Articles: Estate Planning

‘Tis the Season: A Gifting Opportunity

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Jill Fairchild

If you are in the holiday spirit this season, you may wish to make gifts using the 2018 annual federal gift tax exclusion amount. To qualify for the annual federal gift tax exclusion, gifts must be made no later than December 31, 2018. You may give up to $15,000 to as many recipients as you Read more >

Estate Planning Alert: New Tax Law Doubles the Federal Estate Tax Exemption Amount … For Now

Posted on January 29, 2018 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, is the most significant U.S. tax reform to be enacted in over thirty years. One of its many components is the near doubling of the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer-tax exemption amount applicable to individuals. The Act raised Read more >

Tangible Personal Property: Planning for the “Small Stuff” in Your Will

Posted on September 25, 2017 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

Heirs battling over seemingly “small” personal property items after a loved one has died is a heartbreaking yet familiar scenario in the probate world. While such disputes might seem petty to outsiders, the issue of who gets mom’s favorite purse, dad’s music collection, or even grandmother’s little blue ceramic bowl is often a deeply personal process that can Read more >

Checklist: Estate Planning Essentials During Your Washington Divorce

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

If you’re currently weathering the stress of a divorce, the last thing you may be thinking about is updating your estate planning documents. Your divorce can have a major impact on your estate plan, however, with implications for you, your children, and those who depend on you. You should consider making the following updates to Read more >

The Federal Gift Tax Annual Exclusion and Lifetime Exemption

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Christopher Yoson

The most fundamental part of any gifting program is the federal gift tax annual exclusion. This exclusion allows a taxpayer to make a maximum gift of $14,000 (for 2017) each year to an individual free of tax and reporting (i.e., there is no need for the taxpayer to file a gift tax return). This is not a Read more >

Estate Tax Planning in Uncertain Times

Posted on February 13, 2017 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

Repeal of the federal estate tax has been a cornerstone of President Trump’s tax reform promises. Given the Republicans’ majority sweep in both houses of Congress this past November, repeal efforts that have stalled in the past are now a viable possibility. Although repeal is likely to be on the table legislatively at some point Read more >

Beneficiary Designations for Life Insurance & Other Nonprobate Assets: They’re Harder Than You Think

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Christopher Yoson

When you are reviewing or revising your estate planning, it is very important to pay very close attention to how nonprobate assets will pass. Getting it done right is harder than you think. “Nonprobate” assets, like retirement accounts and life insurance proceeds, are those assets that typically pass to intended recipients upon death by beneficiary Read more >

How to Prevent Will Contests in Your Estate

Posted on October 28, 2016 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

It is important to you that your assets are transferred upon your death in an efficient and effective manner. What if a disgruntled heir decides to contest your Will in court? This could derail your final wishes, drain your estate of its value, and permanently damage relationships between family members that you love. Given these Read more >

Life Insurance Trusts: Consider the Need to File a Gift Tax Return

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Christopher Yoson

Life insurance policies held in irrevocable trusts (commonly referred to as “ILITs” – Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts) are most commonly funded through gifts of cash to the trust, usually by the grantor of the trust or the insured on the policy. Following the gift, the trustee uses the cash to pay premiums to the insurance Read more >

The Financial Risks of Living Together in Washington

Posted on February 9, 2016 by Hillary Collyer

If you live together in the State of Washington and think that because you’re just “shacking-up” (or cohabiting) with your significant other outside of marriage your assets are protected in the event your relationship ultimately goes south … you had better think again. Although Washington State does not recognize common law marriages (except those originating Read more >