Estate Planning

Why should you have an Estate Plan?

  1. Determine what you want to do with your assets during life and after death
    • Provide for self, spouse, children
    • Provide for family members with special needs
    • Benefit charities
  2. Minimize federal and state estate taxes to pass along more assets to heirs
  3. Avoid Family Disputes

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

  1. Possible chaos during period of incapacity.
  2. Spouse and children fighting or trying to determine your wishes.
  3. No pre-determined guardian to care for minor children in the event of disability or death of both parents.
  4. After Death, assets are distributed based on: Intestate succession (default state law):

    Washington Law

    • If married, all community property is distributed to spouse;
    • Separate property: half to spouse, half to children outright or when they reach age of 18;
    • If there is no spouse, all assets are distributed to children outright or when they reach age 18.

    California Law

    • If married, all community property is distributed to spouse
    • Separate Property: If the deceased had only one child, the surviving spouse will receive one-half and the child will receive one-half outright or at age 18. If there is more than one child, the surviving spouse will receive one-third of the separate property, and the children will receive equal shares of the remaining two-thirds outright or at age 18.

Within the context of a carefully crafted estate plan, distribution to spouse and/or children are solely determined by you and not by default state law. Spouses may opt to give all assets to a surviving spouse instead of in different proportion based on whether the property is a community asset or separate property. A trust may be created to receive assets on behalf of the children if age 18 is not an appropriate age for the children to receive the family assets outright.

Chang Law Group PC will assist you to create an estate plan to protect, preserve, and manage your estate while accomplishing your family’s long-term goals. If you have further questions or if you would like to start your estate plan, please contact us by phone at (425) 605-1234 or by email. You can also download our Estate Planning Questionnaires, using Adobe Acrobat, in getting you started.

View Estate Planning Questionnaire (Married) Part 1

View Estate Planning Questionnaire (Married) Part 2

View Estate Planning Questionnaire (Single) Part 1

View Estate Planning Questionnaire (Single) Part 2