Drafting and executing Wills and Trusts can be a complicated and confusing process. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions covering everything you need to know about wills and trusts in Washington state:
What Are Wills and Trusts in Washington?
Many may think these are similar, but there are notable differences between the two and when trying to decide which type you need for a complete Estate Plan, rely on Evergreen Elder Law to help:
Wills: Take effect as soon as your pass away. A Will details how your estate is divided among those you name in the document and you name a Legal Representative to ensure your instructions are carried out through the court system.
Trusts: Take effect once you sign the papers, but you can control the timeframe to deliver property either before, at, or after your death. Your property gets passed on outside of the court system and is directly handled by the Trustee for the Beneficiary.
Why Are Wills and Trusts Important?
If you do not set up a Will or Trust to handle your Estate, you lose control over distributing your property. Your property could even be forfeited to the state under some circumstances. It is a good idea to get the planning done while you are in the correct state of mind. If your mental state declines, you could reach a level of incompetency, resulting in your Power of Attorney or Guardian handling the decision-making. You may not get any say in how your property gets divided up for your family. A Will can also inform your family and the courts of who is to take care of your children and pets should you pass away unexpectedly.
Is a Will or Trust Better For My Family And Friends?
Both are important, but what is even more critical is finding legal counsel to help you set everything up correctly. All Beneficiaries will appreciate you taking the time to get this established because it can become a serious hassle while they are in mourning process after you pass. Below are some things to consider when deciding between a Will or a Trust:
- Trusts avoid probate,
- Wills don’t need active attention once set up,
- Wills require less upfront cost and effort,
- Wills may become public records after you pass, while Trusts remain private.
How Much Does It Cost To Set Up a Will or a Trust In Washington?
The price of these services will vary. It is generally easier to set up Wills and they will, therefore, be less expensive than developing Trusts. Trusts also may need to be funded while you are still alive whereas Wills are set up to spread your current wealth out after you pass.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Wills and Trusts?
Wills are cheaper to create and require supervision of the court system, so you are sure your assets are divided up according to your specific wishes. As well, retitling your assets is something else you won’t have to worry about for your family after you pass with a Will. Requiring the supervision of a court system can often be more time-consuming and since this is a requirement, Wills are also public records, while means anyone can see how your Estate was divided between your family members and acquaintances.
Wills also only take effect after you pass away. Trusts are active as soon as they are created. Your family won’t have to deal with the Probate process and can access their assets immediately. They are more costly and take more time to get set up correctly. Trusts don’t become public record, so you can maintain privacy about how your estate was split.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Setup a Will or A Trust in Washington?
It is wise to hire an attorney to ensure that you have everything correctly in place to make things easier for your family and friends when the time comes to mourn your loss. It can also safeguard your assets from outsiders, such as creditors, from claiming parts of your Estate intended for your loved ones.
What is the 65 Day Rule?
This rule can help Beneficiaries with taxes after creating a Trust. Income from Trusts is often subject to the highest federal income tax rate of 39.6%. The 65 Day rule allows you to reallocate Trust income to help battle the high rate of those taxes.
Further Questions About Which Option May Be Right For You?
If you have further questions about whether a Will or a Trust would be better for you and your unique goals, contact us today for a free consultation. Our compassionate Washington elder law attorneys currently serve clients in Spokane and Tri Cities.