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Should the same person serve as your executor and trustee?

When estate planning, you need to make a number of important decisions. It can take time to come to the right decisions, and in some cases, you may have a difficult time knowing which is right. From the types of planning tools you use to the people you put in charge of your final affairs, you have a lot to consider as you detail your end-of-life wishes.

You may have already decided that your estate plan could benefit from having a trust or multiple trusts. Now, you may wonder who you should put in charge to act as the trustee after your passing. You already know who you want to act as the executor of your overall estate, and it may cross your mind to use the same person as your trustee.

Before you opt for just a will, consider the uses of a trust

As you prepare to start your estate planning journey, you may think that a simple plan will be enough for you. After all, you may live by modest means, and though you have a few significant assets you may want to leave to loved ones, you believe that a will can cover what you need.

Before you decide to create a will and nothing else for your estate plan, you may want to consider other planning tools. For example, you may think that you do not need to create a trust because you do not have considerable wealth, but it is a misconception that trusts are only for affluent individuals.

Discussing important estate planning documents with your parent

As your parent ages, you may have more and more concerns about his or her well-being. While you may not have any problem stepping in and making important decisions on his or her behalf if that time comes, you know that you need legal authority to do so. Though you know that your parent has already done some estate planning, you may not know the details of the plan.

As an adult child, you want to ensure that your parent's affairs are in order and that plans are in place to handle difficult situations in the future, such as if your parent becomes incapacitated by illness or injury. Such a time can be stressful, and you want to make sure that you know what to do.

What will happen to the family business after your divorce?

If you and your spouse are business partners facing divorce, among your major concerns is no doubt the fate of the company.

The business will likely become the focal point of the property division phase of your divorce. Here are three options for you to consider:

Only 18% of older Americans have this estate planning trio

Virtually everyone knows what a will is and how it works, but this understanding has not motivated everyone to actually create one. CNBC reports that only 55% of people over 55 years old have a will. The numbers are likely lower for those who are younger and think a will is not yet necessary.

However, even having a will is not enough. A will can only address some of your end-of-life wishes and protect only some of your assets. You need other estate planning documents to fully safeguard yourself and your family in the event of your incapacitation or death.

Key facts about wills and trusts

Estate plans can be quite beneficial. However, if people do not fully understand the aspects of the tools available to them, they may not garner the full benefit.

While most people are more familiar with wills being a part of proper estate plans, trusts may be more appropriate than wills in certain instances. It is important to understand the facts about both options.

Is legal separation or divorce best for you?

Most people get married believing that they will have a lasting relationship. However, that is not always the outcome.

In certain situations, parties may not be completely ready to enter the divorce process, or they may benefit from other separation methods. There are a few key considerations that may help to determine whether legal separation or divorce is best.

Update your estate plan when you are going through a divorce

A divorce is an all-consuming, emotionally draining event, and if you are ending your marriage, the process likely occupies all your waking hours.

However, you should take some time to consider important related matters, such as the location of the estate plan you filed away years ago and the need to make some changes at this point in your life.

Why you should avoid divorce advice from your friends

Once you realize you cannot move forward in the marriage any longer with your spouse, it is time to proceed with a divorce. As you acquire the necessary paperwork, you will gradually inform your loved ones of what will happen. Chances are good you know plenty of people who have divorced, and they will likely give you advice during this time. 

You need to take any advice given to you by friends with a huge grain of salt. Divorce is different for everyone. They may be familiar with the process, but they do not know you and your spouse. You should only take advice from a legal authority and only rely on your friends for emotional support. 

How trusts offer you more control over your assets

The most familiar estate planning document is the will. It is a necessary component, and it may be sufficient for people who have limited assets. However, for those who have more valuable or complex estates, or who simply want to maintain more control over them, trusts may be more beneficial.

A trust is the transfer of your property or money to a third party (trustee), who manages the asset for the beneficiary until an appointed time. This arrangement comes in many forms, each offering its own advantages.

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Mark A. Brown, P.S.
1325 4th Avenue, Suite 940
Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 206-686-4466
Fax: 206-515-2084
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