Preparing for one’s one death can feel challenging to grabble with, but properly preparing your estate will help your loved ones navigate your passing without the added burden of determining what your wishes would have been.

How and when you prepare your estate may differ based on your age. For example, young parents may create a will to help determine custody of their newborn child. People in their 60’s and 70’s may plan their estate to determine who will get their house and inherit any money they have.

Regardless of when you’re preparing your estate, there are some things you should determine first to help make the process easy.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is more than just creating a will. Estate planning does include what happens to your property and money after you die. But a more in-depth estate plan can include who would have custody of any children under the age of 18 years old, handling your taxes, what you’d like your end of life care to be, if you want your body to be cremated or buried, and what the preferred details of your funeral or memorial service are. [1].

What Should I Do First When Preparing My Estate In Washington State?

The first thing you want to do when creating a will or estate plan is appoint an executor. An executor will be the person executing your wishes after you pass.

Then, if you have young children, you will want to discuss with other adult loved ones who would care for your children if you die. This will ensure your children have a place to go if you die and avoid foster care.

Next, you’ll want to decide what happens to your property. The tools for declaring your wishes are wills and living trusts. Wills are the most common choice, as they are simpler and less expensive [1]. However, living trusts can assign beneficiaries, reduce inheritance taxes, and avoids putting the property through court probate [1].

Another thing you’ll want to do quickly is if you have a long-term partner that you’re not legally married to, a will can also protect them if you die. Legally, spouses have the right to make medical decisions for their partners when they are not able to. A will can give your partner this right and the right to any life insurance money [2]. This is something you might want to address sooner rather than later because of how the law works in regard to unmarried partners.

What Parts Of Estate Planning Can Wait?

Most millennials have thousands of digital assets online from social media accounts to videos. In your estate plan, you can designate a digital executor to run those accounts after you die [2]. While this may be more important to some, in general, this is something you can deal with after you’ve taken care of your children, partner, and property in your estate plan.

How Can I Start Estate Planning In Washington State?

Estate planning is for everyone. You can start estate planning at any time and update your will or living trust if you have any big life changes. The best way to create a clear, concise, and legally upholdable estate plan is by reaching out to the esteemed lawyers at Priest Family Law. Our team can help you create an estate plan that is right for you and your family. A good estate plan will give you and your loved one’s peace of mind.

[1] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo.

[2] Keene, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo.

There has been a tremendous amount of exposure recently to reprehensible behavior on the part of certain policemen. We wholeheartedly denounce this behavior is unacceptable and demand that justice be done. We also believe that these instances are abberations to the professionalism displayed by virtually all law enforcement officials. We long for the day when the ones who committed these terrible acts can be punished and that a new era may dawn where relations between citizens and those charged with protecting them are brought to newer, loftier standards.

Amid the clamor for justice, we want to emphasize that law enforcement professionals play an important role in society and that their job is very difficult. They must make decisions based on observation that might be tainted by awful experiences that they have to face on a regular basis. Therefore, we have written this guide of best practices for citizens so that they might be able to give police officers clear, definitive signals that result in a trouble-free encounter. This, while upholding the rights that citizens have during such encounters.

It’s Not All For Nothing

Some people would argue that there are abusive police that will mistreat or even injure a citizen no matter what they do. Yes, it is possible to run into an abusive police officer, but this is by far the exception to the rule. You are more likely going to be pulled over by an officer who is making their quota and really doesn’t want any trouble. Your first best defense during a routine traffic stop is crystal clear, LIMITED communication with the officer. By clear, we mean that you are helping the officer observe what you want them to see so they don’t have to guess.

Lights, Camera, Action

Most of us become aware that we are being pulled over because we see police lights start to flash in our rear view mirror. Pull over at the nearest safe area you see. Don’t overthink this. Try to find a location as soon as possible. If the officer wants you to go someplace else, they’ll tell you. Understand that you are nervous so try and make all of your motions smooth and as relaxed as possible. You may mentally tell yourself to do everything 20% slower. Once you have stopped the vehicle, turn the vehicle off and put both hand on the steering wheel. Passengers should also make things easier by keeping their hands visible and avoiding any hurried, busy movements.

We have seen drivers advised to apply their emergency brake. This is probably overkill and the extra fiddling around the interior of the vehicle probably is more concerning to the officer than just turning the vehicle off.

Clear, Limited Communication

First thing you need to do is turn off any sound system that’s is going. If this is at night, turn on your dome light as long as the switch is somewhere that you don’t have to reach for. If your smoking, put it out.

