Wills, probate, power of attorney, medical directives, trusts and the list goes on and on. The words are familiar; however, the exact definitions may not be. Many throughout Nevada do not recognize the importance of each of these items as individual pieces and then as part of an overall estate plan. In fact, quite a few individuals mistakenly believe that these estate planning items only apply to wealthy individuals and families.
First on the agenda for just about any person should be a will. This document serves to state the individual’s wishes regarding how his or her property should be distributed upon death. The will should detail specific assets and beneficiaries. It should also identify an executor to manage the estate and take care of specific details.
Along with the will, a letter of instruction should be written. Unlike the will, this letter does not become public knowledge. This letter can serve to direct personal thoughts or comments to beneficiaries. It is also where specific information such as account numbers, user names and passwords can be included.
Two other important pieces of the estate planning puzzle are a power of attorney and medical directives. A power of attorney will name an individual who has the authority to act on the individual’s behalf in case that individual is unable to do so. This will allow the individual’s financial affairs to be taken care of even if the individual is incapacitated. Another important consideration is advanced medical directives. These are the individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment.
Estate planning is an important consideration for all Nevada residents to think about putting into effect. Regardless of the specific net worth of the individual, almost every Nevada resident has something of value to pass on; or, at the least, wishes to have a say in who can make decisions for them if they become unable to do so. The estate planning process will ensure that each individual’s desires are made known and respected when the time comes.
Source: heraldextracom, “Estate planning: It’s not only for wealthy families, it is for everyone”, Amy Marty, May 21, 2014