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Creating a rationale for an estate plan

Some people in Nevada who have a will might want to consider whether it is enough to convey their intentions to loved ones. Often, even with a will and other estate planning paperwork in place, families argue about a testator's intentions. No asset is too insignificant to spark this kind of argument. One brother and sister fought over their father's surfboard in court and ended up spending more than $750,000.

However, it is possible to leave documents for family members that explain the reasoning behind will planning and other decisions. The first step is to make a list of documents, including sentimental items, and their value. Next, a person should write a letter of intent and instruction. This letter explains the rationale behind the estate planning decisions and who receives what. It may reduce the likelihood that family members will challenge elements of the plan by saying they understand what the person really intended to do.

People also should consider who they have appointed for various roles in the estate plan and whether they have made the appropriate choices. Depending on the plan, there may be an executor, one or more trustees and a guardian for minor children. All documents should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that they are consistent with changes in the family.

One document it is important to review regularly is the beneficiary designation. This may be used to name someone to inherit a retirement plan or life insurance policy, and it is easily overlooked. As a result, an ex-spouse or someone else who is no longer a part of a person's life can end up inheriting a significant amount of the estate. Powers of attorney that appoint people to handle medical and financial decisions if the principal is incapacitated should also be reviewed.

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