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Christopher S. Mulvaney

ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE ATTORNEY IN BELLEVUE

PRICES – Since Cost is often one of the first questions, below are Attorney’s Fees & Costs.

 

For married couples,  I would prioritize estate planning as follows: 

  • If I could only have one document, I would get a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) for $250 (most valuable by far); 
  • (Plus $250 for recording payable with a credit card at this LawPay Link for a total of $500 for a recorded TODD);
  • (Quitclaim Deeds are $300 to prepare and $300 to record for a total cost of $600 each);
  • (The second most valuable estate planning tools are beneficiary designations, which are free). 
  • If I could have two documents prepared, I would add Powers of Attorney for Finances & Health for $100 each
  • If I could have three documents, I would add a Living Will and Mental Health Advance Directive for $100 each
  • If I could have four, I would add a Revocable Living Trust for $600;
  • The Last Will & Testament is free because it will not be witnessed.  Probate does not require a Will.  It is my opinion that Probate should be avoided, but if it cannot be avoided then the Beneficiaries should communicate, agree, and sign affidavits before opening a Probate rather than having the Executor submit a witnessed will without agreement which can lead to disputes.  Doing so doesn’t cost anything.  (You can execute a Will electronically, you just have to find two witnesses who are not related to you, or mentioned in your estate planning documents.  They need to email me their driver’s licenses, and then all four of us have to arrange a time to sign on video. Plus you need to pay an additional $175.)
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  • The total cost adds up to $1,500 with a discount for purchasing multiple documents. 
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For single people, I would prioritize estate planning as follows: 

  • The Transfer on Death Deed price is $250 (most valuable by far);    
  • (Plus $250 for recording payable with a credit card at this LawPay Link  for a total of $500 for a recorded TODD);
  • (Quitclaim Deeds are $300 to prepare and $300 to record for a total cost of $600 each);
  • (The second most valuable estate planning tools are beneficiary designations, which are free);
  • The Powers of Attorney for Finances & Health, Living Will and Advance Directive are $75 each ($300 total);
  • The Revocable Living Trust is $350;
  • The Last Will & Testament is free because it will not be witnessed.  Probate does not require a Will.  It is my opinion that Probate should be avoided, but if it cannot be then the Beneficiaries should communicate, agree, and sign affidavits before opening a Probate rather than having the Executor submit a witnessed will without agreement which can lead to disputes. Doing so doesn’t cost anything. (You can execute a Will electronically, you just have to find two witnesses who are not related to you, or mentioned in your estate planning documents.  They need to email me their driver’s licenses, and then all four of us have to arrange a time to sign on video. Plus you need to pay an additional $150.)
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  • The total cost adds up to $1,150 with a discount for purchasing multiple documents. 
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The $300 cost of recording a Quitclaim Deed is reimbursement of what it costs me to record (including the King County Recorder, Simplifile Annual Fee, Simplifile per document fee, the transaction costs for making the payments and the Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit (REETA)).  Costs are fixed and irrelevant to legal insurance.  The Recorder  raised their fees by $100 on July 26th, 2021.    $250 is the cost to record a Transfer on Death Deed because there is no REETA.    I am not making money from cost reimbursement; I just do electronic recording as a convenience to clients so they don’t have to wait 4 months by mail.

EXCISE TAX & GIFTS OF REAL ESTATE EQUITY

For Quitclaim Deeds in which money is exchanged or Quitclaim Deeds that are gifts of equity, three documents are needed:

  1. A screenprint from Zilllow showing the estimated market price on a given date;
  2. A screenprint of the Assessed value from the Assessor’s website if you don’t have the postcard mailed to you; and
  3. The latest mortgage statement and documentation of any other liens.

This information is needed to calculate equity.  Subtract all liens from the estimated market price.  That is the amount of the gift if no money is exchanged, and the recipient is not a spouse.  If money is exchanged, then subtract the amount paid from the equity to get the amount of the gift for the Recorder’s Gift Affidavit. If the gift is greater than $15,000 (or $30,000 for a couple) then the gift must also be reported on IRS Form 709 when the giver of the gift files their tax return.

The Assessed Value must be entered on the Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit (REETA) which is required to be recorded with the Quitclaim Deed and the Gift Affidavit if applicable.

Excise Tax must be paid unless a valid exemption can be claimed on the REETA.  Common exemptions are transfers between spouses (or x-spouses), transfers to Trusts, or transfers to LLC’s, or adding or removing a Joint Tenant for no consideration (no money changing hands).  If money (or value) is exchanged, the Excise Tax is based on that money or value (currently the rate in King County is about 1.78%).  If there is a difference, it is reported as a gift.

It is important to realize that these Affidavits are sworn under penalty of perjury and carry potentially stiff penalties for false statements.  So, be honest about the money being exchanged, and pay the proper amount of tax.  Be honest about the value of the gift, and report it to the County as well as the Federal Government.  If you lie and sign a Gift Affidavit and money was exchanged, prosecuting you is easy because of your sworn statement clearly contrary to the facts.


