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Trusts Attorneys in Kennewick, Washington

Trusts are a powerful estate planning tool that can hold and manage assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. When set up and funded properly, trusts not only protect your assets but also allow for a seamless transfer of your estate after you pass away.  

Whether you're looking to avoid a lengthy probate process, minimize estate taxes, or ensure that your beneficiaries are taken care of, a trust offers a flexible solution that you can tailor to fit your unique needs and objectives. 

Located in Kennewick, Washington, Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC can help you choose the optimal trust solutions for your estate, ensuring they comply with existing laws and reflect your goals. 

What Is a Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, known as a trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. A trustee can be an individual, such as a friend or family member, or a financial institution, such as a bank or a designated trust company. 

Trusts are commonly used in estate planning to manage and distribute wealth. The person who creates the trust, known as the grantor, transfers assets into the trust and sets out specific instructions on how those assets should be managed and distributed. The trustee must adhere to these instructions and act in the best interest of the designated beneficiary. 

In Washington State, trusts are used for various purposes, including avoiding probate, protecting your estate from taxes, and ensuring that your beneficiaries are cared for according to your direct wishes. Washington State recognizes several types of trusts, and each is designed to fulfill different estate planning goals: 

  • Revocable Living Trusts: These trusts are flexible, allowing the grantor to modify or revoke them at any point during their lifetime. Their primary purposes are to bypass the probate process and to facilitate asset management should the grantor become incapacitated.  

  • Irrevocable Trusts: Unlike revocable trusts, irrevocable cannot modified after their establishment. They provide significant tax advantages and asset protection, which makes them perfect for protecting a grantor's estate against creditors and minimizing estate taxes. 

  • Charitable Trusts: For those interested in leaving a legacy that includes charitable giving, these trusts allow you to leave assets to support charitable organizations and offer unique tax benefits. 

  • Special Needs Trusts: These trusts ensure that beneficiaries with disabilities can receive their inheritance without losing their eligibility for government benefits. 

  • Testamentary Trusts: These are created as part of a will and only take effect upon the grantor's death. Testamentary trusts help manage and distribute assets according to the grantor's wishes. 

Choosing the right trust is a critical decision that depends on your assets, family situation, and estate planning objectives. At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we are here to help you select the best trusts for your estate and make sure your trust is tailored to your specific needs. 

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What's the Difference Between a Trust and a Will?

While both trusts and wills are essential estate planning tools, they serve different purposes and offer varied benefits. The main difference between a trust and a will lies in how and when your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries. 

A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legally binding document that articulates your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children upon your death. It becomes effective only after you pass away and is subject to the probate process, a court-supervised procedure to validate the will and distribute the estate according to its terms. 

A will allows you to:  

  • Designate a guardian for any minor children. 

  • Select an executor to oversee the distribution of your estate. 

  • Assign beneficiaries for designated assets. 

A trust, on the other hand, is a legal tool you create to hold and manage your assets. Trusts are effective during your lifetime, upon death, or under specified conditions such as incapacity.

Trusts offer several benefits, such as: 

  • Avoiding probate, ensuring a smoother transfer of assets upon the grantor's death. 

  • Managing and safeguarding assets while the grantor is alive. 

  • Providing potential tax benefits. 

  • Securing the welfare of minors or beneficiaries with special needs. 

Choosing between a will and a trust, or utilizing both, depends on your unique circumstances, estate objectives, and the needs of your beneficiaries. At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we can help you create the right legal documents for your estate. 

How to Create a Trust in Washington

Creating a trust in Washington State involves several key steps that require careful consideration and legal expertise to ensure the trust is valid and effective. The process typically includes: 

  1. Choose the Type of Trust: Determine what you aim to achieve with the trust. This could be to protect your assets, avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or provide for a loved one with special needs. Based on these goals, select the type of trust that best suits your needs. This could be a revocable living trust, an irrevocable trust, a special needs trust, etc. 

  1. Appoint a Trustee: Choose who will manage the trust. This can be yourself (revocable living trust), an individual such as a family member or friend, or a professional, such as a bank or trust company. Take time to choose carefully, as this person will have control of the trust's assets. 

  1. Identify Your Beneficiaries: Decide who will benefit from the trust. This can include family members, friends, or charitable organizations. 

  1. Draft and Execute the Trust Document: With the help of an experienced attorney, draw up a trust document that outlines how the trust operates, how the assets are managed, and how the assets will be distributed. For the trust to be valid in Washington State, the document must be signed by the grantor in the presence of a notary public. 

  1. Fund the Trust: For the trust to be effective, you must transfer assets into it. This can involve retitling bank accounts, real estate, and other specific assets in the name of the trust. 

At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we specialize in estate planning and trust creation. We can guide you through each step of the process and beyond. 

Benefits of Creating a Trust

Creating a trust in Washington State offers significant advantages. These include: 

  • Probate Avoidance: Trusts allow for a direct transfer of assets to beneficiaries without having to go through a costly and time-consuming probate process. 

  • Privacy: Trusts are not a matter of public records, unlike wills, offering additional privacy for your estate matters. 

  • Control Over Asset Distribution: As the grantor, you can set specific terms for how and when your beneficiaries receive their inheritance, providing protection for minors or those who may not manage an inheritance wisely on their own. 

  • Asset Protection: Trusts are designed to safeguard your estate from creditors, lawsuits, and other vulnerabilities. 

  • Tax Advantages: Certain trusts can minimize estate taxes, maximizing the assets you can pass on to your beneficiaries.

Trusts Attorneys in Kennewick, Washington

At Gierth-Eddy Law Offices PLLC, we understand the importance of your estate planning decisions. Our knowledge of Washington State trust law allows us to offer personalized, strategic advice on creating a trust that meets your goals. Whether you are establishing a new trust or updating an existing one, we provide the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are fulfilled. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs.