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Trusts Estates And Probate

Washington trusts and estates attorney helping you plan
Whether you are planning for the care and support of loved ones upon your death or struggling with the probate or trust administration process while mourning a loss, Seattle trusts and estates attorney Claudia A. Gowan can help. She has over 20 years of experience assisting with all aspects of trust, estate and probate matters, including:

  • Estate planning
  • Estate tax issues
  • Probate
  • Trust administration
  • Personal representative, trustee and fiduciary duties
  • Probate
  • Probate and will disputes
  • Revocable and irrevocable trusts
  • Beneficiary disputes
  • Guardianship and custodial matters

When devising an estate plan, it is important to consider how best to protect your children, support your loved ones and distribute your assets in a manner that meets your personal objectives, whether for your family’s benefit, charitable causes that are special to you or to establish a legacy to benefit generations following you. Following a death, Claudia will help your designated representatives implement your plan. Washington has one of the most efficient, private and cost effective probate systems, as well as one of the most flexible bodies of trust law, available in the United States.

Probate and trust administration

Claudia represents all types of fiduciaries, from personal representatives to trustees, and will help your representative inventory and value the assets of the estate or trust, make appropriate tax elections, implement valuable creditor protection strategies and settle any legitimate claims. She will assist with the preparation of necessary income or estate tax returns, and distribution of the assets of the estate in accordance with a deceased’s will or trust, or in the event there is no will or trust, in accordance with applicable law. Frequently, the representative handling these matters is grieving the loss of a loved one while administering an estate or trust for the first time. Claudia is sensitive to the concerns of her clients and strives to make what might seem an arduous process straightforward and efficient.

Fiduciary duties

Under Washington law, a personal representative or trustee has a legal and ethical fiduciary duty to manage an estate or trust impartially for the best interests of the beneficiaries. Service in this fiduciary capacity can be daunting because of the necessary administrative and management duties, as well as management of the relationships between beneficiaries and the fiduciary. In representing the fiduciary, Claudia will provide advice and counsel relating to the performance of these duties, interpretation of the relevant documents, tax matters, and the law as it relates to any questions or disputes that may arise during the course of administration of the estate or trust. Claudia represents the following fiduciaries, or in some cases, a beneficiary during the administration process.

  • Administrator of an estate
  • Executor of an estate
  • Trustee of a trust
  • Guardian or other representative of a beneficiary
  • Beneficiary of an estate
  • Beneficiary of a trust

Claudia also serves as a Special Representative to analyze the merits of a proposed resolution to a dispute or modification to the terms of a will or trust on behalf of minor or more remote beneficiaries.

Probate and trust disputes

The stress of a probate or trust dispute can compound the pain of losing a loved one. When disputes arise, Claudia analyzes the applicable issues and advocates for her client’s best interests. She will fully inform you on the issues raised and the available options. Under Washington law, there are a number of dispute resolution options  to resolve the issues, including out of court agreements or mediation, as well as litigation. Claudia will provide advice on the strengths and risks of a position. She will skillfully represent your interests, whether it be through discussion and out of court settlement, mediation or court room proceedings.

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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