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Gig Harbor Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Single parents: Make a solid estate plan to protect your children

One of the biggest fears of single parents is that something will happen to them and they won't be around to raise their children. As horrific as this situation would be, it is actually a thought that can lead to positive action. Single parents need to be sure that they have a comprehensive estate plan.

The primary reason for you to have an estate plan set is so that you can ensure your children will have a good quality of life if something happens to you. There are a few components that you need to think about if you are a single parent. Here are a few to get you started:

Part of handling an estate is paying the decedent's debts

As a country, America has around $13 trillion in debt. People who are 45 to 54 years old have the highest debt average at $134,600. This brings up a point that many people might not think about very often -- the status of debts when a person dies. This can be a difficult thing to handle when you lose a loved one.

There are a few different things to remember about debts of a decedent. If you are charged with handling the estate after your loved one dies, you should make sure that you understand these.

Sound estate planning is important to prevent legal confusion

The more money your estate holds, the more complicated things will be for your heirs after you die, especially if you die without an estate plan. This is why it's essential for individuals who have substantial assets to create a rock-solid plan that will be followed after their deaths.

Estates in Washington that don't have any kind of estate plans associated with them could be substantially diminished in probate proceedings while relatives argue over who gets what. The ongoing, two-year estate battle regarding the late pop musician Prince's estate that's playing out in another state is proof of just how bad things can get.

When families argue: The issue of the contested will

When individuals create a will, they expect that it is going to be followed. In many cases, the estate will go through probate without any issues. There are other instances in which a person who has an interest in the estate will question the will. This might lead to a contested will.

There are only certain situations that can lead to someone challenging a will. It isn't possible for some random person to decide that he or she wants to hold up the distribution of an estate and file a will challenge. Here are some points to know about when a will contest is legal.

A trust-planning checklist for your special needs child

When you have a special needs child, setting up a trust to pay for your child's needs in the event of your death or incapacitation is virtually a necessity. No matter what your financial situation happens to be, a special needs trust can be enormously beneficial for your child.

First, your special needs trust will allow for the disbursement of funds to your child to finance his or her care without affecting your child's eligibility for vital government benefits. Second, even if you're not wealthy, you can finance the trust with a life insurance policy.

Commercial leases require negotiation and attention to detail

A commercial lease is necessary for business owners who don't own a property but need a space to house the business. These leases aren't as simple as residential leases so you must give great attention to the details.

There are several points that you need to remember when you are negotiating and reviewing a commercial lease. Here are a few to get you started:

Are you ready to create your estate plan?

Protecting your estate may take many forms, depending on your particular needs and the goals that you prioritize. However, some pieces of wisdom apply to anyone creating or maintaining an estate plan.

If it's been some time since you revisited your estate plan, or if you're considering making your first plan soon, be sure to take time to research just what tools are available. You may find that you have more options than you realize.

Blended families: Complicated families need estate plans

Blended families, or those with step children, half brothers and sisters, stepmothers and stepfathers, bring two families together as one. The problem with blended families is that many people aren't related to one another. When it comes to estate planning, this can be an issue.

Although blended families outnumber the traditional families in the United States, they're still complicated when it comes to estate planning. Instead of having a natural flow of property from a father to son, for example, there could be a wife, ex-wife, son, stepson or others looking to benefit from a person's passing.

Small business owners need a comprehensive estate plan

As a small business owner, you have poured your adulthood into building your business and growing it. You probably think that you have everything covered when it comes to the business, but there is one thing that you might have missed -- your estate plan.

You aren't going to live forever. You need to have an estate plan that includes the business. This process can range from simply if you are the sole owner of the company to much more complex if you have business partners. Consider these points to determine what you need to do:

Have you reviewed your will lately? If not, do it now

Let's face it -- creating a will isn't something that most people would consider one of their favorite activities. Still, this is important for all adults to do so that they aren't leaving their loved ones without knowing their wishes.

Once you create a will, you can't just shove it in a safe and forget that it exists. You should review your will periodically or when things in your life change. This ensures that the will contains your wishes.

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