The Washington Estate Planning Blog

Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani: Helping couples, families, and individuals understand the ins and outs of estate planning in Washington State.

  • Contact Information

    Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani, PLLC

    Seattle Office:
    1001 Fourth Avenue
    Suite 3200
    Seattle, WA 98154

    Redmond Office:
    8201 164th Avenue NE
    Suite 200
    Redmond, WA 98052

    Phone: (206) 267-8777
    Fax: (206) 577-3843

    Email
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Redmond Estate Planning Workshop Wednesday February 10th!

Posted by sitlanilaw on February 8, 2010

Estate Planning Workshop for Business Owners, Financial Professionals and Others.

Join attorney David Ravi Sitlani for an informative workshop covering estate planning in Washington State.

In many cases, an entrepreneur’s business is their primary asset. Because of this fact estate planning is critical in ensuring that a business owner and their family are adequately protected by having the right documents in place.

Even if you are not an entrepreneur or solopreneur, having a current estate plan is still critically important because it allows you to name guardians for your kids and take other steps to protect your family and give yourself peace-of-mind.

Though you may currently have a will, trust, or power-of-attorney, it is important for you to understand your estate planning documents to ensure that they still reflect your wishes and are current with Washington law.

This workshop will begin with an introduction to the basics of Estate Planning including the importance of a Power-Of-Attorney, the difference between a Will and a Trust, and the “default” estate plan….or not planning at all.

We will then discuss more complex issues including:
-The Federal & Washington State Death Tax.
-Planning Beyond the Basics for the Business Owner.

This workshop is intended to be free-flowing and interactive so please come with plenty of questions!

February 10, 2010, 5-7pm at Thinkspace in Redmond, 8201 164th Ave NE
Redmond, Washington 98052.

RSVP either via the Biznik link below or directly with David at drs@sitlanilaw.com.

Biznik:

http://biznik.com/events/estate-planning-workshop-for-business-owners-financial-professionals-and-others–0

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Estate Planning Workshop – Seattle February 3rd & Redmond February 10th.

Posted by sitlanilaw on January 19, 2010

Hello!

I wanted to let you know that I am presenting an Estate Planning workshop on two different dates in February. First on Wednesday February 3rd from 5-7pm at the Mosaic Coffeehouse in Seattle, and second, on Wednesday February 10th from 5-7pm at Thinkspace in Redmond.

The goal of this workshop is to provide information about Estate Planning in Washington State. Please see information below for details.

If you plan to come, feel free to RSVP on either the event link on Biznik.com or via e-mail to drs@sitlanilaw.com.

If this event would be of interest to friends, colleagues or clients, please feel free to pass this message along!

Thanks,
David

Estate Planning Workshop for Business Owners, Financial Professionals and Others.

Join attorney David Ravi Sitlani for an informative workshop covering estate planning in Washington State.

In many cases, an entrepreneur’s business is their primary asset. Because of this fact estate planning is critical in ensuring that a business owner and their family are adequately protected by having the right documents in place.

Even if you are not an entrepreneur or solopreneur, having a current estate plan is still critically important because it allows you to name guardians for your kids and take other steps to protect your family and give yourself peace-of-mind.

Though you may currently have a will, trust, or power-of-attorney, it is important for you to understand your estate planning documents to ensure that they still reflect your wishes and are current with Washington law.

This workshop will begin with an introduction to the basics of Estate Planning including the importance of a Power-Of-Attorney, the difference between a Will and a Trust, and the “default” estate plan….or not planning at all.

We will then discuss more complex issues including:
-The Federal & Washington State Death Tax.
-Planning Beyond the Basics for the Business Owner.

This workshop is intended to be free-flowing and interactive so please come with plenty of questions!

February 3, 2010, 5-7pm at the Mosaic Coffeehouse, 4401 2nd Ave NE
Seattle, Washington 98105

http://biznik.com/events/estate-planning-workshop-for-business-owners-financial-professionals-and-others-

February 10, 2010, 5-7pm at Thinkspace in Redmond, 8201 164th Ave NE
Redmond, Washington 98052.

http://biznik.com/events/estate-planning-workshop-for-business-owners-financial-professionals-and-others–0

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It is 2010…and there is still no Estate Tax…?

Posted by sitlanilaw on January 18, 2010

Congress still has not decided what to do with the estate tax.  Since January 1st, 2010 there has been no federal estate tax.  Because of this fact if one dies during this year their estate would not be subject to the federal estate tax but could be subject to an applicable state estate tax.

