The Executor Won’t Talk To Me!

The Executor Won’t Talk To Me! You would be shocked to learn how many clients come in to my office simply because a Personal Representative (Executor) in a probate matter fails to communicate with them.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, when it comes to probate matters and avoiding litigation, transparency can be the Executor’s best friend!  Without transparency, the heirs and beneficiaries are left in the dark as to what is going on with their inheritance, and they begin to worry about what the Executor might be doing with all those assets. Well shouldn’t the Executor be bend...
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Inheritance Disputes & Estate Litigation | WA TEDRA Attorney – Ep. 2: How Do I Bring a TEDRA Petition?

Ep. 2: How Do I Bring a TEDRA Petition? This is the second video in my Washington TEDRA Attorney video series. Today's video focuses on what a potential client should do if they think they might have an estate litigation issue that falls under TEDRA. This is a very broad overview of what the first steps are in seeking out counsel, meeting with them, and determining if you have a case. The number one message that I try to convey in this video is, "if you have a potential estate litigation matter in Washington, you really want to speak with an attorney that focuses on TEDRA law." If you have ...
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Can I Get Rid of a Lousy Trustee?

Can I Get Rid of a Lousy Trustee? You would not believe how many calls I get each week from potential clients saying that their trustee is mishandling their trust.  The end question from the potential client is always the same, “Can I get rid of this lousy trustee?” There are primarily three (3) mechanisms through which a trustee can be removed from a trust: (1) if the trust document itself provides a manner of removal, (2) if the trustee has violated his fiduciary duties and/or statutory requirements, and (3) if the trustee agrees to resign as trustee.  Of course, the first item I always ...
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An Estate Plan For My Horses

An Estate Plan For My Horses A lot of my clients are always fascinated to learn that I have a fair amount of experience in the equine industry; yes, that technically makes me a horse lawyer. For a few years I worked as in-house counsel for several companies; one of which was an equine breeding, training, and showing organization in the sport of hunters and jumpers.  What this means is that I can tell you the details and intricacies of a live-foal guarantee, I know how many “doses” are standard in the sale of stallion breeding material, and I can also tell you the best way to create an estate...
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Wait!? You Mean I Don’t Pay the Probate Attorney?

Wait!? You Mean I Don’t Pay the Probate Attorney? Clients are shocked when I tell them they don’t have to pay me for the probate themselves.  Everyone seems to think that executors or family members of an estate are simply stuck floating the bill for the attorney.  Well, in many states, including Washington, they have structured the probate statutes in such a way that the estate itself will pay for the probate attorney; not the executor and/or family! So if the estate pays for your attorney’s fees, then I don’t have to pay you a dime? For the most part, that is true.  However, when a client...
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Inheritance Disputes & Estate Litigation | WA TEDRA Attorney – Ep. 1: What is TEDRA?

Episode 1: What is TEDRA? This is the first episode of a series of videos discussing the legal aspects of Inheritance Disputes and Estate Litigation in Washington State; or, as it is more commonly known in Washington, TEDRA Litigation. This first episode is simply an introduction as to what TEDRA is and when it might apply in certain situations regarding estate administration and/or inheritance disputes. If you have any questions regarding this episode, or if you would like for me to tackle specific issues in future episodes, please be sure to leave a comment in the comment section. Thank y...
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A Good Trust Still Needs a Good (Pour Over) Will

A Good Trust Still Needs a Good (Pour Over) Will I recently met with a client that was very interested in setting up a revocable living trust.  Being thrilled to help a new client set up their estate plan, I went right to work going over all the finer details with him.  At one point, I made mention that one of the benefits of having a living trust is that it really helps to simplify the will.  The look on his face when I mentioned the word “will” was of utter confusion. Then came the question I knew was coming, “I thought the entire point of setting up a revocable living trust is so that you...
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Did You Know Probate Can Sometimes Escape Debt?

Did You Know Probate Can Sometimes Escape Debt? I recently spoke with a potential client that was interested in probating his grandmother’s estate.  He said that he’d been pushing it off though because once he started having her mail forwarded to him, he received a ton off outstanding bills that she owed money on.  He figured that she owed so much to creditors, that it wasn’t worth his time to file the probate action because they would all just end up draining her bank accounts before it would ever reach any of their family. I told him that it is CRITICAL that as soon as a loved one passes a...
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Yes! You Should Really Have a Power of Attorney

Yes! You Should Really Have a Power of Attorney I have a lot of clients that want to talk to me about putting together a will, but that don’t think to ask for a power of attorney. Some of them don’t know what these things are, and some simply do not think they are necessary. I always tell them, “you should really have a power of attorney.” As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t just have one type of power of attorney, you should have two, potentially three. One for your finances, one for your medical needs, and maybe one to designate an individual(s) for your children if you become incapacitated...
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What the Heck is Probate?

Being an attorney, it is surprising to me when someone asks what a probate matter is. However, taking a step back and thinking about it, it makes sense that most people do not know what it is. Most would not have to deal with the probate process until later on in their life; and even then, it usually occurs during a stressful time that they might not remember the legal term for what is happening. To give a brief overview, probate is the legal process in which a Court oversees the disbursement and resolution of a deceased person's financial and personal affairs. Simply put, when someone dies, ...
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