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July 2014 Archives

Common estate planning errors that should be avoided

Nevada residents who are making plans for the distribution of their estates should keep in mind that the process might have a number of pitfalls. Errors made while making an estate plan can result in the wrong people receiving assets or in assets being tied up in litigation for years.

Hoffman estate left to mother of his children

Nevada fans of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman may be surprised to learn that the actor did not form trusts for his three children. His lawyer recently indicated that the actor rejected any form of trusts. His will, written in 2004, indicated that everything was to be left to his partner, Mimi O'Donnell. While the couple never married, the court documents indicate that the woman was treated in the same way a spouse would be treated. Additionally, she is the mother of all of his children. He reportedly told his accountant that she would care for the children if he died.

Liability for credit card debt when cardholder dies

If a Nevada resident dies with an outstanding credit card balance, what happens to that obligation? The answer to that question depends on the circumstances surrounding the balance and if that person was the only one who was obligated to repay that debt. In most cases, the estate of the deceased person is required to pay that debt if there are sufficient assets to do so.

The role of trusts in estate planning

Nevada residents who are being to plan how their estate is administered after they pass away might benefit from information in a recent article regarding trusts funds. Trust funds can be used to care for people when they no longer have the capacity to care for themselves. An individual can set up a care management trust with themselves as beneficiary and another person, who can make decisions for the beneficiary about issues such as moving into care facilities and end-of-life care, as trustee. A trust may be the best way to protect assets that pass to minor children from parents or grandparents before they come of age.

Trusts may be preferable to wills for family privacy

Many Nevada residents know that celebrities have little privacy during their lifetime. Lou Reed, the consummate performer, was on the world's stage for decades as a guitarist with The Velvet Underground, songwriter and solo performer. Yet, when he died in 2013, he may have been able to keep the distribution of his estate private if he had chosen to use a revocable living trust instead of a will.

Avoiding responsibility when acting under a power of attorney

nevada residents may be interested in an article discussing some of the potential pitfalls when acting under a durable power of attorney for an older relative. Care must be taken when signing documents in order to avoid incurring any financial responsibility.

Prioritizing an update to an estate plan

Nevada residents are encouraged to make periodic reviews of their estate plans so that changes can be made in a timely way as needed. Many people believe that their estate planning is completed when the documents are signed and filed. However, failing to pay attention to these documents in the future could result in difficulties for surviving heirs. Research indicates that most estate plans are at least five years old, even those involving extremely sizeable estates.

Selecting a trustee for a trust

Nevada residents are well aware of the importance of estate planning. Those who pass away without leaving a valid will and testament are leaving their worldly possessions to the say of probate court. However, the choice of who should administrate the estate and manage a trust can be as critical as writing the will itself.

Tips for writing a will

Nevada residents should be cautious in making a will. While this may seem like a step that ensures that one's wishes are carried out after one's death, individuals should bear in mind that a will can be challenged in court. However, there are some ways to lessen the chances of this happening.