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Why do inheritance disputes happen?

Are you a Seattle resident who is either acting as the executor of a will, or are the beneficiary of one? If so, you have certain responsibilities and rights. However, inheritance disputes can threaten the ease of the probate process. Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC, is here to help.

Generally speaking, the people most likely to bring on inheritance disputes are family members or close friends of the deceased. If they were left out of an estate plan, trust, or will entirely, they may argue for their inclusion. In certain cases, they may already be included. However, they feel as though what was left to them is not in line with what they expected. This can mean that they got a smaller share of stocks or bank accounts than they were anticipating, or that they were not left something they claim they should have been given, like a car.

Identifying the key responsibilities of an estate executor

When someone passes away, friends and family members of the deceased often experience heavy emotions. On top of the loss, there are a number of important matters that must be handled. The estate executor, sometimes referred to as the estate administrator, is responsible for making sure these matters are resolved. In some cases, the deceased will name an executor in the last will and testament.  If the deceased did not appoint one, however, the state may appoint someone to carry out those duties.

Upon a person’s passing, the estate administrator is the person that will receive critical documents, including the will and death certificate. The executor should then contact creditors and insurance companies to inform them of the death. This will allow the administrator to collect life insurance policies and any other money owed to the estate. If the estate must go through the probate process, the estate administrator must oversee the procedures. In addition, all property and assets belonging to the estate must be gathered and appraised. Any remaining taxes and debts are then taken out of the estate’s value. During the probate process, the executor must ensure that all of the property and assets are protected from theft or vandalization.

Elder financial abuse often comes from children

When we talk about elder financial abuse, we often talk about things like telephone scams, internet scams and the like. These are important for family members to be aware of. The elderly, thanks to their high level of assets and relative inexperience with technology, often get targeted.

However, it's also important to know that this abuse often comes directly from family members. They try to exploit their parents for their own gain. Not only does this hurt the parents, but it can also hurt the siblings, who get cut out of some of the inheritance that they deserved.

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. 

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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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