Expert Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts Services in the Spokane Valley
Locally-owned Steven Wee Law Office Spokane has provided top-notch legal assistance for estate planning, wills and trusts for more than 18 years. If you’re worried about any aspect of your estate, you can count on us to help you organize your financial affairs. From establishing wills and trusts to planning for children or special needs, our commitment to you and your loved ones is very high. We deliver service and results that exceed expectations.
Estate Planning Services
While nobody wants to think about death or disability, establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, but can also spare your loved ones the expense, delay, and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away or become disabled.
Planning for Children
Health Care Directives
Using a Will or a Revocable Living Trust?
One of the most baffling issues in estate planning is whether to use a will or a revocable living trust to accomplish your goals. The main distinction between a will and a trust is the use or avoidance of the probate system.
“Probate” is the process of administering the estate of a deceased person. During probate, the instructions contained in the will (if there is one) are followed as to distribution of property, and claims against the deceased person’s estate are resolved by the court.
Many states, such as California, have complex probate rules and mandatory fees which can make the probate process very long, confusing, and expensive. For most people in Washington, however, this process is quick, straightforward, and not particularly expensive.
As a rule, Steven Wee Law Office Spokane doesn’t recommend the use of a revocable living trust. There are several reasons for this:
Expense. The creation and ongoing maintenance of a trust is much more expensive than the creation of a simple will. The cost in attorney’s fees is higher. The cost to transfer all assets into the trust is an additional expense. Finally, every trust must have an associated “Pour-Over Will” to direct any assets that were not transferred to the trust (so you ultimately wind up with a will either way).
Maintenance. It is difficult for people to remember to transfer all of their assets over the course of their lifetime into the trust. Should you forget to do that, even once, you could end up having to go through the probate process anyway, thereby negating the value of the entire exercise.
Complexity. Trusts are often very long and complex, making it difficult for people to understand their own estate planning documents. This makes it difficult to feel comfortable that you have made the plans you intended, and it makes it difficult for those who must work with the document after your death to ensure they are following your wishes.
Liability to Creditors. Avoiding probate doesn’t take advantage of the short probate creditor claim statute of limitations. In trust situations, claims for payment can be made years after the date of death. In probate, creditors have mere months to make their claims, after which any claims are barred by the court.
Establishing a Plan That’s Right for You
There are some situations which favor the use of a trust, such as when there is complex ongoing business involved or a high need for privacy. Additionally, there are several other estate planning elements to consider. We’ll be happy to help you determine which instruments are best for your specific situation. Then we’ll craft the document to achieve your estate planning goals.
Expert Estate Planning
Serving the communities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Deer Park, Nine Mile Falls, Airway Heights, Cheney, Mead