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Analyzing the effectiveness of an estate plan

Nevada residents who are creating an estate plan may want to consider an estate analysis and a settlement cost analysis. The former reviews the current arrangements to make sure they are consistent and effective. For example, an estate analysis could reveal that a will conflicts with a testator's beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and similar accounts. Beneficiary designations override wills. A settlement cost analysis examines the costs of various options for estate planning and takes into account factors such as inflation and charitable bequests.

While a person with a complex estate will need a more complex estate plan, even those with few assets needs some kind of plan. Some points to keep in mind include choosing an executor for a will and trustees for a trust, creating a health care proxy or living will in case of incapacity, and appointing a guardian for any minor children.

People should make sure they have enough insurance to cover things such as estate settlement expenses. If the estate is large enough that estate taxes will be an issue, they should make sure they are taking advantage of gift giving and other opportunities to reduce the estate's value. A management succession plan is critical for business owners, and a buy/sell agreement may also be necessary.

An attorney can discuss will planning and trusts with clients and their advantages and disadvantages. For example, some people may think only wealthy families need trusts, but a trust can help manage assets for minors or relatives with special needs. Trusts may also distribute assets more efficiently. On the other hand, trusts have fees attached that might make a will a better choice for a less complex estate.

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