Understand that the officer is trained to probe for information in order to reveal more troublesome, hidden activity. Thus, it is possible to talk yourself into trouble rather quickly. So, try these simple answers to common questions asked during traffic stops.

Q: Do you know why I pulled you over?
A: No sir/ma’am, I don’t.

Q: Do you know how fast you were going?
A: No sir/ma’am, I don’t.

Q: Did you know your tail light is out?
A: No sir/ma’am, I didn’t.

Get the idea? Do not admit anything that can be construed as an admission of guilt. Simply answering “No sir.” is sufficient. This is not to say that you should respond curtly or in a surly manner but just answer calmly and succinctly. This is a good rule of thumb for all communications with police officers. Just answer questions. Don’t offer any other conversation. It is easy to provoke unnecessary questioning unless you know exactly what you are doing and have been trained to observe routine police tactics.

Stay in the vehicle unless told otherwise by the police officer. You want the officer to feel they are in control of who is directing thing. Don’t start reaching for your license and registration unless you are asked to.

It is true that you have the right to refuse to answer questions and certain other requests like searching your vehicle. But be sure you know what you’re doing and no how to refuse without aggravating the officer. In general, comply to commands unless you feel they become unreasonable. Even then, an unethical officer may insist and refusing might make things escalate. Better to be exonerated later than sit in a cell for 48 hours while they decide whether or not they can charge you.

Because none of use know when we might be ordered to pull our car over, one way you can help protect yourself is by recording the event via video. If your state allows the use of dash cams, a properly installed dash cam could make a big difference if you need to appear in court and want to dispute any behavior you observed during the stop. Currently, both Canada and the US allow dash cams although there may be restrictions in some states.

However, despite our best efforts, some traffic stops do end up going bad and it is possible to be abused or arrested or both on bad charges. If this has happened to you, you need to call a lawyer that can represent you best. If you feel you were the victim of sexual misconduct, contact your state’s Attorney General as well. While this may not help you during the traffic stop, it can help you get your life back on track should things go wrong.

It’s hard to watch adored parents age. But in order for you to best take care of them in life and in death, creating an estate plan will help.

Some parents are not proactive about estate planning or perhaps you wonder which sibling will be the executor. It’s a good idea to talk with your parents about their estate plan and a good attorney can help.

What Should I Do First When Helping My Parents Estate Plan In Washington State?

Depending on your relationship with your parents, you can start by discussing their wishes and an estate plan in the comfort of their home. Discuss who they’d want as an executor and what they’d like done with their property. You’ll also want to discuss any wishes they have in regards to their funeral. Then, you can reach out to an estate planning lawyer to finalize those wishes.

If you’d like more guidance in initiating this talk, the lawyers at Priest Family Law can provide you with tips and resources to guide the conversation and show you what you need to create an estate plan.

Does An Estate Plan Help With End Of Life Care Wishes In Washington State?

Many people think of a will or estate plan exclusively as tools to disperse money and property, but in fact, they can be much more. Estate plans can give children or unmarried partners the right to make medical decisions for an ailing parent. It can also designate when extraordinary measures should and should not be taken.

If your parents have religious wishes for their passing, from being cremated to buried to a mass or memorial service, this can all be designated in a will. This will ultimately make their passing easier, as there are fewer decisions to be made about a funeral and more time to grieve your loved one [1].

If My Parents Have Multiple Children, Who Should Be Executor?

If your parents have more than one child, it is possible to name all children as co-executors. However, every family is different. Some might want to only designate the oldest child or a child that is better with finances. A family discussion may be in order, as being an executor does take some work and some siblings may opt-out.

If your parent is estranged from a child, they may want to exclude them from executing their wishes or receiving any inheritance.

What If My Parents Are Divorced In Washington State?

If your parents are divorced, you’ll want to ask them if they created a will prior to divorcing and if so, if they’ve updated it since. You’ll want to discuss with each parent separately if they want any of their estate to go to their ex-partner, as some states don’t automatically cut off ex-spouses from inheritance. Each parent will also need to designate a new executor and beneficiaries [2].

How Can I Help My Parents Create An Estate Plan In Washington State?

If your parents live in Washington State, create an estate plan will help you execute their wishes after they die. In order to do this smoothly and legally, you’ll want to create an estate plan with the team at Priest Family Law. Our firm has a team of trusted professionals who can help you and your parents feel at ease about their end of life plan. It will give you and your parents comfort to know there is a solid plan in place for the details they care about and their assets.

[1] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo.

