Estate Planning

Attorneys at Navigate Law Group have extensive knowledge in creating a tailored estate plan to fit each client’s unique estate planning goals. At Navigate Law Group, our attorneys have experience creating estate plans for clients in both Washington and Oregon, including planning estates subject to estate tax. Creating an estate plan involves identifying the individuals clients wish to serve in important roles such as the personal representative or trustee to administer an estate or trust, the attorney-in-fact to make financial and healthcare decisions in the case of a client’s incapacity, and guardian of a client’s minor child. Estate planning involves balancing the delicate and sometimes competing interest of family members as well as an understanding of several other related areas of law, such as property law, tax law, family law, and business law. 

Our Estate Planning Attorneys Provide High-Quality Services in the Following Areas:

  • Drafting will-based estate plans and explaining the probate process. 
  • Creating living trusts with the goal of probate avoidance. 
  • Assisting clients in planning for incapacity with financial and medical powers of attorney. 
  • Helping clients to select fiduciaries key to the process of administering an estate or trust. 
  • Drafting trusts or trust alternatives for minors inheriting assets.
  • Tax planning to reduce or eliminate estate tax. 
  • Analysis regarding creating income and estate tax-efficient strategies for charitable gifting.

Wills 

A will, also known as a last will & testament, is a legal document designating how you want your estate to be managed after you die, including who should your property, how should your debts and last expenses be handled, who should care for your minor children, and who should have the authority to handle your affairs after your death. The consequences of not having a valid will in place before you die can result in your property going to someone you didn’t intend for, or your children being placed in the care of someone other the people you trust most. A carefully crafted will can ensure that your loved ones and property are cared for after you’re gone.  

Trusts 

It’s in the name – a trust is a legal document that places the authority and duty to manage your property in a trusted individual or organization for the benefit of someone else. Through a trust, you can create a plan where yourself, your loved ones, and/or the charitable causes you care about, can benefit from your success during your lifetime and after you’re gone. Trusts can be simple or very complicated, and can be used for many different purposes, such as long-term wealth planning, tax planning, and probate avoidance. Whether a trust is right for you depends on a variety of circumstances, which is why consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can help you put together an estate plan that helps you achieve your goals.

Powers of attorney 

Through a financial or healthcare power of attorney, you can designate an individual to be authorized to make your financial or healthcare decisions if you are unable to. If you become incapacitated due to illness, injury, or old age, your designated attorney-in-fact will be able to step in and handle your affairs for your benefit while you’re unable to do so yourself. Without a valid power of attorney in place, your loved ones will be forced to go to court to have someone appointed as a guardian or conservator to ensure your financial and healthcare needs are met.

Advance directives 

An advance directive, frequently called a living will, allows you to tell your healthcare providers and loved ones about your end-of-life decisions. Through an advance directive, you have the ability to say whether or not you want your life artificially prolonged if you are no longer able to express that yourself.

Estate Tax Planning 

Estate tax planning is the implementation of various strategies and tools to minimize the impact estate tax can have on your family after you’re gone. The federal government, along with many states, have the authority to impose a tax on your property when you die. Under federal law, the threshold level that your estate must be worth before any estate tax will be imposed is high – your estate can be worth $12.06 million in 2022 before our estate will be subject to estate tax. Frequently, states have a lower threshold amount for when estate tax will apply.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I even need a will?

Even for people with modest-sized estates, having some type of estate planning in place is advisable. In addition to stating who is to receive your assets, your will appoints the person you wish to administer your estate when you pass away. If you die without a will, the state’s default rules govern who is to receive your probate assets, which may not reflect your wishes. It is especially important for people with minor children to have a will because a will states who is to handle inherited assets for a minor child and who you would want as your child’s guardian. Additionally, having a will can save on some expenses of administration and can reduce the possibility of disagreements among beneficiaries of the estate.

Do I need a trust?

The main function of a trust is to avoid probate, which is the court supervised administration of an estate. Generally, if you die with a will (or without a will), your estate may have to go through the probate process before probate assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. Setting up and properly funding a living trust avoids probate, which has the potential of easing the burden and cost of administration. However, an estate plan based around a trust is generally more expensive than a will-based plan and takes more work to maintain.

 

Does my estate have to pay estate taxes when I die?

In Washington, estates worth over approximately $2.2 million are subject to estate tax. In Oregon, estates over $1 million are subject to estate tax. Generally, with married couples, there is no estate tax owing at the first death if the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary of the assets. However, at the death of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse’s entire estate, including inherited assets, is subject to estate tax. Estate tax can be reduced or avoided with proper estate planning.

I can’t recommend this law firm highly enough. I have met each of the team, and have found them to not only be compassionate, but extremely detail-oriented, and very capable and thorough when it comes to communication. You can tell they are extremely passionate about what they do — what a great team.

They definitely earn an easy recommendation from me.

– Bo Clark

Our Estate Planning Attorneys

 

Dainen N. Penta

Dainen N. Penta

Senior Attorney

 Josi R. Howard

Josi R. Howard

Senior Attorney

Estate Planning | Estate & Trust Administration

James C. Howe

James C. Howe

Retired

​Estate Planning | Estate & Trust Administration | Business Law | ​Real Estate

Fair, knowledgeable, & pleasant. This firm can be trusted. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them in the future if I had a need. Give them consideration.

– Brooke Knight

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