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Death not the only factor when designing an estate plan

Sunny Nevada attracts retirees with estate planning needs. Too often the legal preparation of final plans gets delayed because people do not want to contemplate the end of their lives. A busy schedule can also create the excuse of not having time to make arrangements. Although emotionally difficult to address, death does not present the only concern when a person decides to create an estate plan.

The possibility of entering a long-term care nursing facility needs to be considered as well. It could alter the approach chosen for transferring an asset like a home into the hands of heirs. For example, one case showed that a family missed an opportunity to avoid taxes on $250,000 when a person had placed a primary residence into an irrevocable trust before entering an assisted living home.

Writing a will and developing a trust structure could provide a family with many benefits. The emotional well-being of family members could be supported because an estate plan alleviates financial burdens that can arise when someone dies without a will. The absence of an estate plan can also damage relationships among survivors if disputes over assets arise because the wishes of the deceased are unknown.

Trust planning can be important for a variety of reasons. Assets that are in a trust are for the most part distributed directly to the named beneficiaries in accordance with the trust's terms without having to go through the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive. An attorney can also suggest other ways in which a trust can reflect a client's wishes, such as making periodic distributions to a beneficiary who might not be able to handle a lump sum distribution under a will.

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