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Neighbor dispute thrown out of court

Most people in Washington State have lived next to or near a neighbor that they might find annoying at times. Whether music that is played too loudly, a yard and home that are not well kept or something else, these situations are not at all uncommon. Residents have a few choices when they encounter these types of situations. They may choose to simply go about their business and accept the matter as is, never addressing it at all. They may choose to talk with the neighbor in an effort to find a compromise solution. They might create a barrier on their property, so they do not have to see any unsightly mess.

These are just a few ways that neighbors handle tough situations. In some cases, matters might warrant the involvement of lawyers and even judges. This is what one woman in Australia believed was her only way of addressing what she felt was an unacceptable experience with her neighbors. A judge, however, felt differently on the mater.

Ambiguity and errors in will fuel inheritance battle

People in Washington State who create a will should be able to expect that its terms will be followed as identified. However, this may not always be as simple as one might wish it to be. Despite the intentions of the person who created the will, the language used in the final document might leave some areas of it open to interpretation. This may then contribute to potential heirs disputing the will.

An example of this can be seen in the case of two women who died 12 days apart from each other. According to The New York Daily News, the women had been a couple for 18 years although they had chosen not to get married. One of the women was a psychologist and owned two properties and had other assets that left her with an estate valued in the millions. She worked with an attorney to develop a will that was finalized three months before her death due to cancer.

Can your HOA prevent neighbor disputes?

The welcoming, clean appearance of the other homes on the block may have been one of the reasons you decided to buy a house in that neighborhood. As you signed the papers, you were most likely made aware that your neighborhood is governed by a homeowners’ association. Like other Washington residents, this may have given you some concern. Many homeowners believe their HOAs have overly strict rules and get involved in issues they should stay out of. However, you may want to learn about whether your HOA may prevent costly disputes with your neighbors.

As NerdWallet explains, there are numerous reasons homeowners’ associations came into being. Like other homeowners in your area, you want the property values to remain consistent and you do not want to deal with unpleasant neighbors or poorly maintained properties. The purpose of an HOA is to ensure residents comply with rules regarding noise, excessive vehicles, unsightly decorations, unkempt yards and even illegal activities.

Identifying when an aging parent needs help

Many people in Washington State face the challenge of how to provide the best help to and care for an aging parent or other relative. One of the biggest problems encountered by families is how and when to have the conversation about ensuring adult children have the authority to help make decisions on the part of their parents. If you are concerned about this, you should know that it can be easier to have a durable power of attorney established while your parent is still in reasonably good health. 

As explained by Better Health While Aging, getting a POA in order early not only allows you to be able to manage your parent's affairs when needed but it may also eliminate the situation many people find themselves in later on when one family member accuses another of manipulating an ailing parent into signing such a document under duress.

These tips may help if you have an aggressive, bad neighbor

When you bought your new home, you felt excited to get to know the people who lived nearby. You hoped to make friends. You imagined sitting out on your porch in the evening and talking to the neighbors.

The reality has been much different. You have a bad neighbor; there's really no other way to describe it. You keep having disputes, and this person is aggressive and confrontational. It's not just that they're not your friend. You wish you didn't live by them at all. It's completely undermined what you hoped for in the neighborhood.

Estate planning basics

Everyone in Washington State knows that mortality is real and someday they will die. Despite this fact, a great many people still have not taken the steps to create an estate plan. For some, this might be out of a fear of facing their humanity as people are often raised to fear death. For others, the avoidance of making an estate plan can be due to a lack of knowledge about where to start. This is understandable as there are many options when it comes to making a good estate plan.

As explained by CNN Money, there is often confusion about wills and trusts and which one to use when. There may be circumstances in which having both a will and a trust benefits people. One example is for people with minor children. A trust can provide direction on what happens to assets like a home and a will can establish guardianship of the children should the parents die while the kids are still young.

Who handles an estate’s tax liabilities?

One of the potentially more contentious issues involved with the administration of an estate in Seattle is the potential for having to pay estate taxes. You (and other beneficiaries) may understand that if taxes are owed, they should be paid from the estate’s assets. Yet how are you to know if taxes are owed and how they might affect yours (and others’) interests in the estate? 

The federal government has set an estate tax threshold to determine which estates will be required to pay taxes (most states defer to federal tax laws when it comes to taxing estates; Washington, does not have an state estate tax). Per Forbes Magazine, the federal estate tax threshold for 2019 is $11.4 million. What this means is that any estate whose total taxable value is below that amount will not be taxed. 

Options for keeping your will up-to-date

Residents in Washington State who have gone through the process of creating a thorough estate plan do not generally eagerly await the opportunity to do it again. This can be a very time-consuming experience and an emotional one as some very important decisions should be made and conversations should be had. However, the fact of the matter is that any estate plan should be kept updated as life changes often dictate this.

Forbes explains that some events such as the marriage or divorce of either the person who created the plan or one of their beneficiaries, executors or trustees warrants some changes to a plan. Similarly, the birth or death of one of these people would require some legal changes to be made. Major shifts in a person's set of assets or debts may logically require a new look at a will or a trust.

Revoking a will in Washington

People in Seattle are encouraged to create an estate plan early on in their adult lives. At the same time, they are also told to revisit that plan as their circumstances change. Often, you may find yourself party to an estate whose terms (at least those stipulated in what is perceived to be your family member or friend's will) run contrary to what the decedent told you directly. In such a case, there may be an updated will indicating those wishes. When faced with this scenario, many have come to us here at Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC asking whether or not their loved one's initial will was sufficiently revoked. 

Washington state law recognizes that one might change their opinions on how they want their assets distributed, yet it also is geared to prevent people from trying to challenge the terms to an estate without merit. Therefore, Section 11.12.040 of the Revised Code of Washington clearly outlines how a will can be legally revoked. 

Fence dispute ends with shooting, man arrested

People in Washington State who have ever encountered a challenging neighbor know that it can be tough to know exactly how to deal with a problem that involves the person living next door to them. While most people make efforts to be civil, at least initially, tensions can flare and situations can become very unpleasant or even dangerous. That is what ended up happening in one dispute between two neighbors in Puyallup in Pierce County recently.

According to a report by Patch.com, one man had hired some workers to build a new fence along the property line with his adjacent neighbor. It is not known whether or not the neighbors discussed the fence prior to the work commencing. The neighbor was allegedly drunk at some point in the day and reported to have been bothering the people building the fence. The man who hired the workers became annoyed at his neighbor and the situation escalated to the point where authorities were called to the properties in the late afternoon.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

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