There is a lot of confusion over whether you need a Will versus a Trust. Normally, the Trusts we are discussing are Revocable Living Trusts - Trusts that can be amended and/or revoked during your lifetime.

Wills work fine for most people. Probate in Washington is not difficult. It's not like California where the fees are based on estate size. Wills work perfectly well and are not necessarily to be avoided solely "to avoid probate."

Trusts work well if there is property is multiple states so you are not probating in several jurisdictions. There is more privacy with a Trust than probating a Will as the Trust documents generally do not become public records like filing the Wills and probate documents at the courthouse. Trusts do not have to be probated - but if you forget to put something into your Trust it might end up in your estate and still subject to probate.

The vast majority of estates (Wills or Trusts) have no estate tax issues - the 2019 federal estate tax exemption amount is now $11,400,000 which, with proper planning, for a married couple could double to $22,800,000. Washington excludes the first $2,193,000 from tax. Washington then has a graduated tax from 10-20% that increases over the first $9 million of the taxable estate.

Trusts do not stop fighting heirs and court battles as Washington has the "Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act" (TEDRA) which allows such estate battles to be brought to court.

The point is, each situation is unique. Give us a call at 253.858.5434 to help sort out what is best for you and your family.