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Understanding property easements

When you are looking to buy a home in Washington State, it can be very easy to get focused on the particulars of the home that you enjoy and make sure you pay the price that you feel is reasonable and good for you. While these things are important, it is also vital that you carefully review some of the other details that may have implications for the ultimate enjoyment or experience of your new home. The existence of an easement is one of these details.

As explained by Trulia.com, there are many different types of easements but they all have one thing in common and that is the fact that they grant some form of access onto a specific part of a property for a very specific use. Two things are noteworthy here. The first is that when an easement exists, it does not mean that another entity has the right to be on any part of a property but only on the portions identified in the easement. The other item to note is that use of that piece of land is granted only for certain reasons not for general use.

Why do millennials need estate plans?

If you are one of the many millennials in Washington State who thinks that creating a will, trust or other type of estate planning document is something only your parents or grandparents need to do, you are not alone. However, you should realize that there are many reasons that make creating a good plan for yourself at this stage of your life very important.

Millennials span a wide age range but many of you are now entering into parenthood and as you do this, you are no doubt learning how this completely changes your life and your outlook on what is important to you. As Nerd Wallet explains, if something happens to you and your child's other parent while your child is still a minor and you do not have a will or trust in place, your child's future may be largely dependent on state defaults. Knowing there is no real substitute to a child's parent, you should want to take control of who would raise your child if you are unable to. An estate plan is the only way to ensure this.

Do all wills need to go through probate?

When one of your loved ones dies in Seattle, you may wonder if the will always needs to go through probate. It is important to understand the circumstances that make probate beneficial.

Your particular circumstances usually determine whether you should probate a will. According to FindLaw, creditors usually have up to one year to file a claim for unpaid money. If your loved one left large debts behind, probate may sometime be beneficial, as creditors then generally have only four months to contact the estate. If an estate is insolvent, though, it may sometimes be best not to probate a will. This is because an insolvent estate has little money and high bills and you are not legally required to see that these debts are paid off.

Location matters in estate planning

Residents in Washington State who want to develop the best type of estate plan for their needs and wishes know that there are many different types of tools from which they can choose. Their personal net worth as well as their wishes are just part of what will play into determining the right approach to estate planning for them. For example, people who want to provide funds for a grandchild's college education might establish a specific kind of trust that is geared for this goal.

In addition to what a particular estate planning tool like a qualified interminable property trust or a generation-skipping trust might be able to do for people, consideration should also be given to where a person lives. That's right. It might sound silly but what may make a good estate plan in one state may make a lousy plan in another. This is because of the wide variance in state tax assessments when it comes to estates and inheritances.

What is undue influence and how does it impact a will?

The will just doesn't feel right. It says that your father wrote it and approved it. It looks like his signature. But you can't shake the feeling that something is wrong.

Your mother passed away a decade ago, so, when your father passed away last month, his estate went to you, your brother and your sister. They both live in the Lynnwood area, but you moved away for your career.

Do you have a dispute over inheritance?

Seattle residents like you already have more than enough to deal with when a loved one passes. Unfortunately, matters of inheritance aren't always straightforward. If you feel like you have intentionally been left out of a will, or take issue with the way inheritance matters have been handled, Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC, is here to aid your fight.

It's difficult to be in a situation where you believe that your loved one has had their assets mismanaged, possibly intentionally. This is especially true if you believe the mismanagement was caused by a friend, family member, or someone else who may have been close to them. There are some cases in which negotiation may be enough to right any potential wrongs that have occurred.

What should you know about financial abuse?

As you dive into matters of inheritance, you might find yourself dealing with more than you bargained for. For example, you could be dealing with the aftermath of a situation in which financial abuse has occurred. In Seattle, there are laws against the acts that could fall under this category. But what exactly financial abuse?

Financial abuse occurs when someone's property, money, pension, or other valuables are used illegally by another. The end game of most financial abusers is to completely gain control over the assets of the person in question, and that person may even be kicked out of their own home in the end. In some cases, no one outside of the relationship is aware that financial abuse is taking place.

What is undue influence?

As a Seattle resident who has recently lost a relative, you could face more hurdles than you're prepared for. Among those potential problems is the issue of undue influence, which can be more than just a small hurdle when it comes to dealing with matters of the estate.

The Legal Dictionary defines undue influence as any act that overtakes the judgment or free will of another person. This is a very large umbrella term that's designed to encompass any situation in which someone's actual opinions or thoughts have been changed by another through generally underhanded or manipulative means.

Do you have a parent with an out-of-date will?

There are few documents that hold the potential to create unnecessary family and community conflicts like an out-of-date will. While it is certainly true that having a will at all, even an out-of-date one, is better than no will at all, an out-of-date will often contains conflicting information. An out-of-date will may also fail to comply with changes in estate law, or completely neglect to address changes in the life of the creator and the beneficiaries that affect the directives within the will.

Many parents know that they need to update their will, but find reasons to put it off. Of course, this is not a very wise choice, no matter the age. If you have a parent with a will that he or she should update in order to avoid family conflicts, you should encourage them to make it a priority.

When a neighbor's unruly pet won't pipe down

Dogs are humans' best friends, but not when an irritated neighbor is involved. Confrontations can be difficult to initiate -- especially when the issue stems from a nearby homeowner -- but nevertheless are the answer for some Seattle residents who simply want peace of mind. Many might assume that most neighbor disputes lead to little change, but some situations reach the point of legal concern.

Komo News highlighted a 2015 story that reached this level of concern. According to the report, a north Seattle woman faced extreme penalties for having a loud dog; the penalties reached $500,000. Her neighbor accused the dog of howling at 128 decibels, and as a result had caused emotional distress. And the owner of the dog appeared to have made a similar assumption to that of many: she did not respond to the lawsuit in any way, thinking the issue was benign. This decision turned into a bleak disadvantage when the woman realized her apathetic response resulted in her loss in the suit. However, the shocked dog owner made plans of reversing the court's decision. 

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

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