Estate Planning Made Easy
Why You Need an Estate Plan
Young people think they need many things—WIFI everywhere, a career they love that is good for people and the planet, friends they can count on, a million Twitter followers, tickets to Burning Man, and more. One thing most young people don’t think they need: an estate plan.
The average middle-class American, as most of us are, has something in common with the aforementioned young people—they too don’t feel an estate plan is something they need.
Both groups… would be wrong. An estate plan is something everyone needs. It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy, middle-class, or struggling financially. It doesn’t matter if you are young, middle-aged, or elderly. Nearly everyone could benefit from having an estate plan in place and a skilled estate planning attorney can help you get there. When you’re wealthy, then of course, you know you need one, but for most Americans who are neither poor, nor rich, but simply living comfortably, you could benefit by having an estate plan in place to help make those important decisions regarding health and assets, in the event that you are unable to make decisions any longer.
Many people think that having a will in place is sufficient, but there are many things a will may not cover, and this is why an estate plan is a great idea. Imagine the scenario in which you suffer a devastating accident and are incapacitated, unable to make decisions about your own healthcare but also unable to make important decisions that affect your family and financials. An estate plan can make the decisions for you, because you have made them all ahead of time—before your accident, illness, or death. Let’s consider another scenario, imagine you are widowed, and you’ve designated in your will that all your assets will go to your son, your only child. But what if your son is only 8 years old? He’s clearly not able to manage those assets at the age of 8 unless he’s some sort of Doogie Howser-esque prodigy. An estate plan can include trusts and define not only how your son’s money is held, but how he receives it, who will be in charge of managing it, etc. Additionally, an estate plan can make all sorts of decisions about how your son will be cared for (who will be his guardian, etc.), beyond just the money matters.
From important medical directives that govern how you will be cared for in an emergency, to powers of attorney, to business succession plans, trusts, and more, an effective, strategic estate plan can really put an end to the guesswork, and ensure that when an unexpected or unavoidable situation occurs, your wishes will be carried out effectively. Whether you live in Tempe, AZ, Tualatin, OR, Boise, ID or any surrounding area, Chris and his team can help you set up a comprehensive estate plan so you can rest assured all is good, no matter what happens.
Medical Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Wills, Health Care Directives
Including: Estate Planning lawyer, Revocable Living Trust located in Federal Way, Tacoma, Auburn, Kent, Lake Tapps, and surrounding areas in the Puget Sound Region.
If you own real estate and you do not have a Revocable Living Trust, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will, you should call me to schedule your free consultation:
Setting up a great estate plan is easy. Read our client reviews.
We help you Protect Your Family Tree
We also have a new video where attorney Christopher A. Benson explains Probate and Estate Planning in 7 minutes. Click the video below to learn more:
5 Reasons Why We Are Your Best Choice:
1. Experience: Over the past 28 years, Mr. Benson has helped over 900 clients with their estate planning needs. Christopher A. Benson is rated as “9.5” by www.avvo.com among all lawyers in the United States. We have worked hard for many years to achieve that level of excellence and we are very proud of our national rating.
2. Great Customer Service: Our clients love working with us. Please look at our Customer Reviews page.
3. The Initial Consultation With Mr. Benson Is FREE! Therefore, it costs you nothing to find out your options and you can do it from the convenience of your home.
4. Convenience: Mr. Benson is admitted to practice law in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Arizona and has office locations in all 4 states. The Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson offers you the option to meet with Mr. Benson in person OR we can handle everything over the telephone so that you never need to leave your house in order to get your plan done.
5. We provide you with a lot of free information and videos so that you can learn about Peace of Mind Estate Planning. Watch the Short Videos below for additional Free Information about the Peace of Mind Planning we provide.
At some point, every person will need and use their estate planning documents. Estate Planning has very little to do with wealth. It is about providing you Peace of Mind knowing that you have taken care of the legal documents to help control the events that occur in everyone’s lifetime.
Please read the rest of this page for Free Information on how to get started. We are here to accomplish your goals and give you Peace of Mind starting today.
As we all know, things change over time and a lot of things improve.
For example, there was a time when cars did not have seat belts. Now, everyone knows that wearing a seat belt while driving in a car is a great idea and can prevent and/or reduce risk of injury.
The same is true concerning estate planning. Having a Will is a good idea. However, a Will by itself does not handle everything that comes up in a person’s life.
Most people also need a medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney HIPAA Health care release, Directive to Physicians and/or a Trust (if you want to avoid a Court Probate and/own real estate and or have a blended family and or a special needs beneficiary).
This is where preparing a complete estate plan comes in. You need all the legal tools because having only one tool won’t do every job. For most people, there is a better way to do things now.
It is easy to get your estate plan completed with our firm (just read our reviews). Give us a call and set up your free initial consultation: (253) 815-6940 x 701.
You have car insurance. Why do you have car insurance?
The answer is that in case your car gets damaged or you or your family get injured in an accident, you have protection for you, your family and your car.
You have home owners insurance. Why do you have home owners insurance?
The answer is that in case something happens to your house, you have protection for you, your family and your home.
You may never need to use your car insurance. You may never need to use your homeowners insurance. But you keep paying for those things month after month, year after year, just in case you need to use it.
