Estate Law and Probate Articles

Estate Planning with Minor Children

If you are a parent with minor children, it is critical that some basic steps are taken to ensure your children are protected in the event of your passing. While many parents may have the best intentions, unfortunately, a few wrong decisions can be very costly for your children.

One of the most common mistakes our office sees is when a parent names a minor child as the beneficiary of an asset, like a life insurance policy or other financial assets. While the intention in listing the minor child as the beneficiary was to ensure that the inheritance would go directly to the minor child, that unfortunately is not what would end up happening. This is because, in Washington State, a minor child is not competent to receive an inheritance. So, listing the minor child as the beneficiary ends up creating a guardianship proceeding for the inheritance, and many expenses result from this court process. In addition, this court process will remain in place until the child turns 18.

In addition, most parents don't want their child receiving the full amount of their inheritance at the age of 18. In a properly drafted estate plan, we can ensure your children are taken care of, that any inheritance left to them is protected, and you can also control when the inheritance proceeds are distributed to them. Our office can assist you in doing so in one of two ways: either a will with a trust for minors, or a revocable living trust.

Contact our office today at (206) 408-1688 for a free consultation to ensure that you have a proper estate plan in place.

DAL Law Firm is conveniently located in Normandy Park, Washington. We serve clients in Washington cities such as Normandy Park, Des Moines, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Federal Way, Renton, Kent, Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, Kirkland and others throughout King County.


Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document which is prepared now, and gives another person certain powers to act on their behalf for a varied number of purposes. Most commonly, our office provides two different types of Power of Attorneys, one for healthcare purposes and another for financial purposes.

These Power of Attorneys allows our clients to elect someone to make healthcare or financial decisions for them in the event that the client is unable to do so. A Power of Attorney is only valid during one's lifetime. After the person passes away, the Power of Attorney terminates.

While many people may believe that they do not need to worry about a Power of Attorney until a later point in time, that can many times leave to an unfortunate set of circumstances in their future. There can be a number of types of emergency situations that arise and the Power of Attorney could be needed. Having a Power of Attorney, along with your estate plan, will ensure that there is a plan in place if and when it is needed.

If the need for a Power of Attorney arises, and you have not executed one, your relatives or loved ones will have to go to court to open a guardianship to handle your affairs for the period of time that you are incapacitated. This process can be both extensive and costly. Setting up your Power of Attorney is relatively inexpensive, compared to the alternative if you have not executed one.

If you need any assistance with your Power of Attorney, or any estate planning concerns, please contact our office at (206) 408-1688, or by email at: Darcel@dallawfirm.com.


How Does A Revocable Trust Work?

In short, a Revocable Living Trust is a document that you transfer your assets to for you to use during your lifetime, and then is transferred to your beneficiaries when you've passed away. A Revocable Living Trust is used to protect your assets and avoid probate, and our office works with you in ensuring that a Revocable Living Trust is right for you.

In determining whether a Revocable Living Trust is right for you, it is important to understand what a Revocable Living Trust is. In our initial consultation, we will discuss this in more detail, but a brief overview is provided below.

A Revocable Living Trust is created during your lifetime, and you have complete control of the Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust continues to exist after your passing, to allow your Successor Trustee to make the distributions according to your Revocable Living Trust

Our Revocable Living Trust services include:

  • An initial consultation to assess your assets, discuss your wants and needs, explain how a Revocable Living Trust works, and help you decide if a Revocable Living Trust is right for you.
  • Prepare your Revocable Living Trust, which is specifically tailored for you, keeping in mind your wants and needs we discussed in our initial consultation.
  • Unlimited reviews and revisions to ensure your Revocable Living Trust accurately reflects your requests.
  • Execution of your Revocable Living Trust, and we will provide the witnesses and notary
  • To complete your estate plan, we also highly recommend that we prepare and execute Power of Attorneys and other related estate planning documents.

If you do not have an estate plan, or are considering adding a Revocable Living Trust to your estate plan, please give us a call today at (206) 408-1688, or email our office at Darcel@dallawfirm.com. We look forward to being able to assist you with your estate planning needs.


Estate Planning for the New Year

For many clients, the beginning of the New Year means getting their financial affairs in order, and getting around to having their will or trust completed. While most people know how important having a will or trust is, it unfortunately ends up becoming a "back burner" item. Our office is here to help you ensure you have a proper estate plan in place for you and your loved ones.

Our office can help you prepare for the distribution of your assets and property by learning about you and your financial situation. We evaluate a variety of strategies and alternatives for the effective transfer of your assets, including the use of wills and trusts.

We can recommend many useful estate planning tools such as:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Directives
  • Community Property Agreements

Contact our office today at (206) 408-1688 for a consultation to have your estate plan prepared, and to give yourself peace of mind, knowing your estate plan is in place.

