Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Washington. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution
February 2, 2021
If you or a loved one lives in the Evergreen State, there are a lot of important forms, records, services, and state laws you need to know about. Here's a list of the most essential documents you need to prepare your estate for any medical, legal, and end-of-life decisions if you live in Washington.
HIPAA gives you access to your medical records, but they also impose limits on how and to whom health care providers may release your details. Washington medical records laws state that only the patient can disclose medical records to someone excluding health care providers, officials of correctional institutions, or public health authorities.
Healthcare facilities in Washington State must respond within 15 working days to your medical records request.
An advance directive is a general term for a series of legal documents that outline your preferences for medical care if you become incapacitated. These documents typically include:
The Washington advanced directives helps you discover, clarify, and communicate what is important to you in the face of serious illness. Washington Law states that only an adult with an advanced life-limiting illness can request for the form. However, you need two (2) witnesses and yourself to sign your Washington Advance Directive for it to be considered valid.
Not to be mistaken with a will, if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions about your medical treatment, a Washington living will should guide you. Washington living will requirements contain:
You can set up your living will by filling the Washington Living Will Form.
Any person of sound mind over the age of 18 may set up all of their estate with a will. Your will is a legal document that can be changed at any time before your death, so long as you have the capacity.
A legal professional should prepare your will, but you can prepare your own will if you like. According to Washington law, these documents must be signed by two witnesses and notarized by a notary.
The Washington Trust Act imposes new reporting and administrative requirements on trustees to provide new disclosure rights for beneficiaries and clarify or establish several trust administration rules. If you are a trustee, you must keep the trustee beneficiaries fairly informed about the trust's administration and all the material facts they need to protect their interests.
Although you are not expected to report annually, to ensure that your fiduciary obligation is fulfilled, you must plan your report sufficiently frequently. It is not necessary to waive this reporting provision in the trust documents. It applies, regardless of when they were formed, to all irrevocable trusts. The Act generally applies to all trusts. Check out more about setting up a living trust in Washington.
Probate is the legal process where the assets of the "decedent" are passed to your successors. Probate proceedings are intended to provide a framework for the orderly transfer of the deceased's property while protecting others who, including heirs, trustees, creditors and tax authorities, may have an interest in the property.
The probate laws in Washington do not always require a probate proceeding to be filed after death, irrespective of whether the deceased died with or without a legitimate will. It is a discretionary practice, usually because someone wishes it to be filed, not because the law requires it. Check out Washington Probate Law for more information.
Every well-drafted estate plan should include preparation for your digital properties. With the RUFADA enactment, estate planners feel more assured that the estate plan's digital asset requirements will be implemented.
On June 9, 2016, Washington State adopted Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADA). This law acts as a conduit that gives a personal representative or other trustees the power to request, and the custodian of digital assets may reveal information about digital assets. Professionals in Washington estate planning assist their clients in selecting a fiduciary responsible for handling their estate following their deaths. Electronic information, online banking, online investment accounts, photo galleries, email accounts, and social media accounts are examples of digital assets.
Washington is one of 12 states that does have an estate tax. Since 2018, if an estate value is less than the tax-exempt amount of $2,193,000, citizens do not have to file a state estate tax return, according to Washington inheritance laws.
Depending on how far the deduction goes, it will decide what the tax rate will be. It varies from about 10-20%.
You can obtain Washington state death records as certificates for legal purposes or non-certified informational copies. Here are the latest guidelines you need to get a death certificate in Washington:
You can get a death certificate requested electronically in any county in Washington. Finish an online application, provide valid government identification or alternate identification, proof of eligibility documentation and pay applicable fees.
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