[2] Thomas, Aaron. “Thinking Ahead To Estate Planning Changes Due To Divorce.”

When someone is assaulted there are four different levels of assault charges that can be brought against the attacker in Washington State. These charges are designated as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree and assault in the fourth degree.

What Is Assault In The First Degree In Washington State?

In Washington State, a person is guilty of Assault 1 when they set out to inflict great bodily harm [1]. When the attacker uses a firearm, another deadly weapon, or deadly force in the attack to cause serious injury to the victim this qualifies as Assualt 1, which is a class A felony. Assault 1 can also encompass poisoning or exposure or transmitting of a deadly disease [2].

What Is Assault In The Second Degree In Washington State?

Assault in the second degree is a lesser charge compared to Assault 1. A person is guilty of Assault 2 when they intentionally assault another person but recklessly cause serious bodily harm to the victim [3].

Assault 2 also applies to unborn babies. A person would be guilty of Assault 2 if they intentionally cause serious bodily harm to an unborn child by injuring the mother [4].

Assault 2, which is a class B felony, also encompasses harm by torture, strangulation, and suffocating.

What Is Assault In The Third Degree In Washington State?

Assault 3, which is a class C felony, is a broader charge and applies in distinct and varied circumstances regarding many public and private employees of government or transit agencies.

This charge applies when [5]:

  • Someone resists lawful arrest or tries to prevent another from being lawfully detained.
  • Someone assaults a public or private transit operator or driver, security officer, or transit contractor while they are performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of the driver, or security officer of a school district while they are performing their official duties.
  • When, with criminal neglience, bodily harm is caused by a weapon or other instrument.
  • When someone causes bodily harm for an extended period of time that causes excessive, unnecessary suffering and pain.
  • Someone assaults a firefighter or fire department employee while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a law enforcement officer or an employee of a law enforcement agency while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Assault of a licensed nurse, physician or healthcare provider while they are working.
  • Assault of any court officers while they’re performing their job. This includes a judge, bailiff, court manager, court reporter or anyone else performing official court functions. This also applies to anyone in the court, judge’s chambers or jury room at the time of the assault.

What Is Assault In The Fourth Degree In Washington State?

Assault 4 is the lesser of the four assault charges and is considered a gross misdemeanor [6].

In domestic violence cases, the attacker can be charged with Assault 4 if the violence is proven and the attacker pleads guilty. The attacker must have less than two prior adult convictions in the previous 10 years to be charged with Assault 4 [7].

Assault 4 can also encompass some harassment charges.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault in Washington State, or you’re involved in an assault case, contact the lawyers a Priest Criminal Defense right away to help you understand and build your case. Our team has years of experience navigating criminal law in Washington State and winning cases like yours.

[1] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[4] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[5] “RCW 9A.36.031 Assault In The Third Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[6] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[7] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

Imagining your spouse dying feels terrible, but unfortunately, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case the unthinkable happens.

Whether you and your partner are equal income earners or one partner is the bread-winner having a plan can help the living partner navigate an impossible time.

How Can I Protect My Family If My Spouse Dies In Washington State?

If you or your spouse have dependents that rely on you for care and finances, an estate plan can help protect them.

You can use your estate plan to ensure your spouse receives the full property and any inheritance you have. Some states only allow a spouse with no children to inherit one-third to half of the estate, with the rest going to siblings or parents. So if you ever move out of Washington, you’ll want this clearly stated in your wishes [1].

If your family is all on the breadwinner’s health care plan, you may also want to think about a backup plan and how that would be paid for.

You may also want to consider taking out life insurance policies to help supplement any income lost or caring giving responsibilities lost due to the death of a spouse. The money from an insurance policy can help pay for care for young children, pay your mortgage or rent, and help provide some relief financially while grieving.

What Happens If Only One Spouse Is On The Mortgage?

If one spouse purchased your home before getting married and the other spouse was not on the mortgage, you need a plan before that spouse passes. First, you’ll want to designate your spouse as the property’s beneficiary in your estate plan [2]. You’ll also want to check for a due-on-sale clause in the mortgage, which means upon transfer or sale the full remaining mortgage amount is due. You’ll want to consult an attorney to discuss how your spouse can assume the loan on the house if the spouse on the mortgage passes away.

What If My Partner And I Are Not Legally Married?

If you and your partner live together but are not legally married, creating an estate plan will help protect your family. If you do not have a marriage certificate or civil union if one of you dies the other will not be able to make any end of life care decisions nor inherit any property or money [2]. Instead, all of your property will go to your closest living relative.