It is a common misconception to describe the initial draft of estate planning documents to be “generic” or “boilerplate.”  This could not be any farther from the truth.  The draft of the documents that I prepare is from a template that I created and continuously revise and update based on client questions and experiences.  The draft incorporates the collective experience of the several thousand estate plans that I have prepared (and has links to dozens of other sources of information).


Estate Planning is about people and relationships –

not paper and property.


Below is a form to complete so I can email you a draft of an estate plan for your review before we meet.


Preparation before meeting is key.
You will not have a basis for questions unless and until you have read the documents that I prepare for you based on the information you provide in the above form.  If we talked before you read the documents it would be like trying to plant seeds before preparing the soil.  There is a big difference between scattering seeds on the ground and planting seeds in tilled prepared soil. 
Preparation makes all the difference.  
 
It is best to discuss a draft in a ZOOM meeting because that is the closest to you being across the desk from me, and us looking at the shared documents together.  If that is not what you are looking for that is fine.  You can look for another referral to assist you the way you would like.  I wish you the best of luck.  You finding what you are seeking is what is important.  To proceed in a manner that I do not believe is the best practice would not be good for either of us.  Initial transparency so that you can make an informed choice is the goal.

Legal Services Offered


THIS WEBSITE INCLUDES GENERAL INFORMATION AND

THE OPINIONS OF CHRISTOPHER S. MULVANEY WHICH ARE INTENTED TO STIMULATE A BASIS FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO YOUR PARTICULAR FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE YOU ACT.  



THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.



IF YOU WANT LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SPEAK WITH ME.


While my practice is centered on helping consumers get out of debt and protect themselves and their families in the event of death or incapacity, I am happy to offer additional legal services to my existing estate planning and bankruptcy clients.


Are you worried about mounting debt?


Or facing a Judgment, Garnishment or Foreclosure?


Have you been putting off getting an estate plan for too long?


I offer my clients legal counsel regarding foreclosure, buying and selling real estate, Transfer on Death Deeds, and real estate matters generally.  


MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not do litigation.


Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mission:

To Always Be a Human Being First – and My Role Second. 

To First, Do No Harm, then to provide the best legal outcome, smoothest process, best value, and to make a positive difference in the life of every client.

Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mantra:

May I be filled with loving kindness for all life.

May I be safe from dangers within and without.

May I be healthy in body, mind, socially, and spiritually.

May I be at ease and happy doing good in the world.


Every client is an estate planning client. 

Additional services related to debt, bankruptcy, and real estate are available to estate planning clients.


I offer initial ZOOM legal consultations to prospective estate planning and bankruptcy clients for two reasons:


(1) determining if the issues are within my practice areas (the “wheelhouse“), and


(2) determining whether a potential client is willing to let me lead them to the best likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome with the smoothest process of getting there. 



CONTACT FORM




DISCLAIMER:  The use of email or this form for communication with MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not establish an Attorney-Client Relationship. Time-sensitive information should not be sent through this Form or through email.  Confidential information can be uploaded into a shared encrypted folder after you have made initial contact with me.


For more information about my practice in Bellevue, Washington, please consult my Blog.



  • Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, Sammamish, Maple Valley, Burien, SeaTac, and throughout King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.


If you have read this far, you may be interested to know what I need to explain to potential clients very quickly which is the intersection in the Venn Diagram above of my practice areas and insurance coverage. As you can see the numbers of case types that are not in my practice areas is large, as is the number of case types that are neither in my practice area nor covered by legal insurance. The intersection is what I call the Wheelhouse. It contains two practice areas – estate planning and bankruptcy that pay all of the bills.

The small miscellaneous bit of my practice which I only do in conjunction with estate planning (bankruptcy is also done in conjunction with estate planning, so every client is an estate planning client. The challenge to me is to quickly explain to prospective clients that the long list of miscellaneous services on the left side of the diagram do not pay the bills – they are simply done to assist my estate planning clients with other matters that are not economical for lawyers to handle in isolation, so they would likely have difficulty finding counsel to assist them.

That is the difference between paying out of pocket by the hour and using flat fee legal insurance. If you are paying by the hour, you have more latitude regarding what the scope of service includes and what it does not. However, if the issue is too small you are not likely to find a lawyer to assist you even if you are willing to pay more than the market hourly rate because many smaller cases interfere with revenue production, increase stress, and increase risk.

That is an important part of why I do what I do the way I do it. There are many lawyers to serve you if you have means, in the manner you wish to be served. However, the majority of middle class and lower middle class people do not have access to legal representation and advice when they need it. In 1979, I heard Jimmy Carter give a speech in which he said that America is over lawyered and under represented. That is more true now than it was then.

I see my niche in the law as representing people in the most economical way possible for the most people, which is through legal insurance. Egalitarian access to legal services affordable by as many people as possible is a value for me. I have the privilege of earning a living in a manner that is consistent with my values. So, if you choose to become a client of MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC I thank you for allowing me to be who I am in my work, and to serve with my whole self – not divorced from consideration for the good of society in the pursuit of forever more profit.