Blog Posts

Photo taken from NYT article.
(credit Cody James for the NYT)

Losing your spouse is devastating. It is important to reach out for professional advice on estate planning and financial management during this challenging time.

Check out this article from the New York Times regarding estate planning and management after the loss of a spouse.

Feel free to reach out to any of our Estate Planning attorneys if you need help, or have any questions.

Happy RLMA anniversary to two of our wonderful attorneys, Christina Corwin and Anton Cauthorn! As of the 1st of this month, they are celebrating 16 years and 3 years, respectively.

Christina joined Reed Longyear 16 years ago in 2003. She is a skilled mediator and attorney in family law issues such as divorce, parenting plans, child support and family contracts. Christina can help you find the best legal process and solution for your particular needs, whether it be mediation, legal representation or a one-time consultation.

Anton has been with the firm for 3 years, having joined RLMA in 2016. He focuses his practice on estate planning, probate, tax law, and small business planning. Licensed to practice law in Washington and California, Anton works with clients in both states to create estate plans tailored to their specific needs.

Hopefully this new act and tax does not come as a surprise, as we’ve received many notices from Washington State explaining the new system.

In short, WA has enacted a program that will provide Paid Leave to employees–under broad conditions similar to FMLA leave. Employers and Employees should be aware that the taxing portion of this Act starts January 1, 2019, but the benefits are not provided until 2020.

See the following link for more details: https://paidleave.wa.gov/?gclid=CjwKCAiAgrfhBRA3EiwAnfF4tnVzielfJZ0TETvAriZY7rWP5HJ9obkx7xsTa6bZEXPDaHzmE7aZaxoCllAQAvD_BwE

The tax is not large–employees should only see a small premium come out of each of their paychecks (similar to unemployment or other deductions). Employers should also approach payment of this tax similarly to other payroll deductions.

If there are concerns with implementation or taxation of this new program please reach out to your legal counsel, payroll specialist, or accountant to confirm that the appropriate deductions will be made.

A standard provision in employment contracts for some time has been an “Arbitration Clause.” This clause sweeps almost all employment disputes into private arbitration.

New to Washington State from 2018 is RCW 49.44.085, which prohibits Arbitration Clauses in certain employment related claims (discrimination, harassment, etc.). Though this law will likely be tested against current Federal standards, it is currently the law of the land in Washington State.

Learn more at this link:
https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=49.44.085

For our employer clients, we encourage using the beginning of each year to take stock of employee procedures. Perhaps the changing law (or maybe an over the top holiday party) has prompted a decision to update polices and procedures. In either event–we’re happy to help!

Employers and Employees alike should remember that the minimum wage has increased significantly in this new year to $12.00/HR state wide and $16.00/HR in Seattle.

Please check the following link for further details: https://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/Minimum/.

If either the Employer or the Employee believes there is an error or underpayment, acting quickly to correct such errors are key. Please consult with your legal counsel on the best ways to correct errors– whether inadvertent or otherwise.

Death With Dignity & Estate Planning:By Victoria Langley

https://lawyers.usnews.com/legal-advice/death-with-dignity-laws/87 Physician-assisted death, also known as death with dignity, is a controversial end-of-life measure. Not sure if this is the right option for you and your loved ones? Questions regarding its legality here in Washington State? Read the following article by Victoria Langley in US News which may help clarify your questions. Quoted in the article are our very own […]

There are few absolutes in the world of divorce, but the unbending nature of the obligation to make court-ordered child support and spousal maintenance payments is one of them. The failure to do so can have calamitous consequences, including the possibility of jail time, a requirement to pay your ex-spouse’s attorney’s fees, garnishment of future pay and liens on assets, and revocation of your right to travel out of the country.

If you are one of the many who is experiencing a loss of income due to the government shutdown and you have support obligations, what are your options?

First, the worst thing to do is simply stop paying. You will begin amassing arrearages, which will accumulate interest at 12% APR. In addition, it makes it impossible for your ex-spouse to plan how to meet the financial needs of the children who are, after all, your children, too.

Instead, if you have decent communication with your ex-spouse, explore whether the two of you can work together to agree on a payment plan through which you will pay what you can, while deferring part of your payments until your income resumes. If you come to an agreement, work with an attorney to memorialize it in an agreed order, signed by the court. This is important, because it is the only way to officially relieve you of your responsibilities. An email exchange or mere oral agreement will not change your obligation.

If you and your spouse are unable to co-operatively work things out, have your attorney contact your ex-spouse’s attorney, or meet jointly with a mediator to work out a temporary fix which best addresses the needs of all those involved.

If it becomes clear that you will be without income for a significant period, consult an attorney about the need to modify your support obligation and the process for doing this. It is important that you not put off initiating this process for too long, since getting a reduction extending back retroactively prior to the date on which the request for modification was filed with the court is extremely unlikely.

This government shutdown is causing suffering to many people. But with a careful and thoughtful process, you can minimize the pain both to yourself and to those to whom you owe an obligation of support.

Mary Anne Vance’s 2019 Upcoming Presentations:

January 23, 2019 (10 AM – Noon) – Free client seminar: “What’s New in Estate Planning – Trusts, Probate, & End-of-Life Planning.” Presented by attorneys: Mary Anne Vance, Carla Calogero and Anton Cauthorn.

Location: Reed Longyear Malnati and Ahrens, Norton Building conference room (2nd floor), 801 2nd Ave., Seattle 98104.

RSVP via email to mvance@reedlongyearlaw.com or call (206) 624-6271

March 28, 2019 – King County Bar Association,  Continuing Legal Education, “Bridging the Gap: Wills and Trusts.” Presented by attorneys: Mary Anne Vance and Anton Cauthorn

Registration and payment required for attendance. Contact: Chrisd@KCBA.org.

April 19, 2019 – King County Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education, “Personal Estate Planning for the 99% – Ethical Considerations in Estate Planning.” Presented by attorney: Mary Anne Vance.

Registration and payment required for attendance. Contact: Chrisd@KCBA.org.

As we give thanks this season, we want to express our appreciation to you.

May your upcoming year be full of good health, happiness and success.

From everyone at Reed Longyear Malnati Ahrens, we extend our warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year.

Anton Cauthorn: C2019 Washington Estate Tax Exemption Released

Every year, both the federal and Washington estate tax exemptions are increased based on inflation. Here are the updated numbers for 2019: 2018 2019 Washington Estate Tax Exemption $2,193,000 $2,261,000 Federal Estate Tax Exemption $11,180,000 $11,400,000 Annual Federal Gift Tax Exclusion $15,000 $15,000   Estate taxes are only paid by people whose total estate value […]