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Estate Planning

Preserving your family’s wealth and legacy for future generations
An important element of lifetime planning is developing an estate plan to protect and preserve your estate following death. Whether you are planning for your loved ones, your favored charities, the transition of your family business, the transfer of property located in another state or implementing tax code benefits available under federal and state law, Claudia A. Gowan will assist you with all aspects of estate planning including:

  • Wills and trusts
  • Estate and gift taxation
  • Separate and community property
  • Planning for married and unmarried couples
  • Planning for minor children
  • Making lifetime gifts
  • Charitable giving and philanthropy
  • Special needs planning
  • Family owned businesses
  • Retirement plans & beneficiary designation
  • Powers of attorney and Healthcare Directives
  • Choosing the appropriate executor, trustee or guardian

Securing your legacy
Claudia provides a thorough analysis of your estate planning issues and strategizes with you to identify the best methods for transferring your assets, implementing estate tax safeguards, establishing security for your children, supporting personal philanthropic causes, transitioning your family business and protecting your loved ones. Whether your plan is a simple, straightforward bequest of your assets to your loved ones or a more complex plan that endures for following generations, Claudia will assist you in creating flexibility for your estate plan through the use of wills, available tax code elections; appropriate trusts, for example, a life insurance, personal residence, or charitable trust, or other available tools to meet your personal objectives.

Drafting your documents 
Whether you prefer a will or a revocable trust, a well drafted document is essential. A last will and testament or trust will ensure that your property is distributed to your intended beneficiaries, whether a spouse, domestic partner, your children, friends or a charity. Without a will or trust, the distribution of your property will be determined by state law; and, other decisions may be made by the courts, for example, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet – solutions that might not reflect your own desires.   Powers of attorney are essential to name and authorize your desired representative to act for you in the event that you are incapacitated or disabled. Under Washington law, a parent may name an attorney-in-fact to make healthcare decisions for a minor child in the event that the parent is unable to make such decisions. Powers of attorney may also avoid the necessity of a guardianship and allow you to nominate your own guardian in the event guardianship becomes necessary. A healthcare directive – commonly referred to as a living will – sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated. Powers of attorney and a healthcare directive are essential to assure that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored. Claudia will draft sound legal documents that reflect your wishes and intent.

Changes to your plan
As the law or your life circumstances change, so might your estate plan. You may need to update your documents periodically to keep them current and reflective of your personal objectives. Claudia drafts clear, articulate documents that provide flexibility in the near term and will work with you to update your plan to address changes in your family status, financial situation, business, tax and philanthropic interests, as well as lifestyle considerations.

Appointment of a custodian or guardian for your minor children
If you have minor children, your will or revocable trust allows you to plan for their future care, as well as secure your estate for their benefit. This is particularly important if you are a single parent or in the event that both parents die in a common incident. If you do not name a custodian or guardian for your minor or incapacitated children, the court will appoint a person or fiduciary to serve as custodian or guardian for your children who may make decisions inconsistent with your ultimate parenting goals. In addition, a parent may implement his or her own philosophy regarding application of financial assets for the benefit of his or her children through the use of trusts, educational funds, or other means.  Claudia will help you address these critical issues through well drafted documents and appropriate beneficiary designations that express and support your intent.

Contact Claudia A. Gowan, PLLC.
Call Claudia A. Gowan, PLLC at 206-973-3088 or contact the firm online to schedule your appointment.

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