VOTED BEST ATTORNEY
by the readers of three long-established and trusted
local newspapers
Located 4 blocks north of the Island County Courthouse

One NW Front Street

P.O. Box 1617
Coupeville,
Washington 98239-1617
Voice 360-678-4407
Fax 360-678-5166
         We meet personally with all estate planning clients, to determine what documents are needed for each particular client.

         As with everything legal, each person's situation is different; however, a few generalities may be made..............



LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

         Most people require a relatively simple Last Will and Testament which directs how a person's property shall be distributed after death. In some cases, Trusts are incorporated into Wills. (Separate Trusts may be prepared if appropriate to the situation.) A Will is not recorded or made public until after the maker dies. In most cases, it is not recommended to give copies of your Will to anyone. It is good common sense to have a Will, so your family knows what you want done and your last wishes are carried out as you desire.



DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
         Another important estate planning necessity is a Durable Power of Attorney. This document appoints a person who will step into your shoes and make personal decisions and take actions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated or missing and unable to function as usual on a daily basis. This document is vital; without it, someone must start a legal proceeding in Superior Court to be appointed legal guardian of an incapacitated person, which is an expensive and time-consuming process to be avoided, if possible.  In most cases, the existence of a Durable Power of Attorney means guardianship proceedings will be avoided.

        

         At McPherson & McPherson, we combine both financial authority and medical authority in one document, the Durable Power of Attorney, because in the majority of our cases our clients name the same person to handle both of these personal needs. We believe one document better serves the purposes of a Durable Power of Attorney, and also one document is less expensive than multiple documents. However, we will prepare separate financial and separate medical powers of attorney if your situation requires them. 


 

LIVING WILL
         A Living Will is very important, if your intent is that you do not want to be kept alive by artificial means if you would die naturally otherwise. Although many people discuss this subject with a spouse and family members, there can be much confusion and heartache if a person has not signed a Living Will.


         It is not fair to loved ones to be left with highly emotional, agonizing decisions which could have been avoided had the injured or sick person executed a Living Will before he or she became seriously ill.



COMMUNITY PROPERTY AGREEMENT

         A Community Property Agreement is a document unique to the State of Washington.


         This document applies only to a married couple. It converts all property owned by either spouse into community property and states everything owned goes to the other spouse when the first spouse dies. This document is not appropriate for everyone and should not be entered into without legal advice.


         Couples should talk to us before executing a Community Property Agreement, to be sure it is appropriate.


 

LIVING TRUSTS
         We believe Living Trusts are being foisted on people with scare tactics such as, "The State will take all your money if you don't have a Living Trust,'' or "All of your money will go to probate costs," etc.    This is simply not the case in the State of Washington. Most Washington State residents do not need a Living Trust.


         A Living Trust is created in an attempt to avoid probate; however, probate is not something that needs to be avoided in Washington State. Please see the section on Probate.


         Do not execute a Living Trust until you have discussed the matter at McPherson & McPherson. If you have already executed a Living Trust, consider revoking it as soon as possible. Living Trusts require that property be owned by the Trust. Living Trusts must be administered according to State and Federal laws. There are Federal tax considerations. Living Trusts create an entity that must be dealt with by both spouses and their beneficiaries. Living Trusts do not save time or money for survivors.



   CALL(360) 678-4407