Washington Estate Planning Attorneys Help Protect Your Assets
PRESERVING YOUR FAMILY’S WEALTH FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Whether you’re planning the parameters of your future medical care or establishing support for loved ones upon your death, Zenith Law Group can help with all aspects of your estate plan, including:
• Advance directives (living wills)
• Estate tax issues
• Choosing the appropriate executor
• Guardianships and conservatorships
• Living trusts
• Wills drafting
Estate planning documents are extremely flexible and can be designed to fit your unique needs. Zenith Law Group works closely with you to determine your goals and create precise instruments to carry out your intentions.
SECURING YOUR LEGACY
You’ve worked hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security can bring you great comfort. We thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship for your children, caring for your pets, supporting personal philanthropic causes and protecting your loved ones.
DRAFT YOUR ADVANCE DIRECTIVE AND LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
A will is essential at every stage of your life. Your advance directive (or living will) sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated. This assures that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored.
Your last will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet – making decisions that might not reflect your desires.
We can draft valid wills that ensure your intentions are honored.
CHANGING YOUR WILL
As your life changes, so might your estate plan. You should update your will periodically throughout your life. Our attorneys draft valid codicils that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.
APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS
If you have minor children, your will allows you to make decisions about their future care. Naming a guardian is especially important if you are a single parent, but even married couples must consider the remote possibility of perishing in a common incident. If you do not name a guardian, the court will appoint one whose decisions may be in conflict with your parenting goals. You can also make arrangements for your pets’ care in your will, even naming a guardian to assume ownership.
Contact an estate planning law firm you can trust.
For comprehensive estate planning services in Kirkland and throughout Washington, call Zenith Law Group at 425-822-6311 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Experienced Washington Wills and Trusts Attorneys Secure Your Legacy
COMPREHENSIVE PLANS TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY’S FUTURE
Wills and trusts are the principal legal instruments attorneys use to help clients transfer assets to their heirs. The experienced attorneys at Zenith Law Group can advise you on the best means for you to address your legacy concerns, including the transfer of financial and real property assets, estate tax avoidance, guardianships for minor children, and support for philanthropic causes. We draft precise wills that reflect your desires and establish various types of trusts that serve your estate planning needs.
DRAFT YOUR LIVING WILL AND LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
A will is essential at every stage of your life. A living will sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated. This assures that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored.
Your last will and testament provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is the primary means by which you can leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet – making decisions that might not reflect your desires. We draft valid wills that clearly convey your intentions.
CHANGING YOUR WILL
It is a good idea to review your will with your attorney every three to five years, and update the will to reflect changes in your circumstances and priorities. We draft valid codicils that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.
TRUSTS SPECIALLY TAILORED TO MEET YOUR ESTATE PLANNING GOALS
Depending on your financial circumstances, a will may not be the best way for you to transfer assets to your heirs. Trusts, legal entities you create to hold and transfer your property, can shield your wealth from losses due to liability and taxation, so your heirs can keep more of what you bequeath to them. We can help you select the type of trust instrument that addresses your legacy concerns, such as:
• Revocable trusts. As the grantor, you can retain control of your assets and may revoke or revise the trust at any time.
• Irrevocable trusts. Once you establish this kind of trust, its assets no longer belong to you, and you can’t amend the trust without your beneficiary’s consent. However, appreciated assets are not subject to estate taxes.
• Credit shelter trusts. Also called a bypass or family trust, this allows a grantor to place enough wealth in the trust for heirs that the remainder which the grantor passes on via a will does not trigger estate tax. The assets in the credit shelter trust are also not subject to estate tax.
• Generation-skipping trusts. Also called a dynasty trust, this enables a grantor to transfer a substantial amount of tax-free money to beneficiaries at least two generations your junior. It’s an excellent way to provide a legacy for your grandchildren.
• Qualified personal residence trusts. A QPRT prevents the value of your primary residence or vacation home from being added to the grantor’s estate. It prevents real property which may appreciate in value from triggering the estate tax.
• Irrevocable life insurance trusts. This trust remove a grantor’s life insurance from the taxable estate. It’s an excellent way to leave a tax-free legacy to loved ones.
• Qualified terminable interest property trusts. A QTIP trust helps grantors in second marriages provide for the lifetime needs of a second spouse while preserving a legacy for children from the first marriage.
Trusts are very flexible instruments. We can help you create an instrument that addresses your unique estate planning needs.
Contact our meticulous estate planning lawyers
Zenith Law Group serves clients in Kirkland and throughout Washington. Call us at 425-822-6311 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Kirkland office.
