On April 16, 2013, Phinney Estate Law attorney Jamie Clausen will joining John James, and Xana Moore-Wulsin to present on "Special needs children and collaborative divorce: Financial Planning – Structuring post majority support to not disqualify the child from public benefits and provide ongoing support for the caregiver parent" for the King County Collaborative Law Family Law Practice Group. The event is open to the public from 12-1:30 at Helsell Fetterman in Seattle.
Jamie Clausen Presenting "Hot Topics" Talk on Developments in Collaborative Guardianship Law Tomorrow.
On April 12, 2013, Phinney Estate Law Attorney Jamie Clausen will be the "hot topics" presenter for the experienced GAL track of the mandatory annual recertification training for Title 11 GALs put on the King County Bar Association. The talk will focus on developments and potential for the use of Collaborative Law in Guardianship Cases. Those not attending but interested in learning more, are encouraged to contact our office at (206) 459-1908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewish Family Service is offering an interesting program on how to create and sustain teams to care for aging loved ones. These teams could be siblings working together, multigenerational, or teams of neighbors and friends. The program is being offered on February 19, 2013, 7 pm to 9 pm at Jewish Family Services at 1601 16th Ave Seattle. Like all JFS programing the program is inclusive and open to all the members of the community. The program is $15 per family. Financial Assistance is available.
At Phinney Estate Law we work with individuals and families helping care for older loved ones everyday and see first hand how hard a job it is to do alone and how important a good team dynamic can be. We encourage families working with parents or anticipating to take advantage of this great program.
If your team is seeking advice on how to help your parent create an estate plan to best plan to maintain their independence and dignity, please contact us for a free half hour consultation. We will come to older clients in the Seattle area if mobility is an issue.
If your team is having disagreements and want to explore conflict coaching, mediation or collaborative law as a possible solution to maintain team cohesion and family harmony, contact us as well.
Monday our office was closed so that we could do a Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We cleaned and painted the common room at the Gatewood, a Plymouth Housing Group Community.
The Gatewood is community serving the chronically homeless and providing a housing first solution of getting people off the streets and into a safe and stable housing and supportive services to allow them to get treatment, therapy and job training.
We were so inspired by the dedicated staff and friendly residents that we have decided to add the Plymouth Housing Group to our list of charities supported by our Charity Discount Program. That means that clients leaving gift of $500 or more in their will or trust to the Plymouth Housing Group will receive 10% off their services. To set up a consultation to learn more about our estate planning services and how to take advantage of the discount program, contact us at email@example.com or call us at (206) 459-1908.
We are still planning to add three other charities this year and voting remains open on our facebook page until the end of the month to help us choose them.
A big thank you to the United Way for setting of our opportunity to serve!
As part of our commitment to have a practice that matches our values and provides a way for clients to express theirs, Phinney Estate Law has established a charity discount program. Under the program, clients leaving gifts of $500 or more to our list of selected charities in their will or trust receive a 10% discount off of their estate planning fees. Current charities include: Seattle Milk Fund, PAWS, Within Reach, Food Lifeline, PEPS, and Seattle Works.
Each year we ask our clients and friends to nominate and vote on new charities to add to the list and this year we are limited nominations to Charities operating in the Phinney-Greenwood Neighborhood we call home. To nominate a charity go to our facebook page and post the name of your nominee on our wall. We will be accepting nominations until February 14th. Our only requirements for nomination is that the charity match our firms values of peace, justice, community and family, equality, environmental stewardship, and service to children and vulnerable adults.
Once a charity is added to the list they are not removed so you don't need to re-vote for any past winners. In addition to donations from clients, the selected charities are given three Planning Packages a year to use for auctions or other fundraising efforts, the option of free classes for staff, members, or volunteers, and free content on relevant issues to their charity for their website or newsletters.
We are planning to add three more charities this year so we hope you will give us some great choices!
Congress has now reached a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" and that deal includes new rules on the Federal Estate Tax. These new rules aren't getting as much coverage as the income tax rules because they effect so many fewer people but they have been a concern for many clients so I wanted to try provide a simple summary.
