Skip to main content

Tacoma Trust Attorney

A Trust Attorney in Tacoma Can Help You and Your Family

Navigating Trusts with Ease: Discover the Difference a Skilled Trust Attorney Makes

One of the things that most people avoid talking about is what happens to them, their loved ones, and their assets when they become disabled or die. According to AARP, 6 out of every 10 Americans have done no estate planning and face uncertainty when something happens.

Trusts are an effective tool that helps you to plan and prepare for uncertainty. Trusts are legal arrangements where an entity or person (the trustor/settlor) transfers the property to another party (a trustee). The trustee holds and manages the assets to benefit one or more beneficiaries. The trustor creates the trust to protect and distribute their assets. These can be created to avoid probate and reduce estate taxes.

A skilled Tacoma trust attorney is necessary to help you navigate the laws surrounding trusts. The state of Washington has specific requirements that must be met to create and manage a trust. A skilled attorney will review everything with you and help you to design the best trust for your estate.

Washington State Trust Requirements

living trust, estate plan, living will paperwork on deskA trust attorney will ensure that everything complies with state law. A trust is created in Washington under several different conditions, including

  • The trustor has the mental capacity to create the trust.
  • The trustor has the intent of creating a trust.
  • The trust names a beneficiary.
  • The trustee has various duties to perform.
  • The trustor is not the same person as the trustee and beneficiary.

These are some of the basic requirements for establishing a trust. We recommend speaking with a skilled attorney about your situation. We will review everything and help you to decide the best trust to that reflects your wishes.

The Tacoma estate planning attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess have decades of experience working with trusts. We have created trusts for some of the most complex estates to offer increased protection and effective planning. Call us now at 206-429-4418 (Seattle), 253-358-8473 (Tacoma), 360-742-3500 (Olympia), 971-416-0881 (Portland) to schedule a consultation with a skilled trust attorney. Everything we discuss is confidential, and you will get objective advice to set up and manage your trust.

The Advantages of Creating a Trust

best-law-firm-2024Creating a trust offers numerous advantages and increases your flexibility in estate planning. Here are several of the benefits of establishing a trust.

Asset Protection

The biggest reason why most people establish a trust is to protect their assets. A trust allows them to transfer their assets to the trust and protect themselves against lawsuits, financial risks, and creditors. Individuals working in professions with higher risk find trusts useful. These include business owners, CEOs, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and the affluent. They want to preserve and protect their wealth for future generations or to help a cause they feel passionate about.

Avoid Probate

Establishing a trust helps you avoid probate, the legal process for distributing the deceased’s assets. Probate is expensive, time consuming, and public. A trust ensures the smooth transfer of assets to the beneficiaries, which minimizes costs and delays, and keeps financial information private.

Control of Distribution

Trusts give you the flexibility to manage the distribution of assets. You can set specific conditions for this to occur, including certain ages for beneficiaries to be eligible for receiving their share. It is tailored to the distribution of these assets, ensuring that the transfer occurs under the right conditions.

Special Needs

Trusts are effective in offering loved ones with special needs additional support. A special needs trust ensures disabled beneficiaries receive financial support and government benefits. It allows you to improve loved ones’ quality of life without risking their assistance from other programs.

Lower Taxes

Trusts are an effective tool for tax and estate planning. They reduce the gift, estate, and income taxes the beneficiaries or estate must pay. A skilled attorney can guide you in structuring your trust to get the maximum benefits, possibly reducing the tax burden on your assets.

Charitable Donations

Many wealthy and affluent individuals have charities and causes they are passionate about and want to help. Trusts give you a tool to leave a lasting impact and help those organizations and causes you care about the most. You are maximizing your tax benefits and effectively transferring assets.


Trusts offer privacy about the beneficiaries and transfer of assets that will not become public on death. Trusts let you confidentially pass your assets without the details being released to creditors and the public.

Trusts offer these advantages, but speaking with a skilled attorney is crucial. We will guide you and help you create a trust that honors your wishes and maximizes the benefits.


A Tacoma trust attorney can create the right trust to meet your needs. There are two general types:

Revocable: You can change or revoke. It’s flexible, and you can move assets in and out of the trust. It can be used with your will to quickly pass property, like a house, to your beneficiaries.

Irrevocable: It can’t be changed after creation, except in rare situations. This inflexibility has benefits, such as possible tax reduction and protection of assets from creditors.

Within these general categories, there are trusts for specific needs. They include:

Bypass or AB: This is part of a planning strategy for wealthier married couples who want to minimize estate taxes. There are two trusts created for when one dies. The A or marital trust holds assets for the survivor, and the second, the B or credit shelter trust, helps minimize estate taxes.

Charitable: This trust creates an income stream for you while also planning a donation to a charity. You may qualify for an income tax deduction and minimize capital gains and estate taxes.

Family: It passes property and assets to family members.

Joint: Two people fund a trust and are its co-trustees. Washington state has community property laws, and spouses living here can benefit from this trust as part of their estate plan. When one spouse dies, the survivor becomes the sole trustee and manages the property. After that person passes away, a successor trustee manages the trust and will distribute assets to beneficiaries based on instructions in the trust document.

Living or Inter Vivos: You create this trust during your life. It can be irrevocable or revocable. (If you go this route, you can change the trust and beneficiaries over time.)

Medicaid: To get Medicaid benefits for long-term care costs, the person must have a low income and few assets. This type of trust can help you qualify because it prevents some of your assets from being considered when you apply for Medicaid.

Special Needs Trust: The beneficiary has a disability. Instead of giving the person assets, which may disqualify them from Medicaid and other government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they’re put into a trust. The person receives income or has costs paid while also receiving these benefits.

Spendthrift: This limits a beneficiary’s creditor’s access to trust assets, which is helpful for a beneficiary who owes large debts or who faces or has lost a civil lawsuit. Trust assets can help the person pay bills but can’t be reached to pay debts or a legal judgment.

Testamentary or Pour-Over: The trust is created “on paper” but isn’t funded until you pass away and your estate is probated. All or some of your estate assets “pour over” into the trust. These are irrevocable since they only go into effect after your death. You can also use estate assets to fund trusts that became active during your life.

Our trust lawyers in Tacoma take the time to talk to clients to learn their needs and what they want to accomplish and propose an estate plan. Trust may be your best option, regardless of your situation or goals.

Why Choose Us?

US News Best Law Firms 2023Establishing and managing a trust is complex; you need a skilled trust attorney to guide you. Our team of attorneys has over 100 years of combined experience working estates, from the most simple to extremely complex. We listen to your needs objectively and use our knowledge and experience to help you set up a trust that honors your wishes.

Our skilled attorneys help you to avoid critical mistakes that could be time consuming and costly. Washington has specific laws for trusts, and knowing how they work and apply could be tricky. Our attorneys work on various sizes of trusts and use our knowledge to ensure your trusts offer the maximum protection under the law.

At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, our team of trust attorneys will put our experience to work for you to create an effective estate plan. Trusts are one of the solutions we can use to ensure that you protect your loved ones and the charities you care about the most. Contact us now to schedule a consultation with a skilled trust attorney at 206-429-4418 (Seattle), 253-358-8473 (Tacoma), 360-742-3500 (Olympia), 971-416-0881 (Portland).

Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess – Tacoma Office

1200 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421
P: (206) 621-1110