Most of my clients are not comfortable losing 30, 40, or 50 percent of their money in one year. Therefore, I have created systems that are designed to help my clients maximize their returns, minimize volatility, and find the safest way to generate inflation-adjusted income for life.
But what if you lost 30, 40, or 50 percent of your estate because you didn’t have proper estate documents? Estate planning requires legal advice that will make sure your estate is going to be distributed the way you would like. If done properly, estate planning can greatly reduce the taxes required upon your death. My clients look to me to coach their financial lives. I don’t give legal advice, but I do refer clients to two local estate planning attorneys who are very good at what they do: Richard Tizzano and John Kenney.
I conducted interviews with them, and I’ll be posting the interviews over a series of blogs published the 4th Wednesday of the month.
JASON PARKER: John, what exactly is estate planning, why is it important, and what are some of the essential documents that everybody should have?
JOHN KENNEY: Estate planning is a method whereby an individual, couple, or family can create a plan or a structure in order to prepare for an eventual or potential incapacity and inevitable death. The idea and the notion behind estate planning is that you want to make sure you decide what happens with yourself, your property, and/or your minor children, rather than having the State decide or the State laws decide. Good estate planning would be something that carries out your plans and wishes, as well as minimizes every tax or cost possible so your family is not unnecessarily burdened with those kinds of taxes and costs. A number of components make up proper estate planning.
JASON: One of the consequences of not having estate documents is you don’t get to decide how your estate is going to be distributed; what happens then? You mentioned the State has a plan?
JOHN: Yes, the State has laws that decide how an individual’s property will be divided and distributed if that person or married couple does not have an estate plan. For example, I recently had a prospective client whose husband had died without a will. So Dad died, Mom is still alive, and Dad has adult children from a prior relationship. The title of the real estate the husband and wife owned did not clearly state whether the wife had a “right of survivorship.” Dad’s adult children could potentially lodge a claim against the home that the husband thought was going to his wife when he died because he did not have a will. These examples come up all the time, but the State has a plan, and it is not always what the person, couple, or family desires.
A WORD OF CAUTION! Estate planning and the laws around this subject are unique to the state in which you live. Because most of the people I serve are here in Washington State, I focused on the issues in Washington State. Obviously if you are reading this outside of Washington State, you should consult with an expert estate planning attorney in your area.
The opinions and information voiced in this material are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult a licensed estate planning attorney BEFORE taking any action.
Luce, Lineberry & Kenney ps
Attorneys at Law
John Kenney, LLM
17791 Fjord Dr NE Suite 154
Poulsbo, WA 98370-8482
Sherrard, McGonagle, Tizzano
Attorneys at Law, Est. 1954
Richard C. Tizzano, PS
19717 Front Street
PO Box 400
Poulsbo, WA 98370