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Last will and testament

What Happens If I Don’t Have A Will?

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

When a person dies without having made a will, all of their property subject to probate will pass according to the applicable state laws of intestate succession. Any property not included in a trust or titled in a way that it would pass to another outside of probate would be dealt with in this… Read More »

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What Are Alternatives to Prison Sentencing in Washington?

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Not every criminal conviction merits a prison sentence. First-time offenders, juvenile offenders, and other defendants with mitigating circumstances are capable of getting their lives back on track and leading productive lives. A prison sentence often does more harm than good, effectively preventing someone from obtaining true rehabilitation and often limiting their employment options in… Read More »

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Pretext Traffic Stops

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Police are meant to pull people over only when they have cause to believe an infraction or crime has been committed, or when they otherwise have specific authority to do so (such as at a designated checkpoint). Many police officers, however, use traffic stops as a pretext to search for something else–a different crime… Read More »

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Mistakes to Avoid if You’re an Executor of an Estate

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Being the executor of an estate is an important role. While some people appoint the family attorney, or an appointment is left up to the court, many people rely on a trusted family member or friend to act as the executor. While it’s gratifying to know that your loved one trusted you with this… Read More »

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Allowable Expenses for a Special Needs Trust

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Special needs trusts (SNTs), also called supplemental needs trusts, can be an exceptionally useful tool for providing supplemental income to a loved one with a disability. An SNT allows you to disburse regular funds to a person without affecting the beneficiary’s eligibility for needs-based governmental programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)…. Read More »

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Top Reasons to Consider a Trust

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Most people are aware of the function of a last will and testament. Your will dictates what happens to your estate after you pass away. Many people believe that that’s the extent of any estate planning they’ll ever need. However, there are many other estate planning tools that many more people can benefit from,… Read More »

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What Are the Gift Tax Limits in Washington?

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

When your estate is passed on to your beneficiaries, the government takes a cut. This is known as the estate tax (or, less affectionately, the “death tax”). The estate tax is levied when the estate is being passed along in probate. Each state has an estate tax threshold, which manifests as an exemption for… Read More »

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Signs Aging Parents Might Need Help

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

It’s difficult to watch your parents age. At some point, the rosy childhood view of our parents as invincible erodes, and we recognize their mortality. Most people live separately and apart from their parents in late adulthood. We assume our parents are capable of caring for themselves but, at a certain point, they may… Read More »

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Estate Planning for an Art Collector: Including Art and Collectibles in Your Plan

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Estate planning is important for anyone who wants to have a say in what happens to their assets after their passing, as well as for anyone who wants to ensure that the maximum amount of their estate gets distributed without losing value to taxes, creditors, and other parties along the way. While folks with… Read More »

Smiling mixed race family couple meeting real estate agent.

Mistakes to Avoid if You are Named Executor of an Estate in WA

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

When people write a will, they often name a trusted advisor or loved one as executor of their estate. While this may seem like an honor, it’s also a significant responsibility. It’s a job that requires the execution of technical, legal tasks, and failing to adhere to the proper protocol can devalue the estate… Read More »

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