Legal Services

Estate Planning:

Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate consists of everything you own: your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate.

Estate planning is making a plan in advance, naming the people or organizations you want to receive the things you own after you die, and taking steps now to make carrying out your plan as easy as possible later. However, good estate planning is much more than that. It should also do the following:

  • include instructions for your care and financial affairs if you become incapacitated before you die
  • include arrangements for disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury, and life insurance to provide for your family at your death
  • provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, incapacity, or death
  • name a guardian for your minor children’s care and inheritance
  • provide for family members with special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits
  • provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need protection from creditors or in the event of divorce
  • minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees, which may include funding assets into a living trust, completing or updating beneficiary designations, or otherwise aligning your assets with your estate plan

Importantly, estate planning is also an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You should review and update your plan as your family and financial circumstances (and the relevant laws) change over your lifetime.


The Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA) came into effect on January 1, 2000 in Washington State, bringing significant changes to the way that dispute resolution procedures are handled for trusts and estates.

If you ever have a dispute regarding a trust or estate that you’re unable to resolve, you could file a TEDRA petition to reach a resolution in a timely and efficient manner without litigation. TEDRA is used to resolve a wide range of disputes relating to wills, trusts, and estates, such as the following:

  • The construction of wills and estates
  • The competency of a decedent at the time of signing a will
  • The validity or existence of a will
  • Claims of a surviving spouse or child who is not provided for in a will
  • Third-party claims against an estate
  • The validity of the transfer of assets prior to death
  • Intestate succession without a will


Probate in Washington State is a court supervised process by which the ownership of property of a deceased person (the decedent) is administered and determined. Probate cases are opened in Superior Courts of each county across Washington State. The purpose of probate proceedings is to allow the decedent’s Personal Representative, also known as an administrator if there is no will, to take possession, protect and preserve a decedent’s property; pay debts, claims and taxes necessary to settle the decedent’s affairs including distributing the decedent’s property to the rightful beneficiaries. Typically a decedent names who their personal representative will be in their Will and that person, typically with the assistance of an attorney, can open a probate case and become officially named as the personal representative. If there is no will, then an administrator may be appointed by the probate court.


Sometimes life takes a turn we don’t anticipate. Any number of health, financial or life circumstances may bring about a situation requiring the administration of another person’s affairs. However, when a situation arises, and there has been no contingency pre-planning, a legal guardian must be established.

Medicaid Planning:

Long-term care can be very expensive and Medicaid is cumbersome and oftentimes confusing. We know how Medicaid works, and by following Medicaid’s rules, we can help create strategies that may allow you to preserve your assets.


A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as a trustor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Trusts are established to provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the trustor, and to save time, reduce paperwork and, in some cases, avoid or reduce inheritance or estate taxes.

Special Needs Trust

Providing for your disabled or chronically ill child, spouse, parent or other beneficiary; the laws governing special needs trusts and their relationship to public benefit regulations are varied and complex. We know how these trusts work and can assist you in creating the right special needs trust for your circumstances.