Frequently Asked Questions

What is power of attorney?

There are a few different types of powers of attorney, but together they establish another person who can make legal, financial, and medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated due to a medical condition or otherwise unable to act on your own behalf. Establishing power of attorney can go a long way to ensuring that your affairs are taken care of in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

How does a court choose an administrator for probate?

At the start of the probate process, the court will accept petitions from the relatives of the deceased. Even if there is a named administrator in the will, that individual will still need to petition the court. In this case, the court will almost always name that person as the administrator of the estate. In the absence of a named administrator in the will, the court will select from an administrator from the people who petition, generally based on whoever has the closest relationship with the deceased.

Will my estate need to go into probate even if I have a will?

Generally, yes, unless you have very few assets. However, with a well-crafted will and/or trust, the probate process is typically pretty straightforward and will place a minimal burden on your loved ones.

How does the court distribute assets in the absence of a will?

If a person dies without a will, their estate is referred to as “intestate.” During probate, the court will work with the selected administrator for their estate to distribute their assets equitably among the deceased’s close relatives and loved ones. Obviously, this can sometimes lead to disputes and is almost always more complicated that an estate with a will.

Who owns the assets in a trust?

In a trust, the original owner of the assets transfers ownership to the trustee, who is responsible for managing the assets on behalf of the person designated as the beneficiary. In a living trust, all three of these can be the same person. But, similarly, the trustee could be a professional or relative of the original owner and/or beneficiary. So while the assets in the trust are legally owned by the trustee, they are only to be used to benefit the beneficiary.

How long does probate usually take?

Probate in Washington state generally takes six to twelve months to complete, although unusually complex or contested estates can sometimes take years.

What is a succession plan?

A succession plan is a strategy for replacing key business leaders when they retire or otherwise move on from the business. A succession plan is especially important when it involves transferring ownership of the business. By creating a comprehensive plan for the transfer of the business, business owners can ensure long-term success even after they leave.

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If you have a legal issue in Spokane County or Eastern Washington, contact Legacy Law Group at (509) 315-8087 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a dedicated attorney.

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