If you are one of the many people in Washington State who dreads the thought of your children or other heirs going at each other after you die in the name of money or treasured family heirlooms, you are not alone. This is the last thing most people want to have happen. It is also the last thing most people would want to be directly involved in as one of the heirs. While there may be no foolproof way to prevent this in all situations, there are some steps that can be taken during the estate planning process that might reduce the chances of these conflicts from occurring.
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.
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.
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.
Changing a will in Washington is more common than you may think. Any time you have a significant change in life circumstances, you may change your will to reflect the change. There is no penalty involved in changing a will and no limit to the number of times you can do so. In fact, it is better for everyone if you keep your will up-to-date and current because that can help prevent inheritance disputes from arising among your beneficiaries after you are gone.
Estate administration proceedings often may not play out the way that you or other interested parties may have anticipated. Those looking in on your situation from an outside prospective may view any questions you or others have about the decedent's will as simply being sour grapes. Yet typically, your concern about your loved one potentially being manipulated outweigh any disappointment you feel regarding your share of their estate. Many in Seattle have come to us here at Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC with the same concerns, and want to if any recourse is available to address them.
Among the many reasons why people in Seattle may put off the process of estate planning is due to a fear of upsetting their beneficiaries because of their decisions. Yet the alternative is putting the matter completely at the mercy of state law. Those who are concerned that their estate decisions may prompt discord may want to consider including an added degree of enforceability to their wills. This can be done by including language that amounts to a "no contest" clause.
Seattle residents may be counseled to only consider those that they completely trust to serve as their executors or personal representatives. While that advice may be sound, it means that many may often be asked to serve in such roles that are not familiar with the state's probate code or the estate administration process in general. Such knowledge may not be a requirement to serve an executor (there are plenty of resources available to assist one in the execution of such duties), yet it may prove beneficial should unique situations arise that test legal procedural limitations.
When people hear the term "elder abuse," their thoughts often are turned to cases where elderly people who are in a vulnerable state are abused physically and emotionally. However, elder abuse can also be sexual and financial. When family members in Seattle are entrusted with making financial decisions for elderly loved ones, they are under the obligation of the law to conduct their decisions in a way that would have satisfied their incapacitated family member. Failure to do so can be damaging to relationships and also result in costly legal consequences.
When you plan your estate carefully, you expect that when you die, everything will go as you want it. However, that is not always true. Inheritance disputes are common. When they occur in Washington, it can delay the distribution of your assets and the carrying out of your wishes. Since you will not be around to handle the situation yourself, your best option is to plan for any possible disputes. It helps to understand what causes them, so you can do this.