Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Estate Planning’ Category


Answering the Call to Serve: Above and Beyond

Morgan Gabse
One attorney’s Call to Duty pledge equipped her to help veterans through legal matters outside her normal practice area.

Morgan Gabse
The WSBA’s Call to Duty Pledge inspires Washington attorneys to work outside their normal practice areas to serve veterans. Morgan Gabse is one attorney who branched out to meet veterans’ needs. Read more »


The Changing Contours of “Low Bono”

A man and female attorney signing a document
Seattle attorney and WSBA section chair Forrest Carlson takes the “don’t know” out of Low Bono.

A man and female attorney signing a documentUp until very recently, whenever I asked other lawyers what they thought “low bono” meant, most ventured an uncertain guess along these lines: “Is it like pro bono, except instead of paying no fee, the client pays a low fee?” Read more »


Do You Keep Original Wills? Best Practices Say No

Advice from WSBA’s Office of General Counsel regarding what to do with original will documents.

If you have ever wondered what to do with original wills, consider the following best practices to help you decide.

Read more »


3 Tips for Protecting Your Client’s Probate and Non-probate Assets

Learn how the ruling in Hillman v. Maretta affects Washington law.

probateRecently, the Supreme Court in Hillman v. Maretta, 569 U. S. ____ (2013)re-affirmed an important tenet of trust and estate law: keep your information current. Otherwise, your (or your clients’) wishes might not be effectuated as envisioned. Trust and estate attorneys should carefully inventory the assets of a client. Assets can be classified as either probate or non-probate. Non-probate assets are not subject to a decedent’s will. Life insurance policies, such as the one at issue in Hillman, are a prime example of a non-probate asset and often require a separate form to designate beneficiaries.

Hillman v. Maretta: Rule

In this recent decision, the court unanimously ruled that the designation of a beneficiary under the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act (FEGLI), 5 U.S.C. §8716,  preempted a Virginia law revoking beneficiary designations for former spouses. Ultimately, the writing on the wall — er, beneficiary designation form — will control posthumous distributions of assets. Read more »


How do you solve a problem like ♪…a Globe Trotting Client?

pro bono abroad
Learn what questions your expat clients haven’t thought to ask and about the upcoming CLE that will provide some answers.

Maria (The Sound of Music) was not the problem.

The problem was that Maria did not fit within the narrow confines of the box she was put in.

This is true of international clients. Typically, they have obtained some basic estate planning and tax advice at some stage of their lives. They may also have a very general idea of family law in their own state/country. However, what do they know about the laws in the country to which they relocate? Not much.

Global employees may obtain some limited help, but often a global corporate transplant will only obtain cultural information about the new home. Human Resources  may obtain immigration assistance on behalf of the employee. There is no one venue to go to, to find out what questions one should ask, let alone find answers. This leaves expatriates exposed to unacceptable risks and leaves them with a sense of being lost in the new environment.

It is in everyone’s best interests for the foreign employee and the employee’s family to feel welcome and empowered by information. Read more »