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July 2016 Archives

Benefits of living trusts

Nevada residents who are planning to retire should be aware of the benefits of establishing a living trust. A revocable living trust makes it possible to designate assets that will be directly passed on to beneficiaries and avoid the cumbersome probate process. Assets such as government bonds, bank accounts and pensions also go directly to the beneficiary without getting locked up in probate, so a living trust may not be necessary unless other assets are at stake.

Dying without a will in Nevada

If you or a loved one passes away without a will, commonly known as "dying intestate," the estate is distributed according to Nevada's intestate succession laws. The state of Nevada will appoint someone to serve as your personal representative who will be in charge of paying your outstanding taxes and other debts and distributing the estate. If there are no surviving relatives, either residing in Nevada or elsewhere, the Clark County Public Administrator will distribute the estate.

Questions to ask before leaving a vacation home to heirs

Nevada residents who are lucky enough to own a vacation home may want to leave the house to family members in their will so that future generations can enjoy it. Before deciding how to handle an asset like a vacation home in an estate plan, there are some key questions homeowners must ask.

Beneficiary details matter

Experts recommend regular reviews of estate planning details, which should include an evaluation of beneficiary designations on retirement accounts as well as insurance policies. A Nevada resident who neglects this could leave certain assets vulnerable to loss based on the inclusion of inappropriate individuals on policies or because of changes in laws related to those assets. Even with up-to-date information, an individual could make a costly error by failing to consult an estate planning professional before making or changing a designation.

Handling inheritance issues in Nevada

It is possible for a parent to leave his or her entire estate to a single child instead of dividing it equally among all the children. However, it is also possible for the heir to give a portion of that inheritance to his or her siblings. One method is to disclaim the inheritance within nine months, which could negate gift taxes if money were given to other parties. An issue to consider using that strategy is that the disclaimed inheritance may go that person's child instead.

Important considerations when creating a special needs trust

Parents of a special needs child in Nevada will have numerous issues to take into account when planning for the care of the child after they die or become incapacitated. Should they decide upon the creation of a special needs trust, the assignment of a trustee and privacy represent just two of the decisions that parents need to consider.

Trusts may not be enough to protect assets from creditors

Even Nevada residents who follow prudent financial plans may be unprepared for unexpected developments like lawsuits or medical problems. A small error in judgement behind the wheel could lead to a six figure civil judgement, and doctor and hospital bills can quickly add up. Those who wish to protect assets that were acquired after years of hard work from litigants or creditors sometimes feel that estate planning tools like revocable living trusts are all that they need, but financial experts recommend a more comprehensive approach.

Pros and cons of a Nevada trust

For individuals with an estate worth less than $5.45 million and couples with assets less than $11 million, a trust may not provide any tax advantages. This is because changes to estate tax laws provide exemptions that eliminate estate taxes for almost all Americans. In some cases, individuals who inherit assets through a trust as opposed to a traditional inheritance could face several disadvantages.

How a will is contested

Nevada residents may wonder what is involved in the process of contesting a will. A will can be contested by any beneficiary or by a child, spouse or next of kin. If there was a previous will, beneficiaries of that may also contest the current will. There is usually a time period within which the contest has to be mounted once the will has been admitted to probate, and this varies among the states.