At Cogdill Nichols Rein Wartelle Andrews (CNRWA), our Everett estate planning lawyers provide advice and a variety of estate planning services for individuals and closely held companies. When drafting a will or trust, our attorneys are sensitive to the impact our services will have on our client's emotional and economic well-being. CNRWA has the experience and resources to handle estate planning on behalf of those with large and complex estates, those with special situations, and those with modest estates.
When helping a client create a will or trust fund, we work to achieve a solution that will effectively protect that client's interests to ensure his or her intentions will be carried out. Our Seattle estate attorneys carefully listen to clients and prepare documents, paying extensive attention to detail.
Comprehensive Assistance With Estate Planning And Administration
Our attorneys are prepared to assist local and out-of-state clients with a full range of estate planning services, including:
Drafting And Preparation Of Wills, Property Agreements And Powers Of Attorney
The most common concerns people have when planning for the future can be handled by a will. A will is a must-have for any individual, whether he or she is entering retirement age, or is just starting a family and career. Through a will, community property agreement and power of attorney, you can ensure you have legally sound documents to answer big questions like, "Who will take care of my kids if something happens to me?" and "Who should handle my finances if I can no longer do so for myself?"
Drafting And Preparation Of Trusts
When passing on assets to a beneficiary, you may need to consider how those assets will be managed after they are gifted. Your beneficiary or heir may end up facing significant tax consequences that cut into the wealth you are transferring. Your beneficiary may also need help managing the funds until he or she is able to do so alone (as in cases for minors or adults with disabilities). We can help you with asset preservation concerns as we draft, prepare, review and amend trusts, living trusts and testamentary trusts.
There are several reasons the court would need to appoint a guardian to care for another individual. The person may be a minor whose parents are either unable or unwilling to take care of his or her needs. The person may be an adult with physical or mental impairments that impede his or her ability to make medical or financial decisions. We can help you assign guardianships, whether you are caring for a loved one and need to ensure you have the legal right to make decisions for him or her, or you are concerned about your child's future in the event that something would happen to you.
Establishing Personal Representatives
A personal representative is someone you choose to finalize the affairs of your estate in the event of your death. This person may also sometimes be referred to as an estate executor or estate administrator. He or she will be responsible for collecting assets and debts against the estate, informing creditors, selling property and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries according to the guidelines detailed in estate planning documents. They may also be responsible for pursuing a wrongful death claim if the testator (individual who created the will and estate plan) passed away due to another individual's or organization's negligence.
Business Succession Planning
When you helped to build a business, you need to consider how it will carry on operations in the event you can no longer play a role in its management or ownership. This is true whether the business is family-owned, is a sole proprietorship, or you are a key stakeholder in a partnership or corporation. Through strategic business succession planning, you can ensure your hard work is passed along to the individuals you want to.
Probate And Estate Administration
Estate planning is a fantastic first step to ensuring that an individual's final affairs are carried out according to his or her wishes and beneficiaries' best interests. The estate administration or probate process, however, is where the bulk of the work is done. Personal representatives, executors and administrators have complex responsibilities when finalizing estate affairs. We help these individuals navigate the administration process and resolve any will contests or other disputes that can leave assets or their own personal interests in jeopardy.
While many people draft and prepare estate planning documents, not everyone updates them when income, assets or family structure change. When the details of wills, trusts and other documents are not clearly defined or can be challenged by key stakeholders in an estate, litigation can arise. As experienced litigators and estate planning attorneys, we understand the full scope of issues that can arise in probate litigation, whether it involves a will contest, a trust contest or challenges to the way an estate executor is handling the estate administration process.
Estate Planning For Young People
There is no specific age at which an individual or family should consider establishing secure and thorough estate planning documents. Many young people, in fact, have enough assets or debts to warrant thoughtful planning that keeps the burden of decision-making off of their loved ones' shoulders should they be incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away. We help young individuals and families draft, review and amend wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents to protect themselves and their loved ones for the future.
Establishing Health Care Directives
Health care directives are also known as living wills. These documents describe how you would wish to be treated in certain medical situations. Living wills can express your plan for being kept alive via artificial means or appoint someone to make that decision for you in the event you are incapacitated.
Can I Create My Own Estate Plan?
If you do not have a large estate, you may be considering drafting your own will, health care directive or durable power of attorney. These are documents that every adult should have in place, but we urge you to reconsider creating them alone. Our lawyers have seen difficult situations where a document was missing essential elements, leaving the estate at risk. When self-prepared estate planning documents are deficient in some respect, it is often the case that litigation ensues. It is in your best interests to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can ensure your documents are valid and your interests are protected.
Contact Our Firm For More Information
If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs with one of our attorneys, please contact our Everett office.