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Berkey & Kooistra
10526 Northeast 68th Street, Suite 200
Lakeview Center, Building A
Kirkland, WA 98033

Telephone: 425-658-5283
Fax: 425-803-3023
Kirkland Law Office Map

Estate Planning

Empowering Washington Families to Plan for the Future

If you have young children, who will care for them if something were to happen to you? Do you know how your estate will be distributed when you pass away? Will your wishes about life sustaining care be followed if you cannot communicate in the future?

Estate planning can answer these questions and give you peace of mind. At the Washington law office of Berkey & Kooistra, we are dedicated to providing affordable, experienced estate planning services for families in the Kirkland area.

Crafting the Right Estate Plan for You

Our lawyers have more than 30 years of estate planning experience. Every client has unique estate planning needs, and we will take the time to listen to you and empower you to achieve your goals.

Putting together the right combination of estate planning documents, we will help you outline your wishes for the future. Based on your situation, we will draft one or more of these estate planning tools for you:

  • Last will : Your will is the primary document that will be used in probate to put your wishes into action. Especially if you have young children, you need a will to establish guardianship for them.
  • Probate: Probate in Washington State is a relatively inexpensive and expeditious proceeding. Questions on probate? Click here .
  • Community property agreements: In Washington State, these agreements in the right situation can reduce burdens on the surviving spouse by providing for a non-probate transfer of property. These agreements are available to married couples and registered domestic partners.
  • Living trusts: As a general rule, we do not recommend living trusts for our clients. We believe that these have been misrepresented and over-sold in Washington State. Living trusts are too costly, complicated, and unnecessary for most residents. Due to the streamlined probate procedure in Washington State, use of a living trust to distribute property upon death is not needed. Sometimes living trusts can make things more complicated, not less, upon a death. Living trusts are "fancy boxes" with rules. They require transfer of all your assets into this box, with the transfer costs which incur transfer and recording costs. Some assets, such as retirement benefits, are very difficult to transfer into a trust. Often clients spend more money while they are living in establishing and funding living trusts then would be spent in a probate of their estate after their death. Living trusts do not protect assets from creditors, which is often a reason cited to us when clients inquire about these arrangements. Full and complete tax planning is easily accomplished outside of living trusts. We are available to review your needs and determine the best "fit" for your estate planning needs. While we do not usually recommend living trusts, we can certainly help you understand and amend your existing living trust if that is your preference.
  • Prenuptial agreements: While we do prepare these agreements when needed, many times all that is necessary for a client is a discussion of Washington State's community property laws, and some basic estate planning documents. We work to give you choices in this area.
  • Durable powers of attorney: You can name the person you want to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to communicate your wishes. This important document can avoid the need for extensive guardianship.
  • Advanced health care directives: This document allows you to outline the life sustaining treatment you want to be given, in the event you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.
  • Tax planning arrangements: Special arrangements such as credit shelter trusts, QTIPS and QDOTS can protect your assets from unnecessary taxes. We can help you make sure that your assets are given to the people you love rather than the government.
  • Special needs trusts: If you have a disabled child or want to provide for someone you care about with a special need, we will help you create a trust to protect the assets you want to be given to that person.

Our firm is truly dedicated to helping families with all of their legal concerns. Estate planning involves some of the most important decisions families can make, and we will give you the information you need to feel confident in those decisions.

We have been empowering clients to plan for the future for more than 30 years. Call 425-658-5283 or contact us online to schedule a free half hour initial consultation at our Kirkland office.