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Estate Planning for Married Couples

Marriage is a public and legal declaration of love that comes with certain rights and responsibilities. If you created an estate plan when you were single, updating it is crucial. This is particularly important for those marrying later in life or entering a second marriage. Proper estate planning ensures your assets are managed according to your wishes, giving you and your spouse peace of mind.

Many married couples mistakenly believe that they don't need to estate plan because their spouse will handle everything. This is a common misconception, especially in Washington, where estate taxes are imposed on relatively modest estates.  Proper estate planning is essential to preserve the Washington state tax exemption of the first spouse to pass away, making it available for the surviving spouse and effectively doubling the exemption. Additionally, assets can be strategically removed from the estate before death, potentially avoiding estate taxes altogether. However, without proper planning, married couples may find their estates unexpectedly subject to significant taxes.

Washington is a community property state, meaning that without estate planning, the state will make its own assumptions about the separate and community property rights of married couples. This can result in separate property knowingly or unknowingly being converted to community property, or vice versa.  Through estate planning, married couples can ensure that their property is classified according to their wishes and intentions.

Without proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed according to generic state laws. The share awarded to the surviving spouse under these laws may not align with your intentions. Additionally, the way you title your premarital assets and arrange your beneficiary designations could unintentionally alter your spouse's inheritance, potentially leading to legal battles for a grieving spouse.

We can help you and your spouse create a customized estate plan that reflects your unique circumstances and objectives. We also assist in coordinating all aspects of your estate plan, ensuring that you avoid any unpleasant, unintended consequences.

Our goal is to help your family plan for peace. Contact us to see how we can help you plan your estate!

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Wysocki Law will answer your questions about your unique estate plan.  We use creativity and customization to achieve plans that are just what your wedding vows intended.

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