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The role of a will in an estate plan

Nevada residents may be able to achieve their estate planning goals with just a will. However, for many, wills represent the first step of creating an estate plan that truly meets a person's needs. To transfer assets to beneficiaries in a timely manner, an individual should consider transfer-on-death or payable-on-death designations. The use of beneficiary designations can also be appropriate depending on a person's needs.

It is important to point out that these designations overrule any asset transfer instructions written into a will. A comprehensive estate plan can also help a person take care of situations that could arise while still alive. Adding powers of attorney or advance medical directives give an individual greater say over how his or her affairs are managed. They can also give a person more say over what types of treatment are administered while he or she is incapacitated.

Ultimately, a will can be a great start for those who are thinking about their estate plan needs. Ideally, everyone will create one as part of their plan as doing so can provide clarity for loved ones. Individuals could benefit from talking with an attorney to determine what types of other documents can be used to best meet a person's needs while alive and after passing on.

While a will may be an effective estate planning tool by itself, other tools may also be available to meet a person's needs. For instance, a trust generally keeps assets out of an estate, which may keep that estate out of probate. As a general rule, the use of beneficiary designations can also help to avoid probate and transfer assets in a timely manner. Those who need help creating or reviewing an estate plan may benefit by talking with an attorney.

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