Changing the terms of a will in Nevada

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2019 | Blog

Nevada residents who are legally competent and 18 or older may draft a last will and testament. They may then amend or revoke a will when their situations change. They can also make changes as often as they wish. However, making frequent amendments could raise questions about the testator’s state of mind and lead to speculation that changes were being made under duress.

The simplest way to change a will is to draft a new one. The new will should contain a statement making clear that all prior wills and codicils are revoked. To avoid possible disputes between heirs, it is also advisable to destroy all copies of the old will when a new will is drafted. Individuals who wish to make only minor changes and do not want to draft a new will can add what is known as a codicil to their existing will. However, codicils, like wills, are not valid unless they signed, witnessed and dated.

Wills are commonly changed when testators marry, divorce or have children, but it may also be prudent to amend these documents after moving to a state with different laws. This is frequently done when people from other parts of the county move to Nevada. Most states determine what assets spouses own based on common law principles, but western states like Nevada have strict community property laws.

Nevada also has asset protection laws that can make trusts extremely useful for estate planning. An attorney with experience in this area could explain that a Nevada resident can be the beneficiary of a trust and also its settlor. This allows them to continue to benefit from the assets that they place into the trust. However, an attorney could also advise an individual considering such a trust to appoint at least one co-trustee to protect assets placed into the trust from creditors.