"Darcel Lobo was very helpful and helped us complete our estate plan, which we had been putting off for years. I'm so happy we have our wills completed and will certainly go back to her again if we need to."


What is the Probate Process?

At DAL Law Firm, we provide counsel to individuals throughout King County who have questions or concerns about administering the estate of a loved one. We provide every client with a high level of personal service and attention. When you retain our firm to assist you, we will explain the probate process and provide the personal representative with the guidance necessary to execute his or her responsibilities to the estate. As a part of our initial consultation, we will help you decide if a probate is the right process to administer your loved one's estate.

We work with executors, administrators and personal representatives, to complete all the duties required by the probate court to settle the estate. Below is a list of just a few of the matters that our firm can manage for our clients.

  • Preparing and filing an inventory of the assets of the estate
  • Obtaining a valuation on any property in the estate, if necessary
  • Locating and notifying all parties with a potential interest in the estate, including creditors
  • Paying all final debts and taxes of the estate
  • Overseeing the orderly distribution of estate assets per the terms of the Will

We will prepare all the necessary documents to complete the process, and will handle the hearing in court to open the probate, effectively administer the estate and handle any issues that may arise during the probate.

Please contact our office at (206) 408-1688 if you believe you or someone you know may be in need to assistance with a probate.


What Exactly is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is the process of planning for the distribution of one's assets upon their passing. Clients can have a wide array of goals when it comes to creating their estate plan. Contact our office at (206) 408-1688 is you would like to discuss creating your estate plan, or if you would like to discuss any possible revisions to your current estate plan.

Many documents can comprise of one's estate plan, including:

  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Wills
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Health Care Directives
  • Community Property Agreements
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Directive to Control Remains and Burial Instructions

Many clients think that they don't need an estate plan because of their assessment of the size of their assets. Unfortunately, if something happens to you and you don't have a Will, a probate court is going to decide what happens to your assets according to state law, without any consideration given to what your intentions may have been. In addition, having an estate plan is not only about your assets. You also want to ensure your spouse and children are taken care of, and also is very important for you to decide who you want to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.

It's important to remember that an Estate Plan doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, it just has to be done properly and serve your needs. As your needs change over time, you can always update your Estate Plan to ensure your plan continues to serve your needs

Contact our office today at (206) 408-1688 for a consultation to ensure that you have a proper estate plan in place.

DAL Law Firm is conveniently located in Normandy Park, Washington. We serve clients in Washington cities such as Normandy Park, Des Moines, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Federal Way, Renton, Kent, Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, Kirkland and others throughout King County.


What is a Revocable Living Trust?

DAL Law can help you in creating the estate plan which is right for you with a Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is used to protect your assets and avoid probate. Our office works with you in ensuring that a Revocable Living Trust is right for you.

In determining whether a Revocable Living Trust is right for you, it is important to understand what a Revocable Living Trust is. In our initial consultation, we will discuss this in more detail, but a brief overview is provided below.

The largest difference between a Revocable Living Trust and a Will is that a will requires Probate, and a Revocable Living Trust does not. While both a Revocable Living Trust and a Will leave instructions for your loved ones regarding the administration and distribution of your estate, the Revocable Living Trust empowers your Successor Trustee to make such distributions, whereas the Will does not and will require the oversight and approval from a Probate Court.

A Revocable Living Trust is created during your lifetime, and you have complete control of the Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust continues to exist after your passing, to allow your Successor Trustee to make the distributions according to your Revocable Living Trust

Our Revocable Living Trust services include:

  • An initial consultation to assess your assets, discuss your wants and needs, explain how a Revocable Living Trust works, and help you decide if a Revocable Living Trust is right for you.
  • Prepare your Revocable Living Trust, which is specifically tailored for you, keeping in mind your wants and needs we discussed in our initial consultation.
  • Unlimited reviews and revisions to ensure your Revocable Living Trust accurately reflects your requests.
  • Execution of your Revocable Living Trust, and we will provide the witnesses and notary
  • To complete your estate plan, we also highly recommend that we prepare and execute Power of Attorneys and other related estate planning documents.

A Revocable Living Trust can be a very useful tool based on the type of assets, as long as the assets are properly maintained in the Revocable Living Trust. If you do not have an estate plan, or are considering adding a Revocable Living Trust to your estate plan, please give us a call today at (206) 408-1688, or email our office at Darcel@dallawfirm.com. We look forward to being able to assist you with your estate planning needs.


How to Discuss Your Estate Plan with Your Loved Ones

For many clients, they have a difficult time discussing their estate plan with their loved ones. But it is very important that your loved ones are aware that you have an estate plan, as well as where your estate planning documents are located. Attorney Darcel Lobo can work with you to create an estate plan which tailored to your specific needs. Following the steps listed below will help to alleviate any stress for your loved ones after your passing.

