old man signing documentsThis is the second post in a series of articles which will discuss the need for estate planning for Las Vegas residents. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It is important to understand the purpose of an estate plan and how it affects matters if you are incapacitated or pass away. Losing a loved one can be a stressful and burdensome time. An estate plan allows you to simplify the legal process for your loved ones and prevent legal challenges or complications. If you or someone you love needs assistance, then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

Having an estate plan prevents a Nevada resident from dying “intestate”

Without a valid estate plan, your assets may be subject to Nevada’s intestacy laws. Dying intestate means that the default process outlined in Nevada’s statutes will determine who will receive your assets or make decisions regarding your estate. This may not align with your preferences and could lead to disputes among family members. The intestacy laws in Nevada provide that if you pass away with a surviving spouse and children, your probate assets will be divided equally with 50% distributed to your spouse and 50% to your children. This can result in minor children inheriting property or assets required to be divided differently than you would have intended. A valid and binding will or trust will ensure your wishes are met regarding distribution of your assets. The Court will be required to follow the provisions in your will or trust instead of the laws of intestacy.

Your will or trust will also allow you to choose a personal representative or trustee, who is authorized to administer your estate. Having a legally binding will can prevent infighting amongst family members. In choosing to appoint a personal representative, it is important to consider family dynamics and the importance of having a single decision maker. If you have minor children, it is imperative to prepare a will to appoint your chosen guardians. These are the individuals who would have legal custody of your children if both parents were deceased. Without a will, Nevada laws will provide a priority of persons who may be appointed as personal representative or guardian. This order of succession may not be consistent with your wishes. Drafting a will is your opportunity to decide the person who is legally authorized to administer your estate and oversee your planning goals.

A comprehensive estate plan is more effective than simply having a will

An estate plan includes more than just a will. A comprehensive plan will include financial and medical power of attorneys, a living will or advanced directive, as well as a will or trust. Estate planning involves planning for an uncertain future. Planning ahead is crucial to ensure you get to decide what happens to your assets at your death and who is able to make decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself. Additionally, estate planning involves addressing how your accounts are distributed at death. Your will or trust will not change beneficiary designations or rights of survivorships. An experienced estate planning lawyer will advise you on how to update your accounts to reflect your wishes included in your documents.

It is important to meet with counsel to know the details of how to legally address your wishes. A lawyer can guide you through an audit of your financial accounts to ensure that your goals established in your estate plan govern your assets. Our Las Vegas estate planning attorney can assist you with the complexities of completing your estate plan. If you or someone you know needs assistance then contact our office online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation.