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Estate Planning Attorneys in Kennewick, Washington

According to Caring.com, only 32% of Americans have a will, a 6% decline from 2023 and the first decrease in estate planning rates since 2020. The thought of making decisions about your property, healthcare, or children's future may be challenging. But we're here to tell you it doesn't have to be. At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we've committed ourselves to guiding individuals and families through the intricate process of estate planning, helping them find peace of mind and assurance in their plans for the future.  

Our team of experienced attorneys is based in Kennewick and Yakima and serves clients all across Washington State, including Richland and Pasco. With over 75 years of combined experience in estate planning, we can provide comprehensive services that cover every aspect of your estate plan. Our goal is to provide you with a clear path through estate planning, aiming to fulfill your wishes. 

Why Estate Planning Matters

Estate planning is about making crucial decisions concerning your property, children, and healthcare. It involves crafting legal documents that express your wishes and provide directions for distributing your assets after your death. By creating an estate plan, you not only protect your assets but also prevent potential conflicts among family members. 

A key component of estate planning is drafting a will. This legal document outlines how your property should be distributed after your death. It allows you to name beneficiaries and assign an executor responsible for executing your wishes. Without a will, your assets will be distributed per Washington's intestacy laws, which may not align with your preferences. 

Apart from a will, estate planning may also involve setting up a trust. This legal arrangement lets you transfer your assets to a trustee who will manage them on behalf of your beneficiaries. Trusts offer additional benefits like avoiding probate, reducing estate taxes, and safeguarding assets for future generations.

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Importance of Health Care Directives 

Health care directives form an essential part of estate planning. They empower you to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot communicate your wishes. These directives include a health care declaration, also known as a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. 

A health care declaration spells out your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care. It lets you specify whether you'd like to receive life-sustaining treatments under certain conditions or prefer only limited treatments. By clearly stating your wishes in a health care declaration, you can ensure your medical care aligns with your values and beliefs. 

A power of attorney for health care appoints a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're unable to do so. This individual, known as your healthcare agent, will advocate for your preferences and ensure your medical care aligns with your wishes. Choosing a reliable and informed healthcare agent is crucial to safeguarding your interests. 

Protecting Your Children's Future 

If you have minor children, estate planning becomes even more critical. In your estate plan, you can designate a guardian who will take care of your children if you and the other parent are unable to do so. Choosing a guardian is a deeply personal decision that should consider the guardian's values, parenting style, and ability to provide a stable and loving environment. 

In addition to selecting a guardian, you can also establish a trust to manage your children's inheritance. A trust allows you to specify how and when your children will receive their inheritance, ensuring it is used for their benefit and protected from potential mismanagement. By setting up a trust, you can secure your children's future and ensure their financial needs are met. 

Minimizing Estate Taxes 

Estate taxes can significantly reduce your estate's value and impact the inheritance your loved ones receive. In Washington State, the federal estate tax only applies to very wealthy estates worth over $13.61 million (for 2024). However, some states may impose estate and inheritance taxes on smaller estates. 

By partnering with our experienced estate planning attorneys, you can explore strategies to minimize estate taxes and maximize your loved one's inheritance. These strategies may include gifting assets during your lifetime, establishing trusts, or utilizing other tax planning techniques. Our attorneys can offer personalized guidance based on your specific financial situation and goals

Planning for Funeral Expenses 

Funeral expenses can add financial stress to an already emotionally challenging time for your loved ones. Incorporating funeral expenses into your estate plan protects your family from this burden and ensures your final wishes are honored.

Estate Planning
Attorneys Serving
Kennewick, Washington

Estate planning is a critical process that ensures your assets, healthcare, and children's future are well taken care of. At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we're here to guide you through every step, providing the peace of mind that comes with knowing your future is secure. We encourage you to reach out to us today to start planning for tomorrow.