1. Meet with an attorney to create your estate plan.

Having an experienced estate planning attorney is essential when creating your estate plan. You want to ensure that the attorney is familiar with the different types of estate planning options available and understands what would be best for you and your family.

2. Ensure your estate plan reflects your wishes and that you've considered any complicated family dynamics.

In our consultations, it is important for the attorney to understand any unique or difficult family dynamics, as it may affect your estate plan. There are numerous situations where a client may wish to leave an inheritance to a loved one, but may want to take additional measures to ensure that the inheritance is protected. It is very important that you discuss this with your attorney at the initial consultation.

3. Keep your estate plan in a safe location that your loved ones can locate.

This can be a big one. Too many times, a client will complete their estate plan, but then keep it somewhere and their loved ones are unsure of where they are, or don't have access to the documents, such as a safe deposit box at a bank. Your attorney can help you plan for the safe keeping of your documents.

4. Ensure your loved ones are aware of your estate plan.

In addition to letting your loved ones know about the location of your estate plan, you also want to ensure that any one you appoint in your estate plan is aware and willing to act in such capacity. For example, who you appoint as your power of attorney, guardian of your minor children, and as executor of your will, all need to know that they have been appointed and you want to be assured that they are willing and able to take on such roles.

If you do not have an estate plan, or are in need of revising your current estate plan, call DAL Law Firm today at (206) 408-1688 to set up an initial consultation with Attorney Darcel Lobo. Our office would be happy to be able to assist you.

"Darcel Lobo helped us get our estate plan in order, which we had been avoiding for years. Working with her made the process very easy and we feel much better knowing that our children are taken care of."


Is Your Estate Plan in Order?

The estate planning you build today could be your final gift to those you love most - proactive execution of final wishes and goals that spare your survivors the time, expense, energy and inconvenience of costly, lengthy probate proceedings or litigation. At DAL Law Firm, we are experienced in the preparation of an effective, thoughtful estate plan, and they can help you with originating and updating any plan that provides for your family's future financial security.

Attorney Darcel Lobo can help you prepare for the distribution of your assets and property by learning as much as she can about your financial situation. We evaluate a variety of strategies and alternatives for effective asset transfer, including the use of wills and trusts.

Attorney Darcel Lobo can recommend a number of useful estate planning tools such as:

  • Wills and living wills
  • Revocable and irrevocable trusts
  • Living trusts
  • Gift, life insurance, special needs and charitable trusts
  • Durable and medical powers of attorney
  • Advance health care directives
  • Community property agreements

Using these and other important estate documents, DAL Law Firm can craft a blend of strategies that provide for your loved ones after you are gone, or in the event you are incapacitated. We listen to you and learn from you, from the very start of our work together. We translate that knowledge to formulation of an estate plan you can be proud of, one that effectively reflects your intentions.

Contact our office today at (206) 408-1688 for a consultation to ensure that you have a proper estate plan in place.

"Darcel Lobo was very helpful and helped us complete our estate plan, which we had been putting off for years. I'm so happy we have our wills completed and will certainly go back to her again if we need to."


Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you are considering marriage or a domestic partnership, and have either been married before or are bringing substantial assets into the relationship, a prenuptial, postnuptial, or cohabitation agreement can give you peace of mind. Such agreement can protect the assets you may have acquired prior to the marriage and can ensure that they remain you separate property. Creating this type of relationship agreement assures you that your assets are protected and is also a step towards creating a financial plan and estate plan for your future. Darcel Lobo has helped many clients with their prenuptial agreements and would be happy to assist you as well.

At the DAL Law Firm, we work with you to ensure that we understand your concerns and that those concerns are addressed with the appropriate agreement. We provide comprehensive counsel to individuals and couples throughout Washington State and would be pleased to represent you. We can answer any questions you may have about a relationship agreement and how it can serve your interests.

We provide advice to clients and prepare agreements for those who are considering marriage or cohabitation and have concerns about asset protection. We will discuss all matters related to the execution of an enforceable prenuptial, postnuptial or other relationship agreement. We will help you identify and characterize your assets, and draft an agreement that clearly sets forth your intent. We will explain the difference between your separate property and community property.

What can be as equally as important, if not more important, is the protection of one's assets if their soon-to-be spouse may have debts. We will help you to minimize the risk of your assets, and will structure the agreement accordingly. All matters will be done with the strictest confidentiality, and your privacy is always protected. For more information, please contact our office.

Contact our office by phone at (206) 408-1688 or by email at Darcel@dallawfirm.com for a confidential consultation regarding a relationship agreement.