In addition to creating an estate plan, will, and assigning a power of attorney, unmarried partners should designate beneficiaries on bank accounts.

What If We Have Step Children?

If you and your spouse have any stepchildren, it’s important to know that legally your stepchildren do not have any legal rights to your estate, unless they are legally adopted [4]. If you want any stepchildren to be included in the step-parents will, you’ll need to designate that through gifts designated in your will.

What Should We Do To Create A Plan For Our Family?

If you and your partner currently do not have a plan for if one of you dies, call to set up an appointment with a lawyer at Priest Family Law. Our team has experience creating estate plans that will give you and your spouse peace of mind for you and your family. We understand this can be a hard situation to imagine but we can help guide you through creating an estate plan that protects your family, designates guardians for children, and helps ensure your property and money has the correct beneficiaries.

[1] Keene, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo.

[2] Loftsgordon, Amy. “If I’m Not On The Mortgage, Can The Bank Foreclose After My Spouse Dies?” Nolo.

[3] Randolph, Mary. “Estate Planning For Unmarried Partners.” Nolo.

[4] “Stepchildren And Your Will.”

In the eyes of the law, people have a legal right to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger.

In the legal world, self-defense has been designed to protect people who are attacked by someone else, unprovoked. The victim in this scenario is even allowed to use deadly force in order to protect themselves if the threat they are facing is deadly.

However, the use of force for self-defense can transform into assault if deadly force is used after the aggressor has verbally communicated that they’ve given up or the threat the victim is facing is not deadly [1]. Any aggression that the victim displays at this point can be seen or charged as assault. [2]

What Are The Exceptions To Using Deadly Force In Self-Defense?

Understanding what deadly force is can help frame how self-defense can quickly turn into an assault charge. The definition of deadly force varies from state to state, but in many states, deadly force means if the force used is likely to cause death or serious injury [3].

The law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense when there is a deadly threat. So people are only allowed to use deadly force in self-defense when there is a threat of harm so great that it could cause them death or serious injury. To qualify as self-defense, a reasonable person would deem deadly force necessary in the situation. If a lesser amount of force would protect the victim, then deadly force is not warranted [4]. If a victim uses deadly force when it is not necessary, it can be charged as assault.

In some states, if there is a window to retreat the scene and flee the threat, victims may not use deadly force. In legal terms, this is known as a duty to retreat [5]. If the victim retaliates against their attacker using force when there is an opportunity to get away, this can be seen as assault.

If I Hit Someone First In Washington State, Can I Claim Self Defense?

If someone feels they are about to experience great harm or threat, they do not have to wait to use force to protect themselves [6]. For example, if someone has a baseball bat and says they’re going to hit you, you’d be allowed to hit them first, before they strike, to protect yourself. This would qualify as self-defense.

However, let’s say you encounter someone you’ve had a physical fight with in the past. You’re worried this person will strike you again, but they have not made any verbal threats. You can’t hit them first to protect yourself because there is no real threat of imminent danger.

What Should I Do If I Acted In Self Defense But Have Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you were in an altercation and you believe you were acting in self-defense, but have been charged with assault, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Priest Criminal Defense immediately. Our team of experts have experience defending those that acted in self-defense and can help you present your best defense.

[1] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Limits On Self Defense.”

[2] “Self Defense Law: Overview.” Find Law.

[3] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.”

[4] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.”

[5] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.”

[6] Bergman, Paul. “Can I claim self defense if I hit someone first?” Nolo.

When creating your estate plan, you will be faced with some hard questions about how you want your property and assets distributed, as well as about your end of life care. You’ll also need to choose an executor to manage your will and estate after you pass. Here are some questions you’ll need to ask yourself while estate planning.

Who Should I Choose For My Executor In Washington State?

Who you should choose as your executor is a personal question that depends on your family and friend relationships. If you are married, choosing your spouse can be a good choice. You and your spouse likely share property, bank accounts and personal wishes with each other, so your spouse is a good candidate to best execute your wishes. Unmarried or widowed people may choose a sibling or an older adult child. You can also appoint two co-executors, but sometimes this is unwise if they disagree [1]. The most important thing is naming someone you trust with your finances and is qualified to complete the tasks needed [1]. It’s also wise to choose someone who lives close to you.

Who Do I Want To Inherit My Property In Washington State?

Deciding who you want to inherit your property and assets is another personal decision that depends on your relationship. Often, people will choose their spouse, child or grandchildren. However, if you have an unmarried partner and want them to inherit any part of your estate you’ll need to explicitly say so in your estate plan and name each other as beneficiaries on bank accounts [2]. You can also leave some of your estate to a charity by leaving a gift in your will or trust [3].

