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Understanding wills in Nevada

Residents in Nevada may benefit from learning more about the laws governing how wills are handled in the state. Section 133.020 states that anyone of sound mind and age, described as being over 18-years-old, is permitted to dispose of their estate by last will, including real and personal assets, minus the payment of their outstanding debts. In order to be executed, a will must meet certain criteria and be drafted in written, electronic or holographic form, as defined by state law.

Nevada law requires the owner of the estate, technically referred to as the testator, to sign the finalized will in the presence of two competent witnesses who are also required to provide their signatures with the testator. The will may also refer to a statement of disposal for other nonmonetary assets or evidence of indebtedness. In order to be considered admissible in court, the statement must contain the written or electronic signature of the testator, a title indicating purpose, a date of execution and a reference to the will.

State law permits creditors to serve as competent witnesses for a will, regardless of having any charges on the testator's estate. Wills drafted in other states are recognized as legally executable in Nevada as long as they are in compliance with the laws of the domicile state. In order for an electronic will to be formally executed, it must be properly maintained by the custodian appointed by the testator.

People who need help with will planning often benefit from consulting legal counsel. Lawyers may be able to help estate owners complete the process so the state does not have final authority over the assets in the event of an untimely death. Legal counsel may also be effective in assisting people who are interested in establishing a living trust as an alternative to the will.

Source: Nevada State Legislature, "CHAPTER 133 - WILLS", November 03, 2014

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