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Las Vegas Estate Planning Law Blog

Health care estate planning for young adults

Most college students in Nevada and around the country spend very little time thinking about estate planning, but many of the documents found in a comprehensive estate plan can be of great value even to the young and healthy. After all, college students are adults who are legally responsible for decisions regarding their health. While it's not pleasant to think about, deadly accidents can happen to young people.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevents parents from accessing the health records or information of their adult children even if they are still covered under a family insurance plan. This makes it extremely difficult for them to step in and provide assistance in a medical emergency. Such a situation could be prevented by drafting a HIPPA authorization, which would authorize doctors or hospitals to release information to a designated third party.

Tips for making an estate plan better

Many Nevada residents may have prepared an estate plan at some point in their lives and assumed that is sufficient, but this is not always the case. Estate plans can often be improved or may need changes over time. For example, people may not have life insurance policies. A life insurance policy can have a number of uses. It can provide immediate funds for expenses associated with the estate. It can also help the family financially if they were depending on the income of the decedent. Additionally, life insurance can provide tax-free funding to the next generation.

People may also want to consider having a trust. This allows the estate to avoid the probate process, and it can be useful in a number of ways. A trust is not the right vehicle for people who are short on funds and whose estates are relatively straightforward, but others may benefit from it.

Are you considering appointing one of your children as executor?

If you had it your way, you would be in charge of any affair you needed handled. You know yourself and your personal matters best, so why would you want anyone else to step in? Of course, a time will come when you are no longer around, and someone will need to settle your final affairs.

In many ways, you can handle your final affairs through your estate plan. You can detail who gets what, how you want specific matters handled and, most importantly, who will be in charge of handling everything. Appointing your executor may be a vital point of estate planning you are keen to address.

Tips to help families create an estate plan

The last thing that most Nevada families want to do is sit around the dinner table discussing an estate plan or trusts. No one likes to think of their inevitable mortality. However, having the right plan in place can be a huge blessing during a time of extreme loss.

The wording that is used can make speaking of a person's own mortality more easy to hear. Instead of specifically using the word death, it may be better to talk about when family members are on their own or when the individual setting up the estate plan is gone. Using softer ways to frame the conversation can help the entire family move past the morbidity and think about how to design the most efficient plan.

E-wills offer convenience but may have risks

Many Nevada residents understand the importance of preparing a will. Thanks to the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, residents of this state can execute a will electronically. Some analysts predict that other states will adopt the same legislation in the future.

Individuals who live in states where preparing a will online is not possible often feel frustrated. They understand how important it is to have a will, but they feel like needing to visit an attorney in person is too expensive or inconvenient. Many other tasks can be accomplished via the internet, so they wonder why it's not possible to execute a will or perform some other estate planning tasks online.

Points to keep in mind when preparing a will

No one likes thinking about dying, but it is a part of life. If a person, especially a parent, fails to prepare a will, they can put their loved ones in a bind. Here are a few things that Nevada residents should keep in mind as they go about estate planning and prepare their wills.

Preparing a will is not something that a person will want to put off. If a person dies and they do not have a will, the state is likely to become involved and then go about dividing up all the person's assets. The last thing a person wants to do is put off decisions regarding their assets, belongings and children.

Creating a trust to benefit adult children

Parents of adult children in Nevada who have significant assets might wonder what they should do with their assets in an estate plan to protect them for their children. An example might be a couple who has about $1.5 million in assets and no debt, including no mortgage.

That couple would have several options depending on their goals and the family situation. One option might be to create a lifetime trust to support the surviving spouse. When that spouse dies, the assets could also go into trusts for the children. They might then get access to the trusts at a certain age or at some other milestone.

Using an estate account during probate

The executor of an estate holds a great deal of responsibility. If you hold this position, you will likely have to field questions from beneficiaries and other individuals associated with the estate who want information about how probate is going. You will also need to make sure that you handle each step of the probate process appropriately.

Because people can become suspicious any time another person handles a loved one's money, you may find yourself facing the scrutiny of your relatives and other parties. Because you want to do everything by the book, you will need to open an estate account.

Estate planning for blended families

Couples in Nevada that marry later in life with children from prior relationships may need to pay special attention to estate planning. When people create a will, they are making decisions about how they want their assets to be distributed. It can be important for people to think about all of the complicated family relationships involved to help ensure the outcomes that they desire. If a person leaves their entire estate to their spouse, it becomes his or her property. This means that there is no guarantee that those assets will be later passed on to children or any other party.

This is a special concern for blended families, especially since each partner may be bringing their own children as priorities to the relationship. Spouses may want to consider estate planning options that pass on the majority of their assets to one another but provide security for each partner's child or children. Many people steer clear of open discussion of these issues, but clear communication and consultation with professionals can be excellent ways to avoid future pain and serious financial conflict in the family.

Tips for choosing a trustee

Nevada residents may benefit from using a trust as part of their estate plans. However, determining what type of trust to have is just one issue that they will need to contend with. It is also important to spend time thinking about who would be the best fit to act as the trustee. Ideally, the person who is chosen to fill the role will understand what the grantor wants to accomplish with this tool.

Furthermore, a trustee will need to be able to manage money and make distributions in a manner consistent with the trust's language. Therefore, it may not always be the best idea to choose a friend or family member to act as a trustee. Such a person may have a hard time saying no to people regardless of if doing so is in a beneficiary's best interest.

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