Trust documentsThis is the fifth post in our series addressing the need for estate planning for Las Vegas, Nevada residents. Our last article discussed the legal requirements for a Nevada power of attorney. Estate planning documents are important to ensure you get to decide who makes decisions for you during any incapacity and that your final affairs are handled according to your wishes. Most people do not understand that a Last Will and Testament serves only as instructions to the probate court for administration of your estate. A thorough estate plan can allow for your loved ones to avoid the probate process altogether. This article will address the many benefits of having a living trust in your estate plan. If you or someone you love needs assistance contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.

A Nevada estate can bypass probate through the use of a living trust

A living trust is a legal arrangement that is established during your lifetime and can have ownership of your real and personal property, cash accounts, and investments. The living trust is typically revocable and can serve as a valuable estate planning tool. Once you transfer your assets to your living trust, the assets are no longer considered probate assets. If your estate has no probate assets, you can completely avoid probate administration. This is beneficial because probate administration is often costly and burdensome. During your lifetime, any income earned by assets in your trust continues to be includable on your personal tax returns. The living trust agreement can be amended or revoked by you at any time, as long as you are of sound mind. Through the use of a living trust, your loved ones can bypass probate and immediately access your accounts after your death. This allows for a private and simpler administration of your estate.

Funding your living trust with your assets is necessary to ensure your estate avoids probate. Funding is the process of retitling all of your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust. Most individuals do not understand that funding is not automatic after executing a living trust. For example, if you create a trust agreement and fail to transfer your personal residence to your trust by a new deed, the property will still go through probate at your death. If you had transferred your residence to the name of your trust during your lifetime, your successor Trustee would have immediate access to the property without court involvement. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to prepare your living trust and assist you with how to fund the different types of assets you own into your trust.

Living trusts give Las Vegas residents more flexibility over the distribution of their assets

During your lifetime, it is common that you will be the designated initial trustee. This means that you have the legal authority to act on behalf of the trust. As creator of the trust and sole beneficiary, you have full control and access over the assets. If you become incapacitated or pass away, your trust document will provide for a successor trustee of your choosing. This successor trustee is required to follow fiduciary obligations and act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries. Additionally, the trustee will be required to follow the instructions you provide for in the document regarding distribution of assets. A trust can last for many years after your death and allow you to manage the assets you leave for your loved ones. This can provide limitations on distributions in an effort to preserve the assets for multiple generations. It can also provide for flexibility of your beneficiaries while also maintaining creditor protection.

For example, a trust may dictate that your beneficiary can receive distributions of principal and income for their health, education, maintenance, or support. This requires the beneficiary to establish a need before they receive the distribution. The trust may also provide that once the beneficiary reaches the age of 25, they have the additional right to withdraw 5% of the value of the trust annually. This type of provision allows the beneficiary an additional withdrawal right only after they have reached a more mature age. If you wish to be more restrictive, you can require that the Trustee only distribute assets to beneficiaries once it is determined the beneficiary has no other available resources. A trust can also be drafted to limit who can inherit from the trust if the beneficiary is also deceased. This can prevent your child’s spouse from inheriting and ensure your grandchildren receive any remaining assets.

Our Las Vegas estate planning attorney is experienced in creating a living trust as the foundation of your estate plan. In working with us, we will guide you through all the necessary steps and considerations to reap the benefits of a trust. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service and are ready to assist you. To get started, it is important to meet with a lawyer and discuss your financial assets and your goals and concerns. Contact us today online or by telephone to speak with an attorney.