Under the new deal a federal estate tax of 40% is taxed on all individual estates that exceed $5 million dollars (The prior numbers were 35% on estates over $5.2 million. Couples can, with proper planning protect each of their personal exemptions and pass $10 million dollars tax free. Decedents can also leave an unlimited amount to their spouse as long as that spouse is a United States Citizen. Note: The federal government currently does not recognized legal same sex spouses for this benefit and that issue is currently before the US Supreme Court.
This Federal Estate Tax Exemption is reduced by any reportable gifts during the decedent's life. A reportable gift is a gift made to someone other than your spouse that exceed $14,000 (Yes, that is a new number) other than direct payment of education and medical expenses. Indefinite loans can count as gifts as can transfers to irrevocable trusts and below market value sales.
The Washington State Estate tax is unchanged and contains a $2 million per person exemption ($4 million for a couple with proper planning.) Washington State Estate tax is graduated and less and includes offsets for any federal taxes paid. Washington State does recognize legal same sex marriages and gives those spouse an unlimited exemption. It also contains special offsets for operating farms.
Want to develop an estate plan that best addresses your tax issues and other priorities, contact us for a free 1/2 hour consultation. Prior clients with questions about how this new law might impact their plans are always welcome to call for a free consultation as well. We can be reached (206) 459-1908 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all the clients, friends, family, and neighbors who donated toys and cash for our annual toy drive. Yesterday, Jesse, our official toy drive organizer, was able to donate gifts for 103 children to the YWCA Emergency Homeless Shelter in Downtown Seattle. This was our most successful drive to date. The agency was very grateful and Jesse is already gearing up for next year.
Holidays can be hard for families with divorce. At Phinney Estate Law we help families end their marriages with non-litigated alternatives such as collaborative law, mediation, and other unbundled support for reaching settlement. Whenever those divorces involve children the families need to determine how they will spend the holidays. People relying on courts to make those choices for them will get a clean and somewhat arbitrary schedule. People who make their own plans and can supplement that schedule to include the option of spending time together.
Spending the actual holiday together may be a lofting goal and one that can be achieved in the long run. (Weddings and holidays in our extended family often include some ex-spouses.) But it can be a little much when feelings are still raw or when spending time with new partners is too uncomfortable. Spending the holidays apart is probably better than spending them together and fighting. Something that might be easier to pull off and without discomfort or spite is a holiday outing on neutral ground. Woodlawn Park Zoo's Wild Lights Festival would be a good option for such an outing. Relatively short in duration, festive, fun, lots of distracting things to look at and do so less pressure for chit chat than a dinner, and not so family focuses that in-laws and new partners would feel slighted to be left out.
Other ideas that work for you family that you would like to share? Let us know we are always looking for ideas that can help newly divided families co-parent in positive ways.
Hoping to handle your divorce is a way that will maximize your chances of working well as family after the marriage ends? We highly recommend exploring the various options for doing so that don't involve litigation fights and court imposed decisions. Call us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about those options and find one that works best for your unique case. Tel. 206-459-1908 or email@example.com.
On a day when same sex couples all over the state are celebrating their new right to marry in this state, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear two cases this term about same sex marriage: a challenge to a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the case against Prop 8.
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) requires the federal government to discriminate against married same-sex couples and treat them as if they are not married resulting in increased estate tax burdens, lack of access to health benefits, and unequal treatment for government pensions, social security benefits, and vetran's benefits.
This law has been hurting legally married same-sex couples and their families for 16 years and will continue to make same sex marriages less than equal until the law is struck down or changed.
Several circuit courts have found the law unconstitutional but this is the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue.
The Court also agreed to review the challenge to Prop 8 brought by AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Phinney Estate Law is now offering a discount of $100 of Estate Plans for members of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. To redeem the discount, members should print the coupon off the DoPhinneyWood Website coupon section and present it at their initial consultation along with proof of PNA membership. While you are there check out the other great discounts from local PNA business members. There are some great deals!