Trusts Attorney in Lynnwood, Washington

When do you recommend a revocable trust?

Seattle, WA estates & probate lawyer Bill Hickman explains the purpose of a revocable trust and under what circumstances he would recommend one.

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Typically, three, I think three or four different situations, a big favorite is if the client has any property outside the state of Washington we would definitely recommend a revocable trust where they would transfer their property not only in Washington but also in that other state into their trust and thereby avoid probate proceedings both in Washington and in the other state. In that case, the trust is a clear winner. Other situations, if the client is overly concerned about privacy, perhaps they’ve got some notoriety of some sort and they would really like to do everything they can to keep their affairs as private as possible. I think another reason is some people just had a bad experience with a probate maybe in another state involving another family member. Things took too long or they just otherwise had a bad experience and they just want to avoid probate like the plague and they come in wanting a revocable trust, well then, we’re certainly happy to accommodate them.

I think the risk there is that, you know, I’ve seen it many times in my career where the client sets up a revocable trust and then at death that trust is not fully funded and then they end up with a probate anyway and sort of defeat the purpose of the trust. One of the things I always look at in counseling clients is how hands on are they? Are they kind of that wants to just do their estate planning documents and put them in a drawer and forget about it or are they going to be checking things regularly, maybe every year to make sure all their documents are in their trust, all their assets are in their trust? Their temperament can have an influence on that as well.

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