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Making sure that a person's final wishes are honored

Nevadans with blended families may have questions about how to protect their assets when they die. These concerns can be particularly strong if both spouses have kids from prior marriages. There are several ways a person can help to make sure that his or her spouse will honor the will and agreement on how the assets will pass.

When one spouse dies, his or her assets pass to the other spouse in most cases. This means that the surviving spouse might then ignore his or her spouse's wishes and pass the assets on to only the surviving spouse's children, potentially leaving the decedent's children without anything. In order to prevent this from happening, the spouses could sign a contract agreeing to honor each other's wills.

Another option is for each spouse to establish revocable living trusts and to fund them. When a spouse dies, his or her trust will become irrevocable, meaning the surviving spouse cannot change it. Each trust could be funded by each spouse's separate assets, and the joint assets held by the couple could be split evenly between the trust accounts. If one of the children has special needs, a special needs trusts can help make certain that the child is cared for properly.

Proper estate planning can help to reduce potential taxes, prevent will contests and make certain that those who are left behind will have the care that they need. People who are worried that their wishes might not be carried out may want to meet with an estate planning attorney for advice. A lawyer might be able to recommend various tools to use that could help ensure that the client's wishes will be honored.

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