Unfortunately this fact did not help some individuals who passed away towards the end of 2009 with taxable estates.  The article below is likely just one example of how Congressional inaction regarding the Estate Tax had a impact on a real couple.

By SUSAN EDELMAN

If Fritz Lohman had only known, he would have waited another 13 hours to kick the bucket.

Lohman, 87, a SoHo real-estate magnate who pioneered the exhibition of gay art, died at home at about 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve after a long illness.

If he had instead passed away after midnight Jan.1, his partner of 48 years could have avoided paying at least $3 million in estate taxes — thanks to Congress letting that levy lapse for 2010.

“He would probably say, ‘Why didn’t they tell me? I could have waited another day,’ ” said Charles Leslie, 76, Lohman’s business and life partner — and the sole beneficiary to his $10 million estate.

“It’s so utterly ludicrous,” Leslie said. “You think you’ve done everything right, taken every precaution, and then by some congressional fiat your life turns upside down.”

“What a difference a day makes — literally,” added Leslie’s estate lawyer, Erica Bell.

Bell and others are shocked that Congress failed by the end of 2009 to extend the “death tax” in 2010 for the richest Americans. The rate is 45 percent of assets beyond the first $3.5 million.

Under current law, the estate tax is gone for one year, but will be reinstated — and raised — in 2011 for beneficiaries of more than $1 million.

“That means, if you have a choice and someone is probably going to die soon, it would be better this year than next,” Bell said. “The joke is, ‘Throw momma from the train.’ ”

She added, “This is not good public policy. There’s something really wrong with a tax law that suggests when it’s good to die.”

But that dilemma tormented another New York family whose wealthy mother was terminally ill in December.

“The family could have put her on aggressive, artificial life support, with tubes and medical devices, until January 1, thereby saving $3 million in federal estate taxes,” a source said. “The family chose the kinder path — letting her die naturally and peacefully.” She didn’t make it to New Year’s Day.

Leslie said his tax bills may force him to sell some of the SoHo commercial properties he and Lohman bought years ago, investments that made them a fortune. The debonair Lohman also ran a high-end interior decorating business.

The couple is best-known for the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation they founded in 1990 and today runs a Wooster Street gallery featuring erotic works by Andy Warhol, Robert Maplethorpe and others.

The bon vivants traveled the world, but Lohman became too sick about seven years ago with diabetes, lung ailments, and arthritis. For the last two years, he was confined to his bed at the couple’s country home in Maryland, where full-time nursing aides cared for him. Leslie spent weekends with him.

Leslie is stoic about the irony of the timing of Lohman’s death.

“You can’t second guess things like that. We do not happen to life — life happens to us.”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/dying_hrs_too_soon_cost_mil_in_taxes_BrrG4ZRdNiP8cWI46Cr2gJ#ixzz0d0C9Mr8X

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Familial Communication in Estate Planning.

Posted by sitlanilaw on December 6, 2009

When I discuss Estate Planning with clients and others I make an effort to emphasize communication to family members on a wide variety of issues.  For example, most parents name Guardians in their Will so that their children will be taken care of in the event the parents are unable to do so.  In this situation, I advise clients to make sure they discuss the responsibility of being named Guardian with the individual they name.

I also emphasize communication when clients name an individual to make decisions on their behalf in the event of their incapacity in a Power-Of-Attorney.  In this situation married individuals typically name their spouse to make decisions on their behalf and name their spouse Attorney-In-Fact…but what about successor Attorneys-In-Fact?  It is also important to communicate to that individual their role and responsibility despite the hope that they will (ideally) not serve.

Lastly when making decisions as to how your estate is distributed it may be important to discuss your choice with the individuals impacted.

There was recently a case decided in Illinois in which a Grandfather decided to disinherit his grandchildren if they married outside of the Grandfather’s religion.  Clearly in this case the Grandfather felt strongly about his religious history and culture and tied the continuation of that religion to his estate disinheriting the grandchildren who married outside of it.  As this issue was litigated, some of his grandchildren clearly did not think this was fair…but what if he had made an effort to communicate his close ties to his religion with his family prior to his death?  Is it possible that by communicating his desire that his family remain connected to his religion then he could have not disinherited his grandchildren?

