By: Michael Gunning
Share This Post
How to Avoid Probate in Washington State
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.