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The State Wrote Your Will

(When You Weren’t Looking!)

If you did not write your own will, the state legislators wrote one for you. You can find the statutory disposition of your assets in the Revised Code of Washington at section 11.04.015. The law is too long and cumbersome to print in this short article, but the following are some common reasons people prefer to write their own will. When you write your own will you can:

  • Decide who will receive your property;
  • Choose a guardian for your minor children;
  • Name the person you want to administer your estate after you die;
  • Name alternates in case your first choice for a position is not available;
  • Create a trust to leave property to a child or someone who may not be able to manage property;
  • Eliminate estate taxes through a trust which can save your family from potentially large death taxes;
  • Leave something to a charity or non-relative at your death; or
  • Waive the necessity of a bond that would otherwise have to be paid out of your estate.

If you want to control any of these issues, you will need to write your own will.

An additional method to accomplish all of the above is to create a “living trust.” However, even a living trust does not eliminate the need for a will. If any assets do not get transferred into your living trust while you are living, the assets can be transferred into your trust by your will.

If you intend to make your own choices about these matters, contact your attorney and discuss your wishes.

-DOUGLAS J. ENGEL