In Washington State Is A Will Or A Living Trust Better?

Talking with an estate planning attorney can help you better decide if you want a will or living trust. Wills generally cost less than creating a living trust, but the benefit of a living trust is your property won’t have to go through probate [4].

Who Do I Want To Be Guardian Of My Children?

If you have any children under the age of 18 years old, you will want to appoint a legal guardian for them, if you die, in your will [4]. You can also appoint a financial guardian for your child. It’s best to ask who you choose before appointing them without their knowledge.

With Washington State Law In Mind, What Are My End Of Life Care Wishes?

During estate planning, you can create a living will or healthcare directive. In these documents, you can appoint a power of attorney who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so [4]. People often choose their power of attorney to be the same person as their executor. In your healthcare directive, you can also designate if you’d like a do not resuscitate or if you would like extreme measures taken. Washington State is one of the few states that has a Death with Dignity Act, allowing assisted suicide for those who are terminally ill [5]. This can also be noted in your documents.

What Do I Want My Funeral To Look Like?

In your estate plan, you can leave directions on if you want your body to be cremated or buried, and if you prefer a funeral or memorial service [4]. You could also tell your loved ones what you’d like to be buried with or any songs you’d like played.

What Law Firm Should I Choose In Washington State To Help Me Create An Estate Plan?

Choosing the right lawyer to create your estate plan is an important part of the process. At Priest Family Law, we have vast experience creating estate plans in Washington State and helping our clients answer the hard questions that come up during this process.

[1] “Naming An Executor.” Nolo.

[2] Randolph, Mary. “Estate Planning For Unmarried Partners.” Nolo.

[3] Keene, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo.

[4] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo.

[5] “Death With Dignity Act.” Washington State Department of Health.


When an attacker commits a physical assault with an object, that can cause death or serious bodily injury because of how it is designed, this is charged as an assault with a deadly weapon [1]. In Washington States and all other 49 states, assault with a deadly weapon is classified as a felony.

How Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charge Classified In Washington State?

In Washington State, assault with a deadly weapon is considered to be an Assault 1 charge, which is classified as a class A felony, or an Assault 2 charge, which is a class B felony [2] [3].

Assault 1 would be applied because the attacker intended to produce great bodily harm or death using the object. Assault 1 also automatically applies if the deadly weapon is a firearm. Assault 2 would be applied if the attacker’s original intent was not great bodily harm.

What Is Considered A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

When thinking about a deadly weapon, your mind might go to a gun or a knife. These are both considered deadly weapons, but in court, the prosecutor wouldn’t need to prove these to be deadly weapons to a jury because it’s evident [4]. But the legal definition for what constitutes a deadly weapon is much broader than these obvious items.

In legal terms, deadly weapons are considered objects that can cause substantial bodily harm. This can be a car or a baseball bat because if you drive into someone or hit them in the head with a baseball bat it can be deadly.

Depending on how the attacker uses certain objects, everyday items can be escalated to deadly weapons in court, such as shoes, rocks, or pocketknives [4].

The human body can also be seen as a deadly weapon, based on the amount of force applied during the attack or diseases the body carries, such as HIV. If the attacker is HIV positive and has unprotected sex with someone without disclosing their status, this can be charged as Assault 1 with a deadly weapon [4].

What Is The Punishment For Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

The punishment for assaulting someone with a deadly weapon will vary based on the force used and the injuries inflicted on the victim. Since assault with a deadly weapon is considered a felony, there is a high risk of prison time. In addition to or instead of prison time, the defendant may be fined. The defendant’s previous record will also be considered during sentencing.

In general, in Washington State class A felonies can carry up to a life sentence in prison and class B felonies can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged With Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reach out to the team at Priest Criminal Law immediately. Our team of esteemed attorneys have years of experience defending Assault 1 charges. We can help you build your best case with the goal of an acquittal or a lesser sentence.


[1] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo.

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature.

[4] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo.



Choosing to create a trust can help your loved ones avoid probate, taxes, and keep your finances private after your death [1].  A trust can help you control the inheritance you’re giving by distributing by your assets over time to your beneficiaries or when they reach a certain age [1].

When creating a trust, it’s important to note there are different types, such as an irrevocable trust.

