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Las Vegas Estate Planning Law Blog

Are you thinking about disinheriting your children?

Though you may have felt a great sense of joy when you became a parent, the relationships with your kids may have crumbled over the years. As a result, you may feel as if you have little relationship with them at all. Now that you have decided to begin estate planning, you may wonder what your children could potentially inherit in the event of your death and whether you could prevent such action.

As you create your will, you may have the ability to exclude your children from obtaining any of your estate. This action may not be as simple as desired, as Nevada state law regarding inheritances could come into play, but it does not have to prove impossible either.

Executors may have unique tasks for wine collections

When an estate holder dies in Nevada, a number of different duties fall upon the estate executor. The executor must, for example, take all estate assets into possession, arrange for payment of taxes and debts and then oversee the distribution of property to heirs and beneficiaries. In a case where the deceased had a wine collection, the unique nature of the wine as an asset could make matters more complicated.

Wine is an asset that is perishable, unlike most items that hold or gain value. Among the first steps for any executor in dealing with a wine collection will be to arrange for proper storage and handling. The greatest threats are fluctuating temperatures or humidity, light and breakage. It is often a good idea to insure the collection before it is moved.

The importance of communication in estate planning

Some Nevada residents may find it difficult to talk to loved ones about estate planning and finances. It may help to think instead of this as a conversation about values. With partners, this is a conversation that can happen throughout the relationship, and with children, an age-appropriate conversation can start when they are young.

Values focus on what is important to the family. This may include attitudes toward spending and saving and answering questions such as whether assets will be divided equally between beneficiaries or based on something else. Whatever decision people make, they should be sure to discuss the rationale behind it with their heirs to avoid feelings of bitterness. People might also want to consider who they would choose to make health care choices for them in the event of incapacity and what they envision for end-of-life care.

Estate planning and fiduciary responsibility

When Nevada residents create a trust, one or more individuals will be appointed to have some fiduciary responsibility. It is important for a person who has been appointed a trustee or who has other fiduciary duties connected with an estate to fully understand those duties and the liabilities associated with them. A fiduciary might want to work with a professional to identify potential issues and risks with the trust.

Trustee agreements can include provisions that limit liability. Beneficiaries and fiduciaries can also work together to ensure that the trustees remain accountable. The creators of the trusts, can also consider insurance to minimize risk.

Are you aware of your non-probate assets?

The types of assets a person owns can impact how his or her estate closes after death. The manner in which you plan for your family to address these assets can also impact the settling of your estate. If you hope to ensure that your estate administration goes smoothly for the sake of your surviving family, understanding your assets could prove beneficial.

If you create a will, you can address your assets and how you would like those assets distributed after your death. However, you may have non-probate assets, and these items do not need to go through the probate process. If you do not feel certain as to which of your property may count as non-probate assets, you may wish to consider the following examples.

What to know about choosing a trustee

Nevada residents who prepare a living trust in most cases name themselves as the trustee. In many cases, spouses are both named as trustees. However, it is possible that each spouse may pass away sooner than expected. To account for this, a successor trustee is usually designated in the document.

Parents often name their oldest child to act as successor trustee. They may also choose to name multiple children to fill the role together, and this may be a good idea if the children live nearby or neither parent has been divorced. Friends may act as a successor trustee, and if an individual does ask a friend to serve in this manner, it may be a good idea to pay a fee for his or her services.

Ways to provide care for pets after passing on

According to a National Pet Owners Survey, 85 million Americans own a pet. For many in Nevada and throughout the country, they are treated like a part of the family. To make sure that a pet is cared for if its owner dies, it may be possible to establish a pet trust. In other cases, it might be advisable to designate a person or organization to provide care if its owner cannot do so.

If a beneficiary to the pet is named, that beneficiary inherits the pet when its owner passes away. it may be a good idea to also give money to the beneficiary to meet the animal's needs. The same is true if an individual chooses to create a pet trust. It is important to keep the average life expectancy in mind when funding such a trust.

Important aspects of estate planning

It may be particularly important for women in Nevada to ensure that their estate plan is in order since women often live longer than men and may outlive their husbands. Women should make sure that there is adequate life insurance for them to cover expenses if their spouse does die first. They might also want to consider purchasing a life insurance policy themselves to cover any expenses that may arise in their own estate.

People should inventory assets and understand their worth. These assets could include retirement accounts, investment accounts and checking and savings accounts. Estate planning involves preparing for how those assets will be distributed. A person may also want to make plans that account for the possibility of being mentally or physically incapacitated.

A closer look at trusts for education funding

When Nevada families want to invest in the education of their next generation, trusts could provide flexibility and tax savings. Trusts allow people to set up their own investment plan instead of being limited to the investments allowed through a 529 education savings plan. The terms of a trust could also encompass more than paying for a young person's education. A trustee could have the ability to distribute funds for other expenses, such as medical bills or paying for a home.

Unlike a 529 plan, a trust could accept other types of assets, such as a life insurance policy. The assets in a trust could also endure beyond a beneficiary's time in school. Protection of wealth could continue as the trust keeps the funds beyond the reach of creditors. Additionally, the rules of a trust could prevent a beneficiary from squandering money or losing it in a divorce.

The advantages of a power of attorney

One aspect of an estate plan for Nevada residents may be a power of attorney. A power of attorney appoints someone to act on the principal's behalf. It may be durable or nondurable, and the former may be a better choice than the latter.

The reason for this is that the durable power of attorney can be useful if a person becomes incapacitated. A nondurable power of attorney does not apply if the person is incapacitated. With a durable power of attorney, it is possible to file tax returns and do other tasks that may be necessary. A person who is uncomfortable with another person having the ability to do this when there is no incapacitation might want to look into a springing power of attorney. This is a type of durable power of attorney that kicks in when the person becomes incapacitated.