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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 »

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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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Estate Planning Tips for Childless Couples

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Estate planning can feel like a daunting and complicated process to go through. And while there is the common misconception that couples without children will have an easier time going through this process, the reality is, an estate can be just as complicated or more so for couples without children. If you and your… Read More »

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What is a Third-Party Special Needs Trust and How is it Different From Other Kinds of Trusts?

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

A third-party special needs trust is a useful legal vehicle for caring for an individual with special needs. Anyone with a family member with special needs can benefit by using a special needs trust as part of their estate plan. Below, we explain the use and benefits of third-party special needs trusts. Call a… Read More »

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Can Estate Planning Docs Be Notarized Through Video Technology?

By John Lutgens, Attorney at Law |

Notarizing estate planning documents is an important step to ensure validity and legal enforceability. Unfortunately, laws and institutions requiring notarization are a bit behind the times. While many people across the country have easy access to virtual video-conferencing services such as Zoom and Skype, as well as email and/or fax machines, many state laws… Read More »

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