However, everyone will need to use their estate plan. At some point, everyone will need to use a Medical Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive or Will or Trust and it is more likely you will need to use a combination of all of above.
Then…shouldn’t you also have a plan in place that You know You will need and use to protect you, your family, and loved ones?
Since you are reading this.You know that You need to get legal documents in place to take control of your life and make things easy to protect your family. Instead of worrying about it, why don’t you take a few minutes and solve it TODAY.
Unlike car and home insurance that you have to keep paying month after month in order to keep your protection, with Peace of Mind Estate Planning, it’s simply a one-time fee and your family is protected for the rest of your life. We make it all simple and easy.
Christopher A. Benson is licensed to practice law in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Arizona. Most of our clients live in “small towns” where access to an experienced estate planning attorney is not available. That is why we offer the option to take care of everything over the telephone and have your documents delivered to you via Federal Express. Of course, the estate planning documents I prepare for you need to be signed in front of a Notary Public and two witnesses who are not family members. Therefore, you would need to arrange for the Notary and the witnesses; however, that is easy to do and you can do it at your convenience.
At the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, we take care of preparation of all the legal documents you need to achieve Peace of Mind and put your estate plan together. Usually, all that is needed is a 30 to 45 minute consultation with you to discuss your current situation, your concerns and goals.
We will prepare the documents to transfer of any real estate that you may own in Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington into your trust. We provide you detailed instructions going forward on how to handle the transfer of titled property such as vehicles and financial accounts.
We set you up for long term success and long term Peace of Mind for You and Your family.
Description- A revocable living trust is a contract that you make with yourself. Typically, you serve 3 different roles: 1. The Settlor/Trustor: the person that creates the trust. 2. The Trustee: the person that manages the trust assets; and 3. The Beneficiary: the people that are entitled to receive gifts or distributions from the trust owned assets.
You control the trust and you have the benefit of the trust owned assets while your are alive.
A trust is actually quite simple. Essentially, you can put everything you own into a trust (with some limited exceptions like retirement plans such as IRA’s and 401K plans). In the case of a living trust, you will typically name yourself as trustee and name the heirs or beneficiaries of your choosing as the successor trustee. Upon your death, the successor trustee can distribute the property as you specified in the trust without the need to go through the probate process.
For example: John Doe owns a house and a car. John Doe creates a living trust and transfers ownership of the house and car into the trust during his life. The house and car are then owned by the John Doe Trust and John Doe is the trustee. John Doe has one daughter, Jane Doe, who he names as the successor trustee. Upon John Doe’s death, Jane Doe takes over as the successor trustee and distributes the house and the car to herself as John Doe directed in the trust.
The Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson takes care of preparation of a complete plan for you that is effective now and takes care of issues that may come up during your life as well in the event of your passing. A trust is simple to set up and we take care of preparing all the documents for your to create the trust and put a Peace of Mind Planning package together for you. A revocable living trust is cheaper in the long run because it can completely avoid the need for the probate process (assuming all creditors are known). In addition, trusts are very difficult to contest and prevent unintentional disinheriting along with other problems associated with joint ownership. If you own property in a different state, a living trust eliminates the need for probate in that state.
A living trust can be instantly transferred to another trustee should anything happen to you (see example above). A living trust is private; it is confidential and is not displayed in public records. A living trust allows you to appoint someone to maintain the trust property for young beneficiaries and minors. There is no need to hire a lawyer again when you want to distribute your estate. Living trusts also provide significant tax benefits.
Setting up the trust requires a fair amount of initial paperwork. However, our firm handles all the documents to prepare it for you. The initial consultation only takes about 30 to 45 minutes for most people. We set your delivery time up for the final documents during your initial meeting and usually only takes us about a week to get everything done. Its simple and fast for you. Setting up the trust also requires a transfer of ownership for all property you want to have in the trust (called “funding”). This sometimes includes titles for real estate, financial accounts etc. However, our firm takes care of the preparation of the deed to transfer real estate and any personal property. We also provide you with direction for transferring title to financial accounts as well. The only real drawback to a trust is that there is no cut-off date for creditors to bring claims against your trust and that you cannot designate a guardian for any minors through a living trust (However, this can be done quite easily in a “pour-over” will that is added to your trust).
Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
Description- Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is the co-ownership of property, either real or personal, between the decedent and another person. Upon the death of the decedent, the co-owner becomes the sole-owner.
Advantages- There is no need to use the probate process to transfer property held in a joint tenancy.
Disadvantages- Property held in a joint tenancy is considered a non-probate asset; however, joint tenancy property is subject to the claims of creditors. In addition, the heir who receives full ownership of property held in a joint tenancy may lose several tax advantages.
Power of Attorney
Description- A power of attorney is a grant by one person to another person to act in their place for a particular purpose. For example, a special power of attorney can be used if you want someone else to be able to sell your house because you will be unavailable to sign sale documents. A durable power of attorney can be much broader an grant another person the authority to maintain and manage your finances and make medical treatment decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.
Advantages- A power of attorney can be tailored to your specific needs and wants with regard to granting another person the authority to act on your behalf.
Disadvantages- A power of attorney alone is an insufficient method of estate planning because the grant of authority in a power of attorney ends with the death of the decedent.