News & Resources

Recent News and Educational Resources from Reed Longyear

Reed, Longyear, Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC partner Jason W. Burnett prevailed in the Court of Appeals for his client Gloria Petelle. On May 6, 2019, the Washington Court of Appeals Division published its opinion In the Matter of the Estate of Michael A. Petelle, Gloria Petelle v. Michelle Ersfeld Petelle, reversed the trial court and remanded the case with instructions to grant the entire relief sought by Mr. Burnett at the trial court level for Ms. Petelle, Michael Petelle’s surviving parent.  The Court of Appeals held that a separation contract that states it is a complete and final settlement of all marital and property rights and obligations includes a complete and final settlement of a spouse’s statutory right to inherit, and that Michael Petelle’s wife, Michelle Ersfeld-Petelle waived her right to intestate succession by signing a separation contract that was a “final settlement of all their marital and property rights and obligations.”

See the decision in its entirety here.

Happy anniversary! As of May 1st, Mike Malnati, Shane Yelish, and Joshua Reinertson have been with RLMA for 33 years, 9 years and 2 years, respectively. Congratulations on the years you’ve been with us, and cheers to many more! 

One of our namesakes, Michael C. Malnati has over 30 years of legal experience counseling individuals and small businesses regarding all aspects of real estate transactions, general business and corporate matters and creditors’ rights. Whether preparing or reviewing documentation on complex commercial transactions, or helping clients analyze the risks and options involved when considering litigation, Michael brings experience and problem solving skills to assist clients to formulate the best plan of action.

Shane Yelish works closely with contractors, developers, and other small businesses on a broad range of issues related to real estate development, business formation, construction, and dispute resolution. Providing creative solutions to solve complex problems, Shane also guides clients through complicated business and real estate transactions.

One of our newest associates, Joshua enjoys working closely with clients to develop estate plans that embody RLMA’s tenets of “proactive planning” and “sensible solutions.” Joshua has experience drafting wills and trusts which implement client goals, such as ensuring that client assets are used to set up scholarship endowments, or simply reducing tax liabilities to ensure wealth is available for the use of future generations.

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.

Check out this article from the New York Times regarding the concept of pricing for funeral homes being available for consumers online.

Excerpt: Shoppers routinely use the internet to compare prices, whether for appliances, cars or hotel rooms. But online pricing remains scant for funeral services, putting bereaved and vulnerable people at a financial disadvantage because they’re unlikely to haggle over costs.”

Though it may be the last thing you want to do, do your research when it comes to funeral prices. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without overpaying for funeral costs. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our estate planning attorneys.

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.

The Dorchester, a condominium in Pelican Bay, a development in Naples, Fla.
(Picture taken from article)

Check out this article written by Paul Sullivan for the New York Times regarding condominium boards vs. residents.

Excerpt: “The internet is full of websites devoted to ridiculous stories about condo board fights. The tales are humorous, except when you think what it would be like to face a fine for having a tree that was too short, leaving a pumpkin on your porch the day after Halloween or wearing camouflage attire when you’re a soldier reporting for duty.”

When weighing your options regarding the purchase of a home, consider whether condo board rules are something you want to live by – if not, explore other options. Feel free to reach out to one of our real estate attorneys with any questions you may have.

Reed Longyear Malnati and Ahrens was again a proud supporter of the Breakfast of Champions fundraiser for the King County Bar Foundation (KCBF). KCBF funds the Housing Justice Project, 38 free neighborhood legal clinics and minority law student scholarships. The Breakfast is the largest gathering of attorneys in the State of Washington each year.

Attending are left to right (standing), Josh Reinertson, Mary Anne Vance, Calvontre White (featured poet in the Reed Longyear sponsored Seattle Arts and Lectures Program – Writers in the School), Michael Longyear, Carry Porter, Jennifer Song; (sitting) Elizabeth White and Ashley Wasden. (Elizabeth Hanley not present in the photo.)

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:

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.

Join us April 19, 2019 for a CLE regarding Personal Estate Planning for the 99%, including an interactive session on drafting wills for families.

The program is located at the Motif Hotel, 1415 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, from 8:15am to 4:30pm.

Our attorneys Michael Longyear, Mary Anne Vance, and Anton Cauthorn will be speaking at this event! Michael will be the program chair for this event, Mary Anne is speaking on Ethical Considerations, and Anton will be discussing Tax Considerations.

Register for this event at
Please note that previous programs have sold out–be sure to register early!
There is a discount for LCBA, RPPT, and Guardianship & Elder Law Section Members.
This program also applies 6.75 CLE Credits: 6.00 Law & Legal and .75 Ethics 

View a full schedule of the day’s events below:

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:

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!