Washington Wills Lawyer
Creating & Updating Wills for Clients in Tacoma & Surrounding Areas
A will is one of the most basic and important estate planning documents. It is a legal document that specifies how a person's property and assets will be distributed upon their death. A will can also include instructions for care of minor children, as well as the designation of a guardian. It is not necessary to have a great deal of wealth or property to benefit from having a will. Even individuals with modest assets can benefit from having a will.
At McCarthy Law Office, we have more than 20 years of experience helping clients with their estate planning needs. Our Tacoma wills attorney can assist you with drafting a will that meets all of your needs and goals. We can also help you update an existing will as your circumstances change.
What Can a Will Do?
A will can be used to distribute property and assets in a variety of ways. It can also be used to specify what will happen to a person's property and assets if certain conditions are met.
Here are a few examples of what a will can do:
- It can be used to leave assets to a specific individual or organization, such as a charity
- It can be used to create a trust for a minor child
- It can be used to specify how a person's assets will be split among their children
- It can be used to disinherit a specific person
A will is also the only legal document in which you can name a guardian for your minor children. If you have minor children, this is an important reason to have a will. A will can also be used to name an executor for your estate. This is the person who will be in charge of handling your affairs after your death.
How to Make a Will in Washington State
Washington State has specific requirements for a will to be legally valid. If these requirements are not met, a will may be declared invalid and the estate may be distributed by the state of Washington.
A will in Washington State must meet the following requirements:
- It must be in writing
- It must be signed by the person making the will (the testator) or someone doing so in the testator's name and in their presence
- The signature must be witnessed by at least two competent witnesses who also sign the will
A will can be made in Washington State by a person who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind. A will can be changed or revoked at any time. If you make a new will, your old will is automatically revoked.
A will does not need to be notarized in Washington State. However, a notarized will that is out-of-state is considered a "self-proving will" and can be admitted to probate without the testimony of the witnesses.
Why Do I Need a Will?
Many people assume that if they die without a will, their assets will be distributed to their family as they would have wanted. However, this is not always the case.
Here are a few reasons why you should have a will:
- It ensures that your assets go to the people you want them to go to
- It can help avoid family disputes and legal battles
- It can help reduce the estate tax burden on your family
- It can help your family avoid the long and costly probate process
- It can be used to name a guardian for your minor children
- It can be used to leave money to a charity or organization you support
A will is a simple and affordable way to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your family is taken care of.
How Often Should I Update My Will?
You should review your will every three to five years, especially if there have been any significant changes in your life.
Here are a few examples of when you should update your will:
- You have gotten married or divorced
- You have had a child or adopted a child
- You have moved to a different state
- You have acquired new property or assets
- You have started a new business
- You have had a significant change in your financial situation
- You have had a significant change in your relationship with a family member
If you have only minor changes to make to your will, you can make a codicil. This is a separate legal document that is used to make changes to a will. A codicil must be signed and witnessed just like a will. However, if you have many changes to make, it may be easier to simply create a new will.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?
It is not legally required to have a lawyer assist you with drafting a will. However, it is highly recommended. A will is a legal document that must meet certain requirements to be legally valid.
Here are a few reasons why you should hire a lawyer to help you make a will:
- It ensures that your will is legally valid
- It helps you avoid making mistakes that could lead to a will contest
- It ensures that your will meets all of your needs and goals
- It helps you make sure that your will is properly executed
- It provides you with peace of mind
A lawyer can also help you with other estate planning documents, such as a living will, a durable power of attorney, and a health care directive. These documents can help ensure that your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
Here are a few differences between a will and a trust:
- A will goes into effect after your death, while a trust goes into effect as soon as it is created
- A will can be used to name a guardian for your minor children, while a trust cannot
- A will must go through the probate process, while a trust does not
- A will is a public document, while a trust is not
A will and a trust can be used together as part of a comprehensive estate plan. For example, a will can be used to name a guardian for your minor children, while a trust can be used to leave money to your children and specify when they will receive it.
Experienced & Compassionate Legal Guidance
At McCarthy Law Office, we understand that making a will can be an emotional and challenging process. Our Tacoma wills lawyer can provide you with the compassionate and personalized legal guidance you need.
When you hire us, we will take the time to listen to your needs and goals, and help you create a will that meets all of them. We can also help you update an existing will as your circumstances change.
“I get the impression my situation was not just a legal issue to be dealt with but that he really cared that things turned out for the best.”- Jeff W.
“I would highly recommend this firm for wills and estate documents.”- B Hayes
“His service, follow-up and approach are second to none.”- Charles J.
“Conor was knowledgeable, friendly and prompt. He answered all our questions and explained things thoroughly to make sure we understood.- Jay B.
“I had Conor help with our business operating agreement and then my personal will for my wife and myself. He was very responsive, informative and pleasant to work with. He made our experience easy and quick. I would recommend him to my friends and family. - Johnny M.“Conor McCarthy is an exceptional attorney! Among his many great talents, he will break down complex scenarios to their core issues promptly, avoiding bloated billing. Having worked with numerous attorneys over the years, it is refreshing to find one who wi”- Diogenes X.- Corky G.
I hired Attorney Conor McCarthy in 2016. I had sustained a serious work injury and was having problems communicating and understanding the process with the Washington State Labor and Industries.
Conor McCarthy was a godsend, he completely took control, worked successfully with L&I and ultimately brought my case to the best conclusion for my injury and case. Without hesitation, I highly recommend Attorney Conor McCarthy.Conor McCarthy has been my attorney for years. He is honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable and gets the job done efficiently and effectively. He has handled a variety of issues for my mother and me and we have been more than satisfied with the results. He is easy to talk to. He listens and hears what you are telling him. We have the utmost faith in him and have recommended him to friends and family.- Linda O.