Creating a ‘Bridge’ Estate Plan – Why Spouses should Update their Estate Plan During a Divorce or Separation

While many people consider updating their estate planning documents following a divorce, it is best to update these documents when planning for a divorce or separation process, or risk potentially disastrous results. Washington law automatically overrides some, but not all, existing estate planning documents upon the filing of a marriage dissolution or legal separation action. Powers of

Why You Should Review Your Estate Planning Documents Every 3-5 Years

Upon finishing the estate planning process, clients often ask the understandable question, “how often should I update my estate planning documents?” Best practice is to review and/or update your estate planning documents either (1) every three-five years, or (2) after major life changes occur. Major life changes can include the birth of new children or

‘Tis the Season: A Gifting Opportunity

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

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

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

Checklist: Estate Planning Essentials During Your Washington Divorce

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

The Federal Gift Tax Annual Exclusion and Lifetime Exemption

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

Estate Tax Planning in Uncertain Times

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