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Las Vegas Estate Planning Law Blog

How living wills benefit all adults

Nevada residents and those living throughout the country can benefit from having a living will. This is true regardless of how old a person in. Younger adults could suffer mental or physical injuries in an accident, and having a proxy could make it easier to get the level of care that they want. Those who are diagnosed with a serious illness may want to create or adjust their living wills.

The exact language of the will should be geared toward how a disease is expected to progress. For instance, terminal cancer may require more urgent planning compared to heart disease or diabetes that may take have more of a long-term impact on a person's health. In addition to creating the living will itself, it is important to find someone who is capable of carrying out a person's wishes. In many cases, a person will choose his or her spouse to act as a proxy.

Are you dealing with an insolvent estate?

Growing up, you may have had a loved one that was always buying new items. You did not think too much about his or her financial situation as it was well known that your family member was wealthy. This person may have even been a parent of yours, and you may have reaped the benefits of that wealth.

Now that your loved one has passed, you face the challenge of completing the probate process as the executor. Hopefully, you will have a working knowledge of your loved one's financial situation, but unfortunately, you could end up in a situation where you learn that your family member had a considerable amount of debt. In fact, so much debt could exist that the estate is insolvent.

How to avoid common estate plan issues

Nevada residents who are fans of Stan Lee may still be mourning his death. However, there are estate planning lessons that can be learned from his passing. The first lesson is that an estate plan needs to be reviewed as a person ages. Another lesson is that it is important to choose the right people to carry out various roles, such as power of attorney.

There are many questions that a person can ask a financial planner or similar professional when creating a plan. For example, it is a good idea to ask how assets will be organized and managed while alive and after passing. It is also worth asking how it will be determined that a person is experiencing cognitive decline. This is critical because it means that another party would make decisions on that person's behalf. In some cases, that would result in a family member or close friend who would need to be privy to the details of the estate plan.

How beneficiaries can effectively work with trustees

A trust beneficiary is allowed to receive a copy of the trust document that he or she is named in. This is true in Nevada and most other states. At a minimum, the beneficiary is entitled to receive information pertaining to his or her inheritance contained within that document. The first step in resolving a trust dispute is for the beneficiary to contact the trustee about the problem.

In some cases, the issue could be nothing more than a misunderstanding. For instance, the beneficiary could have read the document wrong or misread a key term within it. Those who have specific concerns about terms of a trust not being met should schedule a meeting with the trustee. If that fails to remedy the problem, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney. However, it is generally in the interest of all interested parties to avoid going to court.

The benefits of a silent trust

Some people in Nevada who are creating an estate plan might be interested in creating what is known as a silent trust. This differs from most other types of trusts because in a silent trust, a trustee does not have the same obligations to keep beneficiaries informed.

Usually, a silent trust is an irrevocable trust. The terms may vary. The trust will name the beneficiaries, but a trustee might be prohibited from giving those beneficiaries certain pieces of information about the trust. This can be up to and including not informing the beneficiaries that the trust exists at all.

About irrevocable trusts

Nevada residents who want to develop a successful estate plan should make sure that the plan efficiently transfers their wealth to their heirs while reducing any taxes that may be assessed. One particular legal device that can help accomplish this is an irrevocable trust.

When an irrevocable trust is used, the assets transferred into the trust are removed from the estate of the grantor. Many people who use an irrevocable trust in their estate plan believe that it will help protect the assets intended for their heirs, as use of the trust require that the grantor gives up complete control of the assets placed into the trust. However, it is important that grantors understand the effectiveness of the trust in situations in which a beneficiary may be financially irresponsible or gets a divorce.

Everyone needs a will

Perhaps it is the acknowledgment of mortality that prevents many people in Nevada from taking the time to create an estate plan or simply procrastination. Whatever the reason, having a plan in place provides security and protection for one's family and provides peace of mind for the individual. There are a number of different and distinct documents that should be in most everyone's estate plan, and a will is a basic one and a good starting point for the neophyte.

In its basic form, a last will and testament serves to specify how the decedent's property and possessions should be distributed upon death. A person is named executor to oversee the process, which in most instances includes first assessing and paying debts to creditors before distribution of assets takes place.

Creating a trust for educational purposes

Parents in Nevada and throughout the country may want to leave money to their children for educational purposes. Generally speaking, this is best done by creating a trust. Individuals can choose between a pot trust or creating a separate document for each child. With a pot trust, all the beneficiaries will request money from one lump sum until there is no more money left. However, this could mean that one child gets more than his or her siblings.

There may also be issues with a pot trust if siblings are significantly younger than each other. When the youngest child is old enough to go to college, there may little or no money left to cover his or her educational expenses. By creating separate trusts, there is a set amount of money that is available to each child. However, this may not necessarily leave enough to cover the entire cost of a child's college education.

Should you include a no contest clause in your will?

You may have watched your family squabble over various topics for years. Now that you have started considering your estate plans, you may only think of ways that your family will nitpick your choices and potentially cause serious legal fights over your estate. Understandably, you feel stressed that your instructions will only lead to more disputes.

Fortunately, you have a number of options for lessening the likelihood of conflict after your passing. Just creating an estate plan is a beneficial step as your family will at least have some basis to follow, and you could discuss your wishes with your family before it goes into effect in hopes of helping them understand your wishes. Of course, with a family prone to fighting, you may want to take further action.

Estate plans require periodic follow ups

Estate planning in Nevada is a continuing process. For many people, there is follow-up required even after a will has been drafted and trusts, living wills or powers of attorney have been established. People should make sure that beneficiaries are properly designated, trusts are funded and the terms of the estate plan are made known by certain people. It's important that estate plan information is accessible, and changes in circumstances often necessitate updates to the plan.

Beneficiary designations are often the most important follow-up items in estate planning. Life insurance policies, retirement accounts and transfer-on-death accounts generally do not pass via the will. Rather, they pass automatically to the designated beneficiary. The appropriate forms should be filed with the insurer or account custodian.