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     Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson 

Katharine A.D. Hanson Legal Services, Seattle, WA


Probate is the legal process for transferring property owned by a decedent following his or her death. Ownership (the legal title) of the decedent's property, assets, and personal effects are transferred to the beneficiaries as directed by the decedent's Will.
If there is no Will, or the Will was not valid, the persons receiving assets are determined by Washington State law. Depending on the value and nature of the decedent's assets, probate may or may not be required.

The Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson represents clients who are: the Personal Representative (a.k.a. Executor) of a decedent's estate; the Administrator of a decedent's estate; and the beneficiaries of a decedent's estate.


Guardianship is the management of the affairs (either financial and/or personal) of an individual who has been legally determined to be incapacitated (incapable of managing his or her own affairs). 

A guardian is the person (either a lay person or professional agency) appointed by the Superior Court who is responsible for managing the incapacitated person’s affairs.  A guardian must regularly (every 1-3 years) provide a report to the Superior Court on the financial and/or personal affairs of the incapacitated person.

The biggest step that a person can take to avoid guardianship is to have a properly drafted Power of Attorney where you nominate a responsible, trustworthy attorney-in-fact to manage your financial and personal affairs in the event that you can no longer manage them yourself.  Sometimes even with a Power of Attorney in place, guardianship cannot be avoided. 

The Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson represents clients in all areas of guardianship law including those who: want to become guardian of a family member or friend; are the subject of guardianship proceedings and want to contest the guardianship or understand their rights and options.

Elder Law

Elder law is an area of legal practice that covers a variety of legal issues that are unique to older individuals and their care takers. 

The Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson can meet with you to help with the drafting of your estate planning documents and provide you with an explanation of benefits that you may be eligible for.



Estate Planning

Estate planning (includes a will) involves making plans for the transfer of your estate after death as well as directing personal matters during your life time. Your estate is comprised of all the property that you own at your death and can include cash, life insurance, house, land, retirement, investments, savings, and personal effects, etc.  

Estate planning has several objectives and goals, including the transfer of assets to beneficiaries and nominating a guardian for your minor children.

The Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson will work with you to develop a comprehensive estate plan that can address the following issues:
  • Who will take care of my children if my spouse/partner and I pass away?
  • Who will manage the money that I leave for my children and when will my children receive that money… age 18, 21, 30?
  • Do my spouse/partner and I have adequate life insurance to provide for a loss of income and do we have adequate life insurance to provide for our children?
  • Are my assets (e.g., house, bank accounts, 401(k), IRA, life insurance, etc.) titled properly?
  • Who will make medical decisions for me if I can’t direct the doctors and nurses to do so?
  • Who would make these decisions if my spouse/partner was also unable to direct my care?
  • Who would handle my finances if I am unable to do so? 
  • Who would make these decisions if my spouse/partner was also unable to do so?
  • If I was being kept alive by life support and had no reasonable chance of recovery would I want to be kept alive?

Estate Planning Documents

Most estate planning clients of the Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson find that they need the following estate planning documents:

  • Last Will (these may or may not have trust provisions for: minor children; children with special needs; children from a prior marriage; or to minimize taxes) or Trust (Revocable or Irrevocable)
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Matters
  • Health Care Directive (a.k.a. Living Will)

 The Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson can assist you with the drafting of these and many other estate planning documents.

    Find more resources about these services on our Resources Page

    These definitions are provided by the Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson only as general educational and informational guidelines, and are not intended to, and do not, constitute legal advice to the reader. The definitions are not intended to nor designed to advise the reader on any particular course of action, nor are they intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the reader the Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson. The reader is advised to consult his or her attorney for legal advice regarding his or her specific facts and circumstances.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    The information contained in this website reflects the laws in the State of Washington at the time the pages were written. Every effort has been made to make them readable and understandable to non-lawyers and because of this they are general in nature.   The information in this site is designed to get you started on the planning process. You should always check with a lawyer before signing any legal documents.

    Visiting this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. The only way to become a client is for you to contact the Law Office of Katharine A.D. Hanson to discuss your legal needs in greater detail.  During our conversation we can determine whether I am the right lawyer to work with you.  This sort of planning and analysis is most easily done by phone or in person.  Once we have decided to work together we will both enter into an Attorney-Client Service Agreement which details the scope of my representation, the fees and costs, as well your duties as the client.

    Katharine A.D. Hanson is licensed to practice law in Washington State. There are important differences between Washington laws and those of other states. If you are a resident of another state please consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your home state. If you are not currently working with an attorney and need a referral you may want to call your state bar association for assistance.

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