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.
People in Washington State who get remarried may have been told that having very clear estate plans is important yet some still choose to avoid making these plans. Even in the happiest of blended families, troubles can brew between the biological children of a deceased person and the surviving spouse. One current example of this can be seen in the case of a country music legend who died in the summer of 2018.
Most people in Washington State are likely aware that the woman commonly referred to as "The Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, died last month. It is likely a common thought that anyone of her status and wealth would have had a solid estate plan in place. It has, however, come to light as reported by The Washington Post that the famous singer and entertainer did not, in fact, have any will, trust or other estate planning document in place at the time of her death.
Nobody in Washington State wants to think that their adult children, grandchildren or other relatives could someday be at each other's throats over money. Yet, this can and does happen more often that most people would want to really know. The sadness that can accompany these fights represents the loss of many memories and hopes for the future but may be able to be avoided with the proper preplanning.
Unlike the dramatic challenges to the will of a wealthy person that Washington residents see in entertainment programming, the vast majority of wills make it through probate without opposition, according to FindLaw. In fact, about 99 percent of them are unchallenged, due to the weight a will carries as a final record of how the testator wishes to distribute his or her inheritance.