ESTATE PLANNING: Working Closely With Your Attorney And CPA. Supporting You In Your Meetings With Them.
Estate planning is a complex and personal process. It requires careful consideration of one’s objectives, financial and personal situation and a deep understanding of the ever-changing legal and tax landscape. Because of the complexity, Eric J. Linger at Sherwood Investments works closely as a team with you, your attorney and CPA to ensure you receive the most comprehensive and personalized estate planning services possible.
Estate planning is preparing for what will happen to your assets and loved ones after you pass away. It involves creating legal documents that specify your wishes and protect your interests. Estate planning can also help you reduce taxes, avoid probate, and provide for your beneficiaries.
The basics of estate planning in Washington State and other states include:
- Why you need a will
- How to choose a power of attorney
- What is a living trust
- How to deal with estate taxes
Why You Need a Will
A will is a document that states how you want your property and personal belongings to be distributed after your death. It also names a person (called an executor) who will be responsible for carrying out your instructions.
If you die without a will in Washington State and in most states, your estate will be divided according to the state’s intestacy laws. These laws may not reflect your preferences or benefit your heirs. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage, they may not inherit anything from you if you die without a will and leave behind a surviving spouse.
A will can also help you appoint a guardian for your minor children if you die or become incapacitated. This can prevent the state from deciding who will take care of them.
To make a valid will you must sign your will before two witnesses who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries. In Washington State, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to make a will.
How to Choose a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that grants someone else (called an agent) the authority to act on your behalf in certain situations. You can choose what powers you want to give your agent, such as managing your finances, making health care decisions, or selling your property.
Different types of powers of attorney vary in scope and duration. For example, a:
- General power of attorney gives broad authority to your agent until you revoke it or become incapacitated.
- Limited power of attorney gives specific authority to your agent for a particular purpose or period.
- Durable power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated.
- Springing power of attorney becomes effective only when you become incapacitated.
You should choose someone you trust and who understands your wishes as your agent. You should also name an alternate agent if the primary one is unavailable or unwilling to act.
To make a valid power of attorney in Washington State, you must sign it before a notary public or two witnesses unrelated to you or your agent.
What Is a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal entity that holds title to some or all of your assets during. There are many different types, and it may be advantageous to set one up. It can be either revocable or irrevocable. What is best depends on your objectives. Eric will work with you and an attorney to establish a trust fitting your needs and objectives.
Here’s an overview of our approach to estate planning and how we work with your attorney and CPA:
The first step is to understand your situation. We will work with you to evaluate your current financial situation, assets and liabilities, and estate planning goals. This includes identifying your beneficiaries, their needs, and potential estate tax liabilities.
Because the large federal estate tax exemption will disappear in 2025, there is a need to consider your estate plan now.
Coordinating with your attorney and CPA
We will coordinate the work with you, your attorney and CPA to evaluate one of many complex options to save your estate $$ and meet your objectives. We and the team develop strategies to minimize your tax liability and protect your assets.
By coordinating work with your attorney and CPA, we ensure that all parts of your estate plan fit together to achieve your objectives.
Support you in meetings with your attorney and CPA.
Estate planning can be a complex process. We support you through the entire process. We will attend meetings with your attorney and CPA to ensure a coordinated effort in developing an estate plan tailored to your needs and goals. Additionally, we offer information and guidance to help you comprehend the different elements of your estate plan and how they work collectively to safeguard your assets and provide for your loved ones.
Ongoing support and review
Don’t make one of these mistakes. Estate planning is an ongoing and complex process requiring a team of experts. We continue to work closely with you, your attorney and CPA to assure your estate plan is updated to reflect changes in your financial situation, family circumstances and tax laws.
Contact Eric J. Linger today at Sherwood Investments to learn how he can help you create an effective estate plan that provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.