Of course, it is hard to answer these types of questions – what is important to remember is that communication can often work to forestall conflict not only in the area of Estate Planning…but in life as well!

For more information on the Illinois case described above see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/24/jews-only-inheritance-pla_n_298962.html.

http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2009/September/106982.pdf.

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.


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Another Interesting Article on the Federal Estate Tax

Posted by sitlanilaw on November 16, 2009

While Congress has yet to decide what changes to make, if any, to the Federal Estate Tax commentators from around the country have made their opinions known.  This article discussed some proposals in Congress from both parties and also has a brief discussion on various State Estate taxes:

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/biz/content/business/2009/11/14/biz1115_Liberman.html

 

While we still do not know what Congress is going to do with the Estate Tax there seems to be some inkling that they will do something before the end of the year.  If they fail to act then there will be no Federal estate tax in 2010!

If/when Congress does act I will make sure to post something here.

 

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.

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Insight into Estate Planning – The No Contest Clause

Posted by sitlanilaw on November 9, 2009

When I meet with clients to develop an Estate Plan that meets their distinct needs we discuss many issues that are particular to their goals and concerns.  One issue that could arise is what to do if a client wants to include a provisions that disallows a challenge to a Will or Trust.  These are referred to as “in terrorem” clauses, or No Contest Clauses.

The New York Times article below offers an interesting description of these clauses and how they have been used by prominent individuals such as Michael Jackson and Brooke Astor:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/your-money/estate-planning/29ESTATE.html?_r=1

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.

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Interesting Article on State Estate/Death Taxes

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 31, 2009

Recently it seems that the Wall Street Journal has had a number of articles about the Federal Estate Tax.  Today they posted another article, this time discussing various State Estate Taxes – including our own in Washington State.  You can link to this article, “State Death Taxes Are the Latest Worry”, below:

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125694593227919879.html

 

 

Have a great weekend!

-David

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Estate Planning and Your Online Life

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 29, 2009

In the past I have blogged about what happens to our online identities when we die.  Below is a link to an interesting Time magazine article that further discusses this issue.

How to Manage Your Online Life When You’re Dead

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1916317-1,00.html

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The ABC’s of Estate Planning: The Medical Directive/Living Will

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 28, 2009

 

Recently, I have led workshops educating individuals regarding the basics of Estate Planning and why it is important for individuals to have an Estate Plan.  This series of entries is intended to offer you a summary of the materials presented at those workshops.  Today’s entry will discuss the basics of the Living Will/Medical Directive and what it does in the context of Estate Planning.  The previous entry addressed how the Power of Attorney is an integral part of your Estate Plan and in the coming days I will discuss various other aspects of an Estate Plan including Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning & the Death Tax.

The Living Will or Medical Directive.

When I discuss Medical Directives/Living Wills with clients or at my workshops I often start the conversation by discussing the case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whose family could not agree as to what should be done regarding her medical care, in particular what life sustaining measures should be undertaken by her medical team.

In this context I then explain the importance of the Living Will and Medical Directive as follows:  Once you complete your Living Will/Medical Directive you have made it clear as to what your decisions are regarding what (if any) medical procedures and/or life sustaining measures you want undertaken in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Thus, the Living Will/Medical Directive is a document that instructs your family, healthcare providers and others about your care should you be unable to make decisions on your own, and it is important to note that the Living Will/Medical Directive only becomes effective under circumstances that you outline in the document.

When I meet with clients I try to explain that the decisions they make in their Living Will/Medical Directive are not to be taken lightly and I recommend that they consider their moral, ethical and religious views when selecting the medical directives they wish to have followed and to discuss these decisions with their family.

Together with a Power of Attorney, the Living Will/Medical Directive is a crucial component to your estate plan.

If interested in this topic you can read more at:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/living-wills/HA00014

 

 

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.

 

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The Death of the Estate Tax in 2010?

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 23, 2009

Below is a link for an interesting article explaining what will happen if Congress does not address the Estate Tax.  In summary the federal estate tax credit is currently $3.5 million per individual and thus $7 million for a married couple.  However, this credit, along with the federal estate tax, expires at the end of 2009.  But along with the estate tax something else goes away – the step-up in basis of assets!  This means that while no federal estate taxes would be due upon the death of an individual, an heir to an estate may owe taxes when they sell assets they received as part of their inheritance. Take a look at this article if interested in learning more…

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704224004574489581033118194.html

.

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.

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