What Is An Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust is a trust that can not be terminated once it has been created and goes into effect after the person who created it dies [2]. This makes them different than revocable trusts, which can be terminated until the person who created the trust dies [2]. You can also create a living irrevocable trust, which goes into effect before the creator dies, eliminating the creator’s ownership of any property or assets now in the trust [2]. The main benefit of an irrevocable trust is tax benefits.

In Washington State, Can An Irrevocable Trust Be Changed?

There are some exceptions to changing an irrevocable trust, but it can be challenging depending on the terms of the trust when it was created. In some cases, changes can be made if all the beneficiaries of the trust are in agreement, the change is in the best interest of the beneficiaries, or another legal exception applies [3].

What Are The Types Of Irrevocable Trusts Available In Washington State?

Irrevocable trusts can be created in a variety of ways to protect your property and help bypass taxes for your beneficiaries [2]. Some of the most common types of irrevocable trusts are:

  • Bypass Trusts: This trust exists for spouses. When the first spouses passes away, the majority of the estate will go into the bypass trust. Then, the living spouse can use the trust property, but when the second spouse dies the property is not included in his or her estate [2].
  •  QTIP Trust: This helps a married couple delay paying taxes until the second spouse dies [2].
  • Charitable Trusts: These types of trusts allow you to reduce income and taxes on your estate by leaving a large amount to a charitable organization [2].
  • Generation-Skipping Trusts: These trusts leave the majority of an estate to the deceased’s grandchildren. In this scenario, the grandchild is a beneficiary of the trust, but never owns the property, which shields it from tax when the child eventually dies [2].
  • Life Insurance Trusts: This helps shield the income from a life insurance policy from tax [2].
  • Special Needs Trusts: This type of trust allows money to be used to help support someone with special needs without disqualifying them for government benefits [2].

In Washington State, Can I Create My Own Irrevocable Trust?

To create the best irrevocable trust, it’s a good idea to hire a seasoned attorney, as more irrevocable trusts require a lawyer to draft them. The team at Priest Family Law can help you understand how an irrevocable trust works and create a trust that is right for you and your specific situation.

[1] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Why Make A Trust.”

[2] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Irrevocable Living Trusts.” Nolo.

[3] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Modifying Or Terminating A Trust.”


VanWa Legal’s Update To Coronavirus

Updated June 1st, 2020

Dear Clients, Visitors, Family & Friends,

We are excited to announce that we are now re-opening our physical offices while implementing safety precautions to keep our clients and staff healthy. To avoid any level of risk, clients may still use our fully secure and encrypted videoconferencing to meet with us instead of having to come in person. 

We are also monitoring the decisions of state and local officials as to how they will be handling the reopening of the courthouse. If you are a client and have a pending court case, be sure to contact us before you attempt to go to the courthouse for any reason.

To keep our clients and staff safe, we have implemented these protocols:

  • All clients will be required to wear a mask upon entering the building.
  • If for any reason you feel sick, please contact the office to reschedule your appointment or book a fully secure video conference instead.
  • Client pens will be sanitized prior to each use.
  • All high-traffic areas will be sanitized regularly within the office for the safety of our staff and clients.
  • All staff and clients will be opposite of each other in conference rooms at a safe distance.
  • Staff will wipe down door handles as clients leave.


Updated March 16th, 2020

Dear Customers, Visitors, Family & Friends

In order to help battle the spread of the Coronavirus, our office is changing all face to face client meetings to phone calls and/or virtual meetings.

  • We will update this policy as more information is made available.
  • Our office is still open during this time, we are still working on our existing client matters and available for new client matters, we are merely trying to avoid face to face interaction as much as possible to be in compliance with recommendations from the CDC.
  • Thank you for your understanding. Please call, text, or email us with any questions or concerns.

When it comes to our physical offices, though we are taking extreme precautions to mitigate any risks of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 for our customers and staff, we have still received many questions and wished to proactively address how we are responding:

  • As of this writing, we are still open for business but we are moving all in-person consultations and meetings to Skype or phone calls as noted above.
  • When it comes to our offices, we have implemented the CDC guidelines of ‘social distancing’ and zero-touch in-person meetings.
  • Business personnel have been busy with extra cleanings of the office and other high-touch areas.
  • We will immediately implement any new CDC guidelines as this pandemic unfolds.

There are simple things the CDC recommends you do to help keep yourself and others healthy if requested to visit our location for any reason:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and make every attempt to keep you informed. Emergency notifications to staff and patients will be conducted through our emergency communication channels including text notifications, telephone calls, and communicated directly to customers.

For updated information on this rapidly changing situation, please visit the CDC website here:

VanWa Legal