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Estate Planning Archives

What should a parenting plan cover?

Growing old is inevitable, and so is the fact that over time circumstances change. Some Washington residents may find themselves facing physical health issues and others might face cognitive health issues. Regardless of what they are going through, planning for the future, to tackle whatever issues one might face, is essential. There is a lot of uncertainty in the future, but it may be possible to shape it to achieve the goals you want, if you engage in timely estate planning.

Why choose an irrevocable trust?

Even when Washington residents finally accept the importance of timely estate planning to protect their loved one's future, they may become daunted by the complicated estate planning tools available for them to utilize. Between the different types of wills and trusts, drafting estate planning documents can become complicated and overwhelming. But, with a little clarity on what one hopes to achieve through estate planning, it may be possible to choose a correct tool.

Preventing will challenges an important part of estate planning

This Vancouver legal blog has previously discussed some of the benefits of establishing a solid estate plan during one's lifetime to protect the passage of the planner's assets and wealth at the time of their death. Although many problems can be anticipated during the estate planning process it is sometimes very challenging to avoid having one's will challenged once it is to take effect. This post will touch on a few of the strategies an estate planner may employ to reduce the chances of seeing their will challenged, though individuals are asked to speak with their own attorneys to ensure that they have done what they can to solidify their own wishes for their estate planning documents.

A Client's Thanks to New Associate

We want to thank William Gellatly for his kind words to our Associate Attorney, Crystal Lewis, and for allowing us to share them with others. It's always nice to hear when we've done a good job! 

Power of Attorney Pitfalls and Dynamics

  1. A Power of Attorney is a written authorization to an agent to perform specified acts on behalf of a principal.
  2. There are several types of a Power of Attorney. The most common include a General Power of Attorney, a Special Power of Attorney, a Limited Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs, and a Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions.
  3. Most General Power of Attorney forms which you might get in a bookstore or online are effective immediately. It is generally a mistake to give someone a General Power of Attorney effective immediately as that gives someone total power to dispose of your assets at a time when you should be making the decisions regarding your assets.
  4. Under special circumstances such as when you are going to be out of town and cannot attend a real estate sale closing, you might want to give someone a Special Power of Attorney to sign real estate documents or other documents for a limited time.
  5. A Durable Power of Attorney is one that continues in effect even if the person making it, legally known as the principal, later becomes disabled. Most Durable Powers of Attorney become effective upon the later disability of the person making it.
  6. Improper use of a Power of Attorney can cause a headache and can be a trap for the unwary.
  7. Properly used, a Durable Power of Attorney can avoid the necessity of a Guardianship if you later become mentally disabled.
  8. One of the biggest mistakes made in creating a Power of Attorney occurs when a poor choice is made in selecting the person to carry out the Power of Attorney who is called the attorney-in-fact.
  9. If a dishonest, incompetent, or unscrupulous person is picked as an attorney-in-fact, you may become a victim and suffer great financial losses.
  10. We have all read too many stories of older persons being financially exploited or taken advantage of by someone improperly using a Power of Attorney.
  11. In many cases it is wise to appoint a professional fiduciary, or a bank trust department to serve as attorney-in-fact.
  12. Never appoint a person who has filed bankruptcy or who has no assets as your financial attorney-in-fact, even if that person is your son or daughter.
  13. If a person has not managed his or her finances well, it is a risk to appoint that person as your financial attorney-in-fact.
  14. It might be alright to appoint such a person your medical attorney-in-fact but even that might be risky if the person would stand to profit from your estate if you died.
  15. Your Durable Power of Attorney can have Medicare planning provisions.
  16. A Power of Attorney should provide for it being revoked if the attorney-in-fact is your spouse and your spouse files for a divorce.
  17. If you reside in Southwest Washington or in the Portland, Oregon area and would like to consult with an attorney concerning having a Power of Attorney prepared, please visit our website at to contact our law firm for an appointment with attorney Dan Marsh.


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Marsh, Higgins, Beaty & Hatch, P.C.
1112 Daniels Street, Suite 200
Vancouver, WA 98660

Toll Free: 866-678-1372
Phone: 360-450-0993
Fax: 360-694-1758
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