Phinney Estate Law Attorney, Jamie Clausen, will be offering a free class on LGBT Families and the Law at the Greenwood Senior Center
on June 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm.
The class is designed to help community members understand how the new Same Sex Marriage laws in Washington Impacts LGBT Families. This unique workshop will cover basics of family law, probate and estate planning. The class is designed to help families of all ages better understand their new rights and continuing complications created by federal law.If you have questions about this topic and how it might impact your family but cannot attend the workshop, please contact us at (206)459-1908 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free half hour consultation.
When you got divorced, did you remember to update your life insurance beneficiary? At Phinney Estate Law we regularly see cases where people have died with ex-spouses still named as their life insurance beneficiary, even when they have remarried. In cases were these are private insurance policies purchased from brokers or agents we can rely on Washington State statute that says such designations are invalid upon divorce to fix the problem. For those with policies that are are employee benefits the solution is not so simple as federal law often preempts state law.In the most recent US Supreme Court decision on the topic, Hillman v. Maretta, the court awarded a deceased federal employee's life insurance to his ex-wife, instead of his current wife, even though his divorce decree stated that his ex-wife would have no claim to it and even though state statute in Virginia where he lived created a separate state cause of action to allow current spouses to collect from ex-spouses in such situations. In its decision the Supreme Court made it clear that Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Act (FEGIA) completely prempts state law on the matter of beneficiaries. Therefore, a deceased employees life insurance benefits will go where the beneficiary designation says they shall go, even if they is an ex-spouse, even if they are remarried, and even if state law says that such designations are invalid. Furthermore, any state law attempt to "fix" the problem by allowing a cause of action to get the money to the new spouse will be invalid. The lesson is that if you have a divorce in your history, you need to make sure that you have made a new estate plan that reflects your current intentions. Do no rely on Washington State rules to do it for you or you may find that your ex-spouse gets more at your death than you imagined. If you have been divorced and want to make sure you have done the necessary follow up work on your estate plan, please contact us for a free 1/2 hour consultation at email@example.com or (206) 459-1908.
Phinneywood Celebrates Diversity, Tolerance & Rainbows
This year the PNA Business Group, Woodland Park Zoo and Greenwood Library are kicking off Seattle's LGBT Pride Month with the Phinneywood Rainbow Hop on June 1, 2013.
Participating businesses and non-profits will be hosting family friendly events and handing out goodies that focuses on diversity and tolerance and fun.
Phinney Estate Law Attorney Jamie Clausen is the co-chair of this year's Pride events for the neighborhood. "Our neighborhood has so many members of the LGBT community now that are raising great families. We wanted to make sure that Seattle's Pride Celebration included a celebration of those families and had family friendly ways for supporters to participate as well,"
Participants should look for businesses marked with rainbow balloons and pick up a map of participating venues. The event is not a parade and participants can start at any location.
Later in the month Jamie will be do a presentation of LGBT Families and the Law at the Greenwood Senior Center.
For more informatina
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.
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
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 dea
l 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.