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

    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

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Posts Tagged ‘trusts’

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

Posted by sitlanilaw on January 19, 2010


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 or via e-mail to

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


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

February 10, 2010, 5-7pm at Thinkspace in Redmond, 8201 164th Ave NE
Redmond, Washington 98052.–0


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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…


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 Estate Planning

Posted by sitlanilaw on September 3, 2009

Every now and then I stumble upon interesting article on Estate Planning.  This article at discusses some of the basics on Estate Planning in a way that is both helpful and easy to understand.  While this article is geared towards women it really provides information about Estate Planning that all of us can benefit from.  Not only that, it gives you something to think about before you meet with your attorney to discuss your estate planning needs.  I hope you find this article useful!


Your Go-To Guide to Estate Planning:

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The Pitfalls of Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Posted by sitlanilaw on September 2, 2009

In the current economy, many individuals are considering DIY, or do-it-yourself, Estate Planning.  While this is certainly a way in which an individual can save some money there are certainly some pitfalls associated with drafting your own Estate Planning documents.  Below I will discuss two of the main reasons why DIY Estate Planning is risky.

For one, the legal profession has its peculiarities, nuances and, of course very particular laws that must be followed.  Lawyers are trained to navigate these rules for their clients to ensure that their clients’ needs are met.  In the case of drafting wills, trusts or other Estate Planning documents there are a number of formalities that must be followed to ensure that the document will be respected by the court.  If certain rules or formalities are not met then it is possible that a will or other Estate Planning document could be challenged in court.  If a challenge occurs then it is possible that the Estate and assets will not be distributed as intended.

Of course the formality of drafting documents is only one of the issues.  Another issue deals with objectivity.  For example, when I meet with clients and develop an estate plan I go through a detailed process to determine the Estate Planning needs of my client.  Oftentimes it is through this process that a client and I discover an issue regarding a client’s Estate Plan that the client never considered.  I believe that an attorney’s objectivity and thorough questioning is an important step in the Estate Planning process that the Do-It-Yourselfer may not go through.

The goal with Estate Planning is to ensure that your needs are met, that your family will be provided for in the event of your death, and that, when the process is complete, you not only have a good understanding of the Estate Planning documents that have been put in place, but that through the process you have peace of mind that you have protected your family.

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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What We Can Learn From The Death Of The King Of Pop

Posted by sitlanilaw on June 30, 2009

As a fan, I see the death of Michael Jackson as an unfortunate and tragic event.  It goes without saying that Michael Jackson had quite an impact on our culture and society.  Many of us who grew up in the 80’s can remember attempting a moonwalk or other Jackson-influenced break dancing move when we were young.  Frankly I was surprised at my emotional response to his death because of the connection his life had to my childhood.

As an Estate Planning attorney, I see Michael Jackson’s death as an educational opportunity.  At its very core and from an estate planning perspective this is a case of a single parent passing away with three young children, substantial assets and significant debt.  Certainly for the sake of Michael Jackson’s children I hope he has an appropriate estate plan that provides for his children and other loved ones.

Again, of primary concern are his children.  In Washington state individuals can name a Guardian for their minor children in the event of the death of both parents provided that they have drafted the appropriate estate planning documents.  Michael Jackson was a single parent and it is unclear if he named a Guardian for his children – however Michael Jackson’s mother has been named by the Court to be the children’s temporary Guardian.

The long term care for Michael Jackson’s children is in the hands of the Court.  This should be a clear lesson to all of us.  If you are clear and unambiguous as to who should be named the Guardian of your minor children in your estate planning documents the Court will likely grant your request.  However in the event that you fail to propose a Guardian, the Court, without any instructions from you, will have to decide the individual best suited to care for your minor children.  Unfortunately, this leaves the decision to some degree of chance whereas a well drafted estate plan should provide a parent with piece of mind that their children will be provided for.

Of course, Michael Jackson also has significant assets to pass to his heirs.  I hope that he has a clear and unambiguous estate plan so that his children will be protected.  In Washington State, Trusts, Wills, and other Estate Planning techniques can be used to ensure that the needs of the heirs are met, which will again provide the parent with piece of mind that their children will be cared for.

While sad, the sudden death of Michael Jackson is also quite illustrative of the need to have an Estate Plan in place to ensure that our children and loved ones are cared for in the event of our death or disability.

The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in Washington state with any legal questions.

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Beyond Estate Planning: Green Burials in Washington State

Posted by sitlanilaw on June 15, 2009

Recently I discussed the importance of creating a legacy as part of your estate plan.  This can include leaving an educational legacy for future generations in your family as well as making a donation, either while living or as part of your estate plan, to causes and organizations that share your values.

An extention of legacy planning is what happens to our bodies when we are gone.  Green burials are becoming more popular accross the nation, including here in Washington State.  The attached article discusses Green Burials in Washington State and I will contine to post on this topic from time to time.


Some WA funeral directors thinking green

The Associated Press

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BREMERTON, Wash. There have been few formal green funerals in Kitsap County so far. But some of the county’s funeral directors are thinking green could be an important color in their future.

Dave Cook, owner of Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, told the Kitsap Sun his clients were curious about the subject. So he said it’s time funeral directors start thinking about it, too.

“This is the future,” he said. “It’s going to either make or break them.”

Cook now has woven caskets for clients to look at. He said he also is looking into the idea of a natural burial ground in the county.

Rill’s Life Tribute Center of Port Orchard is onboard with Cook already. It’s preparing a piece of ground at Sunset Lane Cemetery that could handle as many as 20 green burials, possibly for biodegradable caskets without liners. It should be ready in a year.

Its funeral director, Dave Rill, said, “I agree with Dave. We need to be open-minded.”

Currently, Western Washington has only one natural burial ground certified by the national nonprofit Green Burial Council, and there are only 15 in the nation. The Meadow near Ferndale, overseen by Moles Family Funeral Services of Bellingham, opened in March and contains one body.

The greening of the industry already has some funeral directors looking ahead and wondering.

Chris Henrickson, president of Lewis Funeral Chapel of Bremerton, said, “Everybody is kind of tippy-toeing into this. How much money do you want to expend on something that might not take off?”

Henrickson said his company’s two cemeteries in Bremerton and Poulsbo could be expanded to include green sections.

Local funeral homes say they have used biodegradable urns for the better part of a decade. Most say ones made for putting out on the water are popular in the county. Made of a cardboard-like material, they pause at the water’s surface, then sink and degrade.

“We can’t keep enough of these at the funeral home,” Cook said.


“I think it’s because we all live so close to the water, and I think it’s just very important to the residents of this area,” said Dave Rasmussen, funeral director at Tuell-McKee Funeral Home of Bremerton.

Information from: Kitsap Sun,

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