Washington Estate Planning Lawyer
As experienced counsel (43+ years) with a Masters Degree (L.L.M.) in taxation, I pledge to provide you with competent, prompt and courteous service. Having represented thousands of clients over the years as a Bellevue estate planning lawyer, I believe experience is a critical factor in making your decision in selecting an attorney.
Practice Areas: My law practice emphasizes the following practice areas: Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives), Probate and Trust Administration, Guardianship, Business, and Tax Controversy.
For estate planning clients, responsibility and motivation are important prerequisites. The “Do Nothing” approach is generally not a satisfactory solution in today’s complex legal world. Thoughtful planning to benefit your family and other loved ones is a function of “taking care of business”. The motivation to commence the estate planning process requires a sincere commitment from the client to see the process through to completion. At times, motivation may encounter inertia – whether it be an issue with priorities, lack of understanding of the legal process and/or other factors. Speaking with an experienced attorney is an important step in the process that will help put you at ease over how your assets will be dealt with upon your death. A Bellevue estate planning attorney can provide solutions to your legal needs and provide an adequate explanation of the legal principles relevant to your situation. Estate planning involves the preparation of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, & health care directives (“living wills”), prenuptial & postnuptial agreements.
Probate and Trust Administration
There are a number of tax and non-tax issues pertaining to estate and trust administration. If the deceased individual left a will, a Personal Representative, or Executor, is appointed to oversee the estate. The Personal Representative is responsible for identifying assets, liabilities, filing and paying taxes, resolving other outstanding issues, and distributing any remaining assets. If there is no will, then state law dictates how the probate process will proceed. Probate typically remains open for four months or longer. Distributions may occur prior to the end of the probate period, but sufficient funds must be reserved for any potential claims, expenses, fees, and anticipated taxes owed. The Personal Representative determines the assets’ fair market value upon the date of death. Documents associated with a revocable trust, if created, address terms of distribution. Other procedures may apply to probate and trust administration, so it is best to check with an estate planning lawyer in Bellevue.
Estate & Gift Tax Planning
Federal Estate Taxes and Washington State Estate Taxes are usually based upon the fair market value for estate assets (Gross Estate) on the date of death. Other valuation methods are available, depending upon the circumstances. If the Gross Estate value exceeds the federal estate tax exemption amount, then the IRS must be notified. If the Gross Estate value exceeds the Washington state estate tax exemption amount, then the Department of Revenue must be notified. In the event taxable gifts were made by the deceased person, the exemption amount for federal estate tax may be reduced. If the deceased person is survived by a spouse who is a citizen of the United States, then deductions could potentially offset any federal estate tax due. For those interested in gift tax planning, Federal Gift Tax law is applicable for gifts donated in the United States by a U.S. citizen or resident donor. Other rules apply if the donor is a nonresident alien of the United States. Other rules may apply in your case, so it is prudent to speak with an estate planning attorney in Bellevue.
Appointment of a guardian may be an appropriate and effective solution in the event a person is found to be incapable of managing property, financial matters, or looking after themselves, generally. While a guardian is empowered to exercise the rights under the law of a person determined to be incapacitated, the court has ultimate responsibility and authority for the protection of the incapacitated person. Guardians are held accountable for their decision making. Incapacitated persons may lose their rights to make certain types of decisions, so guardianship should be viewed as a last resort.
Business Law & Entity Formation
A number of issues need to be considered when forming a business. Issues regarding permits, licenses, insurance policies, and location need to be addressed. Knowledge of various types of contracts and associated requirements and restrictions is key to determining the most appropriate contract in a given instance. Businesses with employees must comply with state and federal law. It is important to weigh the differences between types of entity structures to determine the most appropriate. Whether creating a limited liability company (LLC) a corporation, or other type of structure, filings with various state and or federal agencies are generally required.
Buying or selling residential real estate involves, among other things, signing a contract. Contingencies included in (or excluded from) the contract can have tremendous consequences for the buyer or seller in the event the process does not go according to plan. An attorney representing the buyer or seller can assist with negotiations. The seller of residential real estate must remove liens against the property so that the title is clear. Evidence proving that any liens are cleared is important in the event of a dispute. Our firm assists people with the buying or selling of residential real estate either with or without a realtor.
Individuals in the process of being audited may have a number of concerns, including having the proper evidence to show that they have reported their income properly and only took advantage of exemptions and deductions allowed them in accordance with the law. In many instances, the IRS identifies tax returns that seem suspicious in nature. For taxpayers, it is important to know what information the auditor is entitled to see and what need not be disclosed. In the event a tax dispute becomes a collections issue, variety of options may be available to prevent enforced collections.
Contact a Bellevue Estate Planning Lawyer Today
The firm is located in Bellevue, Washington and our clients are usually from the Greater Seattle area, including Kirkland, Redmond, Mercer Island, Woodinville & Issaquah. You can use our handy contact form or call us at (425) 454-0915.