Estate Planning Tips
Community Property Agreements
If you are married and you want all of your property transferred to your spouse upon your death, you can do so by recording a community property agreement with the Auditor for the county you reside in. Check with your CPA or attorney regarding tax consequences.
You can designate a beneficiary on most financial accounts so that your account does not need to be probated. Instead, the financial institution will automatically transfer your account upon receipt of your death certificate.
In Washington, any real estate you own must be probated. Your interest in the real estate you own must be transferred by an authorized individual – your personal representative. If you and your spouse own real estate together, it is not automatically transferred. It must be probated or transferred by recording your community property agreement.
In order to have your vehicles transferred, your personal representative may obtain forms from the Clerk of the court for the county you reside in or your heirs may obtain the appropriate information from the Auditor for the country you reside in.
Safe Deposit Box
It will help your personal representative and/or heirs if you keep a current list of all your assets and debts in a safe deposit box or other fireproof place.
You may designate beneficiaries for your life insurance or you can designate your estate as beneficiary. If your estate is the beneficiary, then your life insurance would need to be probated if your estate is worth over $100,000.