Estate Planning

Basic estate planning documents include a will, medical and financial powers of attorney and a health care directive (living will).

With a will you control who inherits your assets. Otherwise, Washington law controls who inherits your assets. A will also allows you to:
  • Control how and when your heirs receive your assets (at death or later in a trust)
  • Choose a person to administer your estate, called a personal representative
  • Choose a guardian for minor children
  • Create a Special Needs Trust for heirs that are disabled and receiving government benefits
Medical and financial powers of attorney are an inexpensive alternative to guardianship. With these documents you appoint a person to make medical and financial decisions for you when you are not able to do so. They can be effective immediately or at disability. A power of attorney terminates upon your death. If you become incapacitated and so not have a power of attorney, a guardian may be appointed by the court to make decisions for you.

A health care directive is a document that notifies health care providers that if you are in a terminal condition or permanent unconscious condition, you refuse life sustaining treatment and you may also refuse nutrition and hydration.

Medicaid Planning - Special consideration should be taken when doing estate planning if there are concerns that either you or your spouse may require long term care, such as a nursing home. If one of the spouses enters a nursing home or receives other costly long term care, certain limited planning techniques can be employed to minimize the economic effect on the well spouse and/or deplete all of an individual's assets.