Savor the Simplicity of the Community Property Agreement

As one year comes to an end and another begins, it’s worth taking stock of your estate plan and ponder whether Washington State’s Community Property Agreement is right for you. In all the complexity of the estate plan, the Community Property Agreement is one document in particular that offers simplicity and yet is still a powerful component to an estate plan. It can be drafted on a single page and contain fewer words than this article. And, it provides [...]

Estate Plan Strategy: Tax Deferral with the IRA Stretch

Your Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is special. The beauty of the IRA is that a person does not pay income tax on assets that go into the IRA. The assets are contributed pre-tax and they grow tax-deferred. It is an effective strategy to both save for retirement and to reduce your current taxable income and thus your resulting tax. And, it can also be implemented to provide asset protection as well. Washington law generally provides that qualified retirement [...]

Consider the Professional Fiduciary in Your Estate Plan

I get this question a lot: “Beau, what’s the single most important thing I can do in my estate plan to ensure that my plan is carried out with the least amount of controversy, delay, and cost?” Of course, I always say, “You should always use an attorney to draft quality documents.” However, if my advice ended there, it would make for a rather short and uninformative article. So, what else should you focus on as the second-most important [...]

The Value of Gifting

The concept of gifting is simply that you give something to someone or something for no value in return. That is, the donor gives something worth value to the donee (or the recipient). Its concept is simple but it is one of the most powerful tools utilized as an estate and business planning strategy. Many people believe that gifts are limited in value to $14,000. That figure instead represents the “Annual Exclusion” gift –the maximum amount that may be given [...]


The New Growth Engine An important shift has taken place in this economic cycle. The Federal Reserve(Fed) was finally able to start following through on its projected rate hike path, raising rates twice in just over a three-month period. By doing so, the Fed showed increasing trust that the economy has largely met its dual mandate of 2% inflation and full employment, that the economy is progressively able to stand on its own two feet, and that fiscal policy may [...]

Business Succession Strategy: The Family Farm LLC 

As the center of Washington’s agricultural empire, it is important to recognize the planning opportunities afforded the Washington farmer in the Tri-Cities. This article explores the use of the family farm LLC for business succession planning. The quintessential farmer is land rich and cash poor. And, the farmer recognizes the value of maintaining ownership of the farm in the family. So, how can the farmer best pass along the assets to the farmer’s children? How can he potentially save on [...]

Strategies to Avoid Probate

Few words evoke such strong negative imagery as the term “probate.” For most people, they are not sure exactly what probate entails, but they know they want to avoid it at all cost. Contrary to conventional wisdom (and unlike other states), Washington has a simplified and streamlined probate process. Indeed, it often makes more sense, from a planning perspective, to plan to go through probate than to try to avoid it.  But for the person looking for all options [...]

Asset Protection Strategies

We make money and we want to keep it. But, potential creditors are lurking around every corner. Perhaps it’s a professional malpractice claim. Perhaps it’s a divorce. Perhaps it’s a car accident. Perhaps it’s medical bills. Perhaps it’s a business lawsuit. How can you protect those assets so that your nest egg isn’t cracked? This area of advice is generally considered asset protection strategies, and this article explores some of the most common ways that we can legally engage [...]

What to Keep, What to Throw Out

At least once each year you should sort through the clutter of your financial records. Here are some tips to help you decide which ones should stay and which ones should go. Remember, many of these records can be retained electronically now. Keep: Bank statements and cancelled checks for seven years Brokerage trade confirmation slips and notices of stock splits, mergers and buyouts Home ownership records – including major home improvements – as long as you own the home Current insurance policies; terms and [...]

Retirement Income and Financial Planning for the Retirees

Every plan for retirement is different and every person has different dreams for his or her post-work life. Whatever dream you have for retirement, and whatever passions you wish to pursue, there is one thing that every retirement will have in common. A number to achieve your goal. That number – essentially the cost for your retirement – is one that considers your goals and the lifestyle you wish to lead in retirement. It also factors in expenses like health [...]