Experienced Washington Attorneys Litigate Probate Disputes
KIRKLAND LAWYERS REPRESENT CLIENTS IN INHERITANCE CONFLICTS
A loved one’s legacy can ease the pain of loss by reminding heirs of a departed family member’s enduring love. But when questions arise about the validity of a will or the management of estate assets, uncertainty can arouse animosity and prevent closure. If you, as a beneficiary, suspect that a will does not reflect the wishes of the deceased, you have a right to challenge the proceedings in court. Similarly, if you believe an executor, trustee or estate administrator is mismanaging estate assets, you have standing to raise that issue. On the other hand, an executor or estate administrator is entitled to a vigorous defense against accusations of incompetence or unlawful conduct. Zenith Law Group provides highly professional representation for aggrieved beneficiaries and accused fiduciaries in estate disputes.
CHALLENGES TO THE VALIDITY OF A WILL
There are several bases for challenging a will. These include:
• Lack of capacity — This ground alleges that the testator was not of sound mind at the time the will or trust was executed.
• Undue influence — Documents might be invalid if a person with access to and power over the testator used emotional manipulation to gain special consideration in the will.
• Fraud — This ground alleges the testator was deceived about the contents of the document at the time of execution.
• Void for vagueness — This ground asserts that the terms of a will are open to conflicting interpretations and it is impossible to know which interpretation is correct. A challenger can prevent part or all of the will from being implemented.
Many probate disputes stem from suspicions that a particular individual took advantage of the declining health or dementia of the deceased to insinuate himself into the will to the detriment of the rightful heirs. The court looks very harshly on this type of elder exploitation. However, it is important to note that disappointment is not grounds for an heir to challenge a will. All challenges must be supported by reliable evidence.
BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY IN ESTATE SETTLEMENT AND TRUST MANAGEMENT
The executor of a will or the administrator of an intestate estate is a fiduciary with a legal duty to manage estate assets according to the testator’s wishes and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The fiduciary must perform at a professional standard so that assets are not lost due to waste, fraud, misallocation or mismanagement. Beneficiaries may challenge deliberate or negligent misconduct and demand a full accounting. Our attorneys have vast experience on both sides of trust and estate controversies. Our firm has close associations with forensic accountants who can render accurate assessments of asset management and help us assemble evidence to prove or rebut allegations.
DON’T EXPECT SUCCESS IF YOU HANDLE OBJECTIONS YOURSELF
Many people hesitate to hire an attorney because they wish to keep a family dispute within the family. However, the court may treat your suspicions lightly if you raise them without a professional presentation and a firm basis in the law that an attorney can provide. Moreover, a seasoned attorney who has been through such negotiations before is likely to produce a settlement that satisfies all parties and allows the proceedings to move forward at less cost to the estate.
Contact an established trust and estate litigation law firm in Washington
Conflicts among beneficiaries or between beneficiaries and fiduciaries can be very destructive without experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. Zenith Law Group provides capable representation for beneficiaries and fiduciaries throughout Washington. Call today at 425-822-6311 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at their Kirkland office.
Our Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorneys Make Sure Your Dependents are Provided For
WASHINGTON TRUST AND ESTATE LAWYERS HELP YOU PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
When devising your estate plan, the care of your children is likely your foremost concern. The attorneys at Zenith Law Group can provide you with sound advice and professional assistance with crucial decisions about the financial support, protection and guardianship of your children.
CHOOSING A GUARDIAN FOR YOUR CHILD
It is appropriate to select and name a guardian who will raise your children according to your parental philosophies. You should be aware that sometimes the court may reject a guardian who it finds is unwilling or unable to care for your child. Our attorneys, therefore, suggest that you name an alternative guardian who can step into the role if your primary guardian choice is unavailable or rejected by the court. Our attorneys also recommend that you thoroughly discuss your decision with your chosen guardian to make sure the guardian is willing and prepared to accept the full responsibility of caring for your child as you wish.
IMPORTANCE OF A MAKING A WILL
Having named a guardian for your children is especially important if you are a single parent or in case both parents die at the same time. If you have not named a guardian for your children, the court appoints the guardian for your children — and may make a very different decision about that than you would have. Assert your right to make such parenting decisions and have them enforced by drafting a will — and updating it if the guardian you have designated dies or becomes incapacitated.
CARING FOR AN INCAPACITATED ADULT
Our lawyers can help you arrange for the care of an elderly parent or disabled adult. We can assist you in the process to have yourself, or another concerned and qualified loved one, appointed as conservator. We can also guide you in choosing a professional conservator to manage your loved one’s financial needs responsibly for their best interests.
Contact our thorough estate planning lawyers
Zenith Law Group serves clients throughout Washington. Call us at 425-822-6311 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Kirkland office.