Kim Hammit, small business & estate planning law

Kim Hammit

Kim Hammit, experienced in business formation, estate planning, real estate law

Kim Hammit loves helping small businesses form and grow. She also helps families and individuals with estate planning and real estate law. In addition, she looks forward to working with our personal injury and employment attorneys to add those foci to her practice.

Kim is a bit of a maverick. Instead of law school, she chose to study through the WSBA APR 6 Law Clerk program. It is based on the venerable practice of reading for the law which predates law schools by centuries. She combined working as a law clerk and intern with studying on her own and with a tutor the same courses offered in law schools. The requirements included reading 12,000 pages of casebooks and 48 monthly exams, all overseen by the state bar association. She took the same bar exam as law school graduates.

Kim Hammit loves challenges, maintaining high integrity and a sustainable lifestyle

Upon passing the bar, she used the skills she gained as a law clerk to open her own law firm in Port Orchard in 2013. 

She joined GSJones Law Group in 2018. “I decided to join forces with GSJones,” Kim said, “in order to devote more time to practicing law as opposed to managing a law firm. I was also drawn to the opportunity to further develop my skills with a highly-regarded and well-rounded practice.” She added, “I am passionate about serving each client with the highest integrity and love helping them overcome the challenges that bring them to see a lawyer.”

Kim, her husband, and three children enjoy the Peninsula outdoor lifestyle—camping, boating and gardening. Avid DIYers, Kim and her husband enjoy teaching sustainable living skills to their three children. The family raises livestock, gardens, hunts and fishes together. And most exciting of all, they are restoring a 1965 Chevy Bel Air. They love to tackle anything they can with their own hands, no matter how great the challenge.

Bar Admissions

Washington, 2013

Education

Washington State Bar Association APR 6 Law Clerk Program
Law School Equivalent, General Legal Studies
 – 

Kaplan University
B.S. – 2008
Major: Legal Studies

Past Employment Positions

Law Office of Kimberly S. Hammit, PLLC, 2013-2018

Law Office of Isaac A. Anderson, P.S., 

Kitsap Legal Services, Volunteer Attorney, 2013

Is joint ownership a good substitute for a will?

The short answer is probably not.joint ownership

 

Joint ownership is sometimes called the poor person’s will or the lazy will, although it is the most common form of estate planning. Its chief advantage is that it avoids probate. Yet, it brings with it a host of problems. Keep in mind that there are different kinds of joint ownership and all have their problems.

Here are the main ones:

1. The joint owners can be responsible for each other’s debt.

Creditors for your co-owners may attach your jointly owned property to satisfy their debts. Bankruptcy, a legal judgment against a co-owner, or a tax lien are most likely to cause problems. For example, suppose you add your daughter as a joint-owner of your home. If she defaults on a personal debt, your home could be sold to satisfy the debt. You will likely receive half the proceeds of the sale of the house, but you are out of a home with only half the funds you need to replace it. In some states tenancy by the entirety will protect each person from the debts of the other.

2. Your survivor is not bound by your wishes in passing on the joint property after your death.

Your survivor can do anything he wants to with the jointly-owned property he inherits. If you want to control how property is distributed to your children or charities, you need a will.

3. You may need approval from joint owners to sell or refinance the jointly-owned property, such as your home.

When you share ownership through a tenancy by the entirety, every joint owner you have must agree to major decisions. You may have been the sole decisionmaker of your business that you built from nothing. Yet, if you have made your children joint owners, major financial decisions will require their approval. Lines of credit increases and other routine matters can require a lot of discussion. These transactions can be further complicated if one of your co-owners becomes incapacitated or untrustworthy.

4. You co-owner may be able to make key decisions without your approval.

On the other hand, if you use a tenancy with right of survivorship, your co-owners can use or sell any part of the jointly owned property.

5. It can increase taxes.

Uh oh. You were hoping to save taxes through joint-ownership. To the contrary, you could incur additional taxes and even paperwork.

The gift tax

You can incur gift taxes and extra paperwork if you purchase a home with your money and put it in joint tenancy with a domestic partner. IRS rules consider that to be a gift whose value exceeds the gift limit.

Capital gains tax

IRS calculates capital gains on the sale of a home based on the increase in value from the date of purchase. If you sell a home which is jointly owned, all owners must pay taxes based on the total increase in value, regardless of when they became owners. On the other hand, capital gains accrue for heirs only based on the difference between the value when they inherited the home and the value at sale.

If joint ownership isn’t the answer, what is?

There are a number of options to ensure that your property reaches the people or causes you want with the least waste of time, effort and costs. Wills, trusts, and family-owned entities will serve you much better. Check with one of our estate planning attorneys today. A 30-minute consultation is free.

Norman Short, partner, 24 years experience in estate planning business and tax law

Robert Garrison, 38 years experience, including estate planning, consumer issues, and family law

Sylvia Seybold is often the choice of younger families. She combines estate planning experience with family law

wills and estate planning

Wills: Five reasons you need a will

 

Do you think that wills are only for the wealthy? Or do you believe that your trust, jointly owned property, or insurance with named beneficiaries takes care of everything? Think again. Wills are necessary for everyone. Here are five reasons why.

