What happens to wealth is more than a legal and tax issue—it’s an emotional one that can challenge any family. Ryan Swanson’s estate planning attorneys are highly experienced with estate-related matters including planning, probate, administration, disputes, and guardianship. Equally important, they understand the impact these matters can have on people’s lives and always take the full picture into account.
In addition to estate beneficiaries and heirs, we represent fiduciaries as petitioners and respondents, and also handle matters related to guardianship. In every situation, our common sense approach helps everyone involved understand their options and make informed decisions.
- Estate Planning
There are at least two good reasons to plan your estate. First, proper estate planning ensures that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes. Second, proper estate planning can minimize or eliminate estate tax upon your death.
To implement our clients’ testamentary wishes and minimize the taxes on their estates, we provide the full range of estate-planning services allowed under federal and state laws, including:
- simple and complex wills
- living trusts, charitable trusts and life insurance trusts
- durable powers of attorney
- living wills or directive to physicians
- special needs trusts
- life insurance planning
- private foundation and supporting organizations
- ESOPs and other retirement plans
- family limited liability companies
- family limited partnerships
- retirement plans and IRAs
- lifetime gifting programs
- asset protection planning
- succession planning
We assist our clients with their estate planning needs regardless of size, from modest asset holdings to estates valued in the millions of dollars. Whatever the size of an estate, we believe strongly in the importance of estate planning, as well as wealth planning for the future. To encourage it, we keep the cost of our services as reasonable as possible.
- Estate Administration
We assist Personal Representatives and Trustees of Revocable Living Trusts to administer the estates of deceased individuals. We provide a full range of estate and trust administration services, and can help you:
- Determine if a probate is necessary or whether a less formal means of administration is possible.
- Collect and verify assets, including filing claims for insurance proceeds and death benefits, and arrange for asset appraisals and valuations.
- Provide required accounting services and maintain banking and investment records.
- Identify, notify and deal with decedent’s creditors.
- Prepare federal and state estate and gift tax returns, the decedent’s final income tax return and the fiduciary income tax returns.
- Oversee the transfer, sale and distribution of the decedent’s assets.
- Close the estate.
In providing these services, we make extensive use of our experienced, highly trained paralegals, whose work is overseen by our lawyers. By employing the use of such paralegals, whose billing rates are lower than our lawyers’ rates, we’re able to hold down client costs while providing high quality legal services. We also do some estate administration work on a fixed fee basis.
Sadly, the death of a family member often leads to disputes among those surviving. Sometimes conflict is the result of poor or no estate planning. Other times, legal intervention is necessary to protect the deceased and his or her legitimate heirs from the terms of a Will induced by fraud or undue influence. Whatever the case, we understand the sometimes unfortunate necessity of estate litigation, and have many years experience advocating on behalf of estates and heirs.
- Trust & Estate Disputes/Litigation
It has been said, “Where there is a Will… there is someone to contest it.” Sadly, the death of a family member often leads to disputes among those surviving. Sometimes conflict is the result of poor or no estate planning. Other times, legal intervention is necessary to protect the deceased and his or her legitimate heirs from the terms of a Will induced by fraud or undue influence. Whatever the case, Ryan Swanson’s Trust & Estate Litigation attorneys understand the sometimes unfortunate necessity of estate litigation, and have many years of experience advocating on behalf of estates and heirs.
Click here for more information on our Trust & Estate Litigation Practice.
- Succession Planning
Our Group advises clients regarding succession strategies with a focus on transferring business ownership to other family members, management groups and third-party purchasers in a tax-effective manner.
- Fiduciary Representation
As part of our practice, we have significant experience representing professional fiduciaries in trust administration and trust litigation, both as plaintiff and defendant. We are also familiar with the 2003 changes to the Washington Uniform Principal and Income Act, and many of our lawyers have lectured to the bar and other professionals on the subject.
Frequently Asked Estate Planning & Probate Questions:
View our answers to frequently asked estate planning questions.