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Being proactive in your efforts to be a good neighbor

There is nothing quite like having neighbors. Unless you are best friends with the people that live immediately around you, it will undoubtedly take time for you to get to know who lives in the homes next door and across the street from you in Seattle. At Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC, we have been actively involved in helping people to solve disputes that have occurred between themselves and their neighbors. 

While it is not uncommon for you to have a different opinion than another person, depending on that person's relationship with you, you may be careful about the way you go about voicing your disagreement. Neighbors, for one thing, can be a challenge in that both they and you are sharing a property line. There will most likely be situations where you cross each other's paths or are affected by each other's behavior. Understanding what it means to be a good neighbor and being proactive in your efforts to show grace and civility is critical to your ability to maintain a cordial relationship. 

Do I inherit debts in Washington state?

Most people in Washington have some type of debt when they pass away. This means that the responsibility for the payment usually has to go somewhere. However, you would probably not have to pay personally.

If you were the heir of an estate, you would not have to worry about paying those debts in most cases. As mentioned on Smartasset, if you were the executor, you would be responsible for repayment. The funds would come from the estate itself.

Trees and your neighbors

One of the things that draws many people to the Pacific Northwest is the proliferation of greenery and trees. This is something people are willing to tolerate rainy Washington State weather for in many cases. However, while having beautiful trees line a neighborhood and back yard is often desired, a tree can quickly become a sore spot between neighbors. Limbs from a tree in one yard may cascade over to an adjacent yard and the roots can travel into a neighbor's yard or even plumbing.

Identifying the responsibility for matters involving trees is not always black-and-white, making it important to get proper legal advice before taking action. In general, however, homeowners should know that cleanup, such as raking leaves in the autumn, is always the responsibility of the person who owns the property on which the leaves fall according to San Francisco Gate.

The reality of blended family estate planning

Today, most people in Washington State know someone who has gotten divorced or maybe they have even been divorced themselves. Many of these people go on to find new relationships and even consider getting married again. This situation should be something to celebrate and, in many circumstances, it is. However, there are serious issues that people must contend with when it comes to the future of their assets and their estate planning before taking the plunge to get married again.

As reported by Think Advisor, there is a recently released book which is titled "Alzheimer's, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes". The book takes a look at what the author asserts are the top three reasons for problems with an inheritance or an estate plan. Specifically, the problems involving stepmothers may well be able to be avoided if only a couple took premarital estate planning seriously. 

Is my neighbor responsible for water damage?

You may prefer to limit your interactions with your Washington neighbors to a friendly wave. When neighbors cause water damage to your home, though, a wave typically will not fix the situation. It is important to know how you should handle these scenarios so you can get the damage fixed as peacefully as possible.

You may think your neighbors are responsible for damage caused by any water from their property. FindLaw says that people are typically liable for this damage only if changes they made to their yard caused more water to run into your yard. After your home or yard incurs water damage because of a neighbor's actions, it is a good idea to contact your homeowner's insurance company. Sometimes, though, this insurance may not cover all of the damage, or there may extra costs associated with the repairs, such as a hotel bill if you have had to vacate your home. 

Most elderly people with dementia do not know they have it

Dementia is very common, impacting roughly 5.7 million Americans, per a report from 2018. However, experts warn that only about 50 percent of the people who have it have actually gone to the doctor to get a diagnosis. The other half are simply living with it, unaware. Of course, as the disease progresses, many of those with a diagnosis could also become unaware that they have it.

Estate planning

Should siblings share inherited property?

Your deceased parents may have left their home or a vacation property in Washington to you and your siblings with the fond hope that you will share the property, and that it will bring you closer together as you make use of it.

Unfortunately, according to AARP, shared inherited property is more likely to drive you and your siblings apart. You and your siblings are probably already under emotional stress due to grieving your loss. Add contentious issues pertaining to money into the mix, and it can add an incendiary spark to an already volatile situation. 

Getting around a no contest clause

It certainly may be disappointing if, after experiencing the death of a loved one in Seattle whose estate you anticipate being a party to, you discover that you are not included in their will (or at least not the to the degree you might have thought you would be). You wanting to question the validity of the will in such a scenario may be justified (particularly if the decedent had previously indicated you would be, but then ultimately were not). However, if the will contains a no contest clause, you challenging could affect any interest you already may in the estate. Many in this very situation have come to us here at Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC asking what to do. 

No contest clauses are essentially deterrents put into a will to keep disputes from arising. They might threaten to reduce your share of an estate (or disinherit you altogether) if you initiate a will contest. Many might support the principle of a no contest clause if it keeps you or other parties to an estate from delaying its administration simply because you are unhappy with a will's provisions. Yet what if your concerns that a will (or certain parts of it) are indeed not reflective of your loved one's wishes. 

If your parents die broke, are you liable for their debts?

It is never easy to watch your parents age, but for many residents of Washington, this is an unavoidable reality they must face at some point or another. While losing a parent can prove immensely difficult simply because of the emotions involved with the loss, you may find that you face additional hurdles after a parent dies if you are also in charge of managing that parent’s estate.

You may, depending on circumstances, have particular concerns about what might happen once your parent dies if that parent still carried a considerable amount of debt when he or she passed, but NerdWallet reports that such fears might be unwarranted. So, what, exactly, should you expect in the event that one or both of your parents die without enough assets to cover their debts?

Snow removal leads to violent Spokane County neighbor dispute

The necessity of clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks can pose problems for Washington homeowners. Once removed, the snow has to go somewhere, but neighbors must be careful not to allow the excess to wind up on adjoining properties. It can be a contentious process, one that is best resolved through diplomatic means. However, such a dispute recently erupted into a violent confrontation between two men, one of whom went to jail briefly on assault charges. 

Authorities allege that one of the homeowners, a 48-year-old man, threw the other, a 66-year-old man, onto the ground during the confrontation. He reportedly fractured the other man's ribs by using his knees to drop his weight onto him. The other man claims two broken ribs and a broken facial bone as a result of the incident, as well as traumatization. 

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

Phone: 425-329-7857
Phone: 425-776-3191
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