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Many people lack basic estate planning documents

All Nevada residents, even those who fall in the middle and lower income brackets, can benefit from having an estate plan. However, a recent survey found that over half of those living in the United States don't have basic plan documents. These documents may include a living will and health care proxy. A living will stipulates what type of medical treatment should be given or generally communicate a person's wishes if he or she becomes incapacitated.

A health care proxy is someone who can access medical records or help to make medical decisions on a person's behalf. The use of a will or trust can help communicate how assets should be transferred and why those decisions were made. A trust is helpful for parents who want their children to receive assets in a structured manner. Instructions in the trust will be carried out by a trustee who could be a family friend or other trusted party.

An estate plan will ideally contain a power of attorney. This power of attorney can make it easier for a spouse to pay bills if the money needed to make payments is in an incapacitated individual's name. Without the power of attorney, it might not be possible to access needed funds or make other decisions that are beneficial for an individual or household.

Including a last will and testament as part of an estate plan can make it easier to control of assets after passing on. An attorney could help a client create a will or make changes to one if necessary. An attorney may also be able to keep a copy of the will in his or her office. This could reduce the odds of a legal challenge before or after the client dies.

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