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.

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    Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani, PLLC

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    1001 Fourth Avenue
    Suite 3200
    Seattle, WA 98154

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    8201 164th Avenue NE
    Suite 200
    Redmond, WA 98052

    Phone: (206) 267-8777
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Archive for October, 2009

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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The ABC’s of Estate Planning: Power of Attorney

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 22, 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 Power of Attorney and what it does in the context of Estate Planning.  In the coming days I will discuss various other aspects of an Estate Plan including the Living Will or Medical Directive, Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning & the Death Tax.

The Power of Attorney.

A Power of Attorney is a document in which you can name someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.  For Estate Planning purposes there are two different kinds of Powers of Attorney:

General and Durable Power of Attorney:  This is a Power of Attorney that is effective once it is signed by you.  That means that the person you name would be able to use this document immediately after you sign it.  General and Durable Powers of Attorney are often used when there is an immediate need to provide someone with the ability to act on your behalf.

Durable Power of Attorney:  This is a Power of Attorney that is effective when you become incapacitated.  Oftentimes this is referred to as a “springing” power of attorney because the Durable Power of Attorney only “springs” into effect when you are incapacitated.  The Durable Power of Attorney is generally used more frequently in Estate Planning than the General and Durable Power of Attorney because it requires you to be incapacitated to become effective and many individuals prefer to have control of their affairs while they have capacity.

Both the General and Durable Power of Attorney and the Durable Power of Attorney have a Financial and Medical component.  The Financial component allows you to name someone to make financial decisions on your behalf.  For example, if you were incapacitated then the individual named in your Power of Attorney could ensure that your bills were paid.  The Medical component of your Power of Attorney allows you to name someone to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make such decisions.  It is important to understand that the Medical and Financial components of the Power of Attorney can be part of one inclusive document but may be executed as two separate documents.  For example, you could choose one individual to serve on your behalf for Financial matters and someone else to serve on your behalf for Medical issues.

It is also worth noting that a Power of Attorney is often used outside of the context of Estate Planning.  For example, oftentimes a bank will have you execute a Power of Attorney for a particular bank account.  In addition Powers of Attorney can be used for specific transactions when you are out of town or otherwise unavailable.

In the context of Estate Planning, a Power of Attorney can protect you by ensuring that someone you name, and presumably trust, would be able to make decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.  Because of this characteristic some refer to the Power of Attorney as the first line of defense in Estate Planning making it a document that everyone should have.

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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