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Complex circumstances require careful will planning

Many Nevada residents assume their estate plan will be a straightforward one. While this is often true for individuals with modest assets and an uncomplicated family life, people who have been married more than once, who own a business or who have significant assets will likely need to protect their estate with a more robust plan.

After his death, many legal and financial analysts praised the cultural icon Hugh Hefner's foresight in the way he constructed his plan. Hefner had been married multiple times and his current wife was significantly younger than him. In addition, he had four children from his marriages and still owned a significant percentage of Playboy, the company he founded. An inadequate estate plan might have been a recipe for financial and intra-family disaster.

While his complicated circumstances could have been a recipe for a lengthy legal battle, his estate plan makes this unlikely. His current wife was explicitly excluded from the will because he had provided for her through trusts prior to his death. His will also clearly divided the rest of his assets between his heirs and charity. As a result, Mr. Hefner's family is in a position to move on without needless and expensive legal squabbling. Perhaps even more important, Mr. Hefner's significant wealth is preserved rather than being spent on legal and court fees.

Individuals who are concerned that their current estate plan may not fully address their circumstances may benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's family, financial and business circumstances and make recommendations that can ensure that the client's wishes are respected while also reducing family tensions.

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