1. You decide who gets your prized bottle cap collection…

…and every other item that may have value and meaning for others. You also decide who gets your baseball card collection and the brooch that has been handed down in your family for generations. None of your possessions may have a high financial value. On the other hand, they may hold a huge emotional value. It allows you to send your love from beyond the grave by carefully considering the meaning that each has for you and for your intended recipient.

2. Save disagreements among your loved ones.

The aftermath of a death is a very emotional time. People who are grieving often cast their feelings on to the objects the deceased owned. Making a will is one of the most loving things you can do for those you will leave behind.

3. Ensure that your minor children feel more secure.

You want the new guardians for your children to be prepared to care for them immediately. A failure to make your decision clear and legally known can lead to confusion among the family. It will surely add to your children’s emotional burden. While naming a guardian cannot guarantee that there will be no challenges, it is a powerful tool for ensuring your children’s happiness. One step that will help, beyond naming guardians in the will, is letting your family and close friends know who you have named.

4. Name someone to handle the inherited finances for someone who needs help in that area.

Many people try to alleviate the need for a will by naming beneficiaries for insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial instruments. Yet, if any of your named beneficiaries need help with handling the inheritance, a will can make a huge difference. It can mean the difference between a comfortable future and a wasted inheritance.

5.  Protect your estate from theft by naming an executor.

Every year identity thieves steal the identities of more than 2.5 million deceased persons. They open credit card accounts, obtain loans and services. Without the authority of a will, thieves may steal your identity and deplete your estate before your beneficiaries can access your accounts.

Three of our attorneys are happy to help you with your will and estate plan. Feel free to contact them today.

Norman Short

Robert Garrison

Sylvia Seybold

Digital estate planning

What are your electronics, blog, and online photos worth?
digital estate planning

You may have worked with an estate planning attorney to carefully plan your family’s financial future. But did you include your digital assets in that plan. The average adult believes their electronics, socially shared content and blog are worth about $50,000. For many of us the most valuable asset is irreplaceable. Our photos and memories that we share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Other intellectual property may have a market value, a blog with a good following, for instance. Have you made plans for what happens to those when you die?

You probably need to redefine the role of your executor because standard wills and trusts do not address digital accounts.  The laborious process that Facebook requires for family members to get access to the account of a deceased loved one adds significant stress to an already overwhelming experience. Because most social accounts restrict access to the account holder and exclude even an executor without explicit written authorization, it is wise to amend your clause on the executor in your will or estate plan to grant permission.

Digital estate planning for financial information

Do you access your bank and investment accounts online? In addition, your insurance and other key documents may only exist in digital form. Your executor needs easy access to this information to settle your estate and close down accounts. We can’t overemphasize the importance of quickly accessing accounts. The chances of identity theft increase upon death.

Updating your digital estate plan

Do you already have an estate plan drawn up by an experienced estate planning attorney? Then, it will just take a quick meeting with an attorney knowledgeable with digital estate planning to eliminate social media problems for your heirs. At GSJones Law Group, we have three experienced estate planning attorneys. They can quickly add digital estate planning to your existing estate plan. And, if you have not gotten around to estate planning, there is no time like the present.

Norman Short

Bob Garrison

Sylvia Seybold

 

 

GSJones Law Group, P.S.

Estate Planning, wills and probate

estate planning

Estate planning is for all families

Estate planning law for all adults

Every responsible adult can benefit from estate planning. We tend to think that estate planning is only for the wealthy and elderly. Yet, if you have people who depend on you, one of the best things you can do for them is to begin planning now.

Wills, trusts, health care directives and powers of attorney protect you and the people you love. Make estate planning a part of your roadmap to your financial goals. Let us guide you as you chart your course to a secure future.

  • Your will: Family changes and moving to another state usually require changes to your will. Changing your will every time your financial situation changes significantly is a smart move. Our attorneys will also review your existing will to make sure it can withstand a challenge.
  • Trusts: Determine which type of trust best meets your needs. Is it a special needs trust, a testamentary trust, a revocable living trust, an irrevocable living trust or a charitable trust?
  • Powers of attorney and health care directives: Who would handle your affairs or make medical decisions for you if you became incapacitated?
  • Probate: Do you need guidance in fulfilling your duties as the executor of an estate following the death of a family member?

GSJones Law Group, P.S. has two attorneys experienced in estate planning law.

They can:

  • advise you of your rights;
  • help ensure that assets are transferred according to your wishes after death;
  • help prevent or respond to probate litigation;
  • assist out-of-town family members when a loved one dies in Washington, leaving estate matters to be resolved.

They are happy to advise you in special cases, such as:

  • Small probate cases, perhaps involving only a car or other limited amounts of property
  • Intestate succession: a case of someone dying without a will
  • Estate matters for individuals dying without children or identifiable next of kin (perhaps your neighbor or friend)

 Contact us to plan for your family’s future

Learn more…

GSJones Blog: Is joint ownership a good substitute for a will?

GSJones Blog: Five reasons you need a will

GSJones Blog: Digital estate planning

Washington State Bar Associate Consumer Guide on Trusts