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Important issues to address during estate planning

Nevada residents wishing to put their final affairs in order have many legal tools at their disposal to create a comprehensive end-of-life package. Wills or trusts, or a combination, can be used to distribute money, real estate, and other assets. These legal tools typically prevent the state from making decisions about an estate after someone dies. The parent of young children may use a will to appoint a guardian.

In addition to preparing a will or trust, a person should gather and organize all documents pertinent to the estate, such as deeds to property, life insurance policies, bank accounts and retirement accounts, and place them in a secure location known to one or more trusted people. Beneficiary designations should be updated if a death, divorce, marriage or birth occurs.

Estate planning also presents an opportunity for a person to formally declare wishes about medical treatment after becoming incapacitated. An advanced medical directive could state decisions about using life-support technology. Surviving family members will also want to know what kind of funeral, if any, that the person desires. Funeral arrangements can be made ahead of time and even paid for so that family members do not have to organize the funeral amid intense grief.

The advice of an attorney frequently plays a role in will planning. After learning how a client wants to distribute assets, an attorney could inform the client about the potential tax consequences for heirs. When writing the will, an attorney could provide advice about how to select an executor.

Source: Yahoo Finance, "A Will Can Be a Beautiful Thing", Marguerita Cheng, April 10, 2017

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