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Estate planning: a task for Nevada’s young, too

Men and women in the early years of having children, establishing comfortable livelihoods and acquiring homes likely don't give much thought to dying. It may be that they don't yet have a lot of wealth, so asset distribution and complex estate matters aren't noteworthy. But in reality, people under age 50 do die, and intestate succession in Nevada can govern what happens next.

Dying intestate means there is no will specifying who will become guardian of any minor children and how money and property must be distributed to one's heirs. Without estate planning that includes a will, health care power of attorney and in some cases trusts, the probate court determines how assets are distributed to survivors. According to experts, taking the time early on to put the basics in place will allow your particular wishes to stand should the unexpected materialize.

States approach probate differently. Clark County husbands and wives who don't put estate protection in place may find that they are not the sole heir when a spouse dies. Without a will providing otherwise, it's possible that assets are divided among children and parents at the discretion of the court. Even more importantly, if both pass away, care of minor children – physical, emotional and financial well-being – can be given to someone who is not the parents' preferred choice.

Financial experts note the three main components of simple estate planning are a good place for younger adults to start. A simple will, health care and durable powers of attorney are a basic protective foundation on which future estate planning and asset protection can build.

It's important for young and middle-aged individuals and spouses to recognize that dying doesn't affect only old folks. Taking control of what can be controlled when conversation, decisions and experienced advice can be had will allow for peace of mind that your loved ones' future is as secure as you can make it.

Source: CBS Boston, "Estate Planning For All Ages" Dee Lee, May. 02, 2014

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