Wills & Probate

Your Questions About Wills and Probate, Answered

If you have yet to put an estate plan in place, you are far from alone. In fact, many people assume that estate plans are only necessary for older individuals or those who have accumulated a substantial amount of financial assets. However, an estate plan is so much more than a list of your assets and the names of the beneficiaries you wish to inherit them—it is a set of documents that address several crucial aspects of your future and legacy, from articulating your healthcare treatment preferences to ensuring that your loved ones will enjoy stable financial support when you are no longer here. When you meet with your Camas estate planning attorney to identify your goals and develop an estate plan that addresses your unique needs, you may also explore strategies to minimize the need for your estate to pass through a legal process known as probate. Whatever the specific circumstances of your situation may be, you can trust that The Vern McCray Law Firm, PLLC, is ready to provide you with time-tested and top-tier legal solutions to keep you, your family, and your legacy shining bright, no matter what the future may hold.

Understanding the Advantages of Putting a Will in Place

When most people hear the term “estate plan,” they may assume that this term is interchangeable with a will. However, it’s important to recognize that a last will and testament is just one document that can be part of a more comprehensive estate plan. As you start to plan for your future, putting a will in place is the best way to ensure that your estate (i.e., your properties, financial assets, and other possessions) is distributed among your beneficiaries according to your vision. When someone passes away “intestate” in Washington, this means that they left no valid will in place to govern the distribution of their estate. In these cases, the court must administer the estate according to state laws, which does not guarantee that your property will be divided up according to your preferences. However, by taking the time to put your wishes in writing (in the form of a last will and testament), you can rest assured that your loved ones will receive the assets you wish to bequeath to them. Moreover, many people who take some time to create a will report feeling more confident and at ease as they think about the future, as they have taken an active role in shaping the future for themselves and their loved ones. When you meet with one of our knowledgeable Camas estate planning attorneys, you can expect that we will listen carefully to your wishes and help you put the necessary legal protections in place to make your vision a reality.

Preparing an Estate for the Washington Probate Process

When someone passes away in Washington, their estate typically moves through a legal process known as probate. Essentially, probate requires a personal representative to oversee the validation of the will, collect and evaluate the estate’s assets, pay off any remaining debts to creditors, pay any applicable tax obligations, and distribute the estate’s remaining assets among the beneficiaries. If the individual who passed away (called the decedent) left a valid will behind, the personal representative will use this document to oversee the administration of the estate and the transfer of assets to the named beneficiaries. However, if the person passed away intestate, the court will use state laws to govern the probate and estate administration process. At The Vern McCray Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that the personal representative often has questions about the probate process. If you need help navigating probate or if someone is contesting the will or challenging its contents, our experienced probate lawyers are ready to guide you toward a fair and peaceful resolution. 

Ensuring a Stable and Lasting Legacy

Although it may never feel like the “right” time to start thinking about an estate plan, taking this step can bring you the peace of mind you need to trust in a bright and stable future for you and your loved ones. Enlisting the guidance and support of a dedicated and caring Camas estate planning lawyer is the best way to take an active role in shaping your future for the better, regardless of the events that life may send your way. If you’re ready to start protecting your loved ones and your legacy, contact our law firm today to arrange a free consultation with us.

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