- February 28, 2023
- Posted by: Matthew Luedke
- Category: Probate & Estate Administration
When it comes to estate planning, the best way to avoid probate in Washington State is by setting up revocable and irrevocable living trusts. Trusts are powerful legal tools that can help protect your assets from being taken away in a probate process, while also providing for your family’s future financial security. Trust attorneys can help you craft an effective trust that allows you to direct how and when your assets will be distributed upon death or disability.
With revocable living trusts, you have the flexibility to change the terms of the trust at any time during life, whereas with irrevocable living trusts once they are established they cannot be changed without court approval. Either type of trust offers important advantages when it comes to avoiding probate and ensuring that your wishes are carried out according to plan after your passing.
Estate Planning Rarely Happens on It’s Own
In the ideal circumstance, when someone departs this world, all their material needs and paperwork are handled with such adeptness that they quickly become a distant afterthought. This allows for family to simply grieve without having to worry about any of the administrative tasks associated with passing away.
Estate planning plays an integral role in ensuring that the transfer of money, property, and legacies to future generations is simple and relatively painless. Many individuals want their families to be spared from the complexities and expenses associated with probate court proceedings; hence why they strive for a stress-free, equitable process.
Savvy attorneys will explain that there are various tools available to safeguard your money and property from probate. Establishing a revocable living trust is often seen as one of the more popular choices for dodging probate proceedings entirely. Allow us to explain why this conclusion holds true.
How Does a Trust Help You Avoid Probate?
An irrevocable trust is a powerful tool for estate planning that can help you avoid the probate process and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after death or disability. By establishing an irrevocable trust, you transfer ownership of certain assets out of your name into the trust so they won’t be subject to probate proceedings. This means that when you die, those assets will bypass the lengthy and often expensive probate process and go directly to those whom you have named as beneficiaries in the trust.
For many individuals, the thought of their loved ones having to go through a lengthy and expensive probate process after they pass away is an unpleasant one. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this scenario entirely by setting up a revocable living trust.
Through these legal tools, assets can be securely transferred out of your name into a trust so that when you die or become disabled, those assets will bypass the probate process and go directly to those whom you have named as beneficiaries in the trust. Let’s discuss how revocable living trusts can help you avoid probate proceedings.
What are the Benefits for me and my Family?
When you craft a trust with the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, your assets can remain completely out of probate court. By doing this, not only will you save on expensive court fees but also keep your financial records private so that those named in the trust can enjoy their benefits without disruption or delay.
Although the process of setting up a trust may require slightly more time and money initially than drafting a will, it can be well worth it in the long run. Investing some extra effort upfront to establish a trust will ultimately save you from dealing with probate court down the line.
To ensure a smooth and cost-effective plan that avoids long, emotionally draining disputes is to consult with knowledgeable, dependable professionals. With the right lawyer who will be empathetic towards you and your family while leveraging an effective strategy for all parties involved – it’s possible to attain the peace of mind you desire. Give us a call now so we can discuss how to take those crucial next steps.
Many people are interested in learning how to avoid probate in Washington State, and for good reason, since the costs and outright hassle of the process can be overwhelming. While some estate planning professionals may choose to utilize a single approach, we’d advise you to select the method that best fits your own unique situation. In some cases, a combination of different approaches may be the best fit for your family.
Living Trusts are Commonly Used to Avoid Probate in Washington State
A living trust can be revocable, and this basically means that the person who created it has the ability to end or change it, providing you’re still mentally capable. A living trust is simply a legal instrument that allows for a trustee (who is a person tasked with managing assets as well as making sure they’re properly distributed) to hold all property transferred into the trust (who, by law, is named as the owner) which will benefit its beneficiaries (typically yourself and your spouse). As a concept, any trust can be considered a separate entity which exists for the purpose of holding title to a person’s owned property to oversee the distributions according to the terms of the trust’s legally binding documents.
After you pass away, a trust would transfer assets to anyone you choose as your beneficiaries. When creating this revocable living trust, you would also need to have a will executed on your behalf. The will would state that all of your probate assets, which are assets not transferred into the trust – should now be “poured over” into your newly created trust.
Perhaps the most important part of a revocable living trust is how it can prevent the expenses associated with probate. If you own any out-of-state property for example, there is also a chance you can avoid additional probate proceedings where that property is physically located.
Setting up a revocable trust will come with some level of expense on its own, but the benefits to be had often outweigh proceeding through the probate process and is why we advise you to try and avoid probate in Washington State if at all possible. The costs could be substantial depending on how many assets you own, the complexity of each, as well as their physical location.
There are several other ways we can help you try to avoid the hassles and expenses associated with the probate process. If you’d like to sit down with our Estate Planning Attorneys, we can go over topics such as:
- Joint Ownership and Tenancy in Common
- Community Property Agreements
- Payable-on-Death Designations for Bank Accounts
- Transfer-on-Death Registration for Securities
- Transfer-on-Death Deeds for Real Estate
Probate is often quite complex, so it may not come as a such a surprise that avoiding it is often also complex. When deciding how to go about being prepared to avoid probate in Washington State, it requires thorough deliberation about your personal and financial priorities.
If you have other questions or concerns about how the probate process works or how it can be avoided, we’d advise you to consult with one of our experienced estate planning professionals who will be able to evaluate your family’s situation one-on-one. They will give you multiple options and recommend a strategy that would be the best fit for you and your family.
To get more information or discuss how to avoid probate in Washington State in more detail, please call our offices at (509) 328-2150 or use our contact page to send us a quick message and we’ll follow up to schedule an appointment.
To view the Washington State RCW regarding Probate and Trust Law, please visit this page to get more information. Nolo also has a good resource on avoiding probate in Washington State.