent, you may change your will.

Estate Planning Worksheet