Estate planning can be intimidating, and many people avoid getting started because they (mistakenly) assume that it’s only necessary for the very wealthy. However, basic estate planning is important for everyone – regardless income and assets. That’s because Las Vegas estate planning is about more than divvying out assets; it’s also about minimizing any unnecessary costs, confusion and stress for family members after your death.
3 Items You Need Now
If you’re confused where to begin, these three estate planning tools are a good way to start:
A Will or Trust
Believe it or not, wills are pretty easy to create. But before you decide on a will alone, keep in mind that the distribution of assets as outlined in your will will still need to go through probate. This means validating your Las Vegas will, inventorying and identifying property, paying debts and taxes and distributing remaining property. A trust can relieve your family members of this process, but is more expensive and requires the assistance of a professional. That said, a trust often provides greater benefits than a will alone. Your beneficiaries will also usually get access to property and funds sooner.
A Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person (whom you will designate) to make financial and legal decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated. A power of attorney might be a temporary, long-term or contingent on a certain event. A “durable” power of attorney will still be in effect in later years when and if you are incapacitated. It’s important to ensure that you give power of attorney only to individuals you trust, hopefully who are also financially and legally savvy.
Updated Beneficiary Designation Forms
You might think that your life insurance policies, 401(k) accounts and other accounts are included in your will, but your beneficiary designation for these accounts will actually override any provisions within your will. Because of that, it’s important to make sure your beneficiary designation forms are up-to-date, just as it’s important to keep your will current.
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Belinda Owens says
Good morning Mr. Cahill,
My husband and I are thinking it is time to set up a will/trust. I was recently looking at the Nevada Revised statutes for deeds on property and how it is titled. Our deed is set up as “him and her”. From what I have read, it looks like this would be tenants in common by Nevada law and if one of us died without a will that it would not automatically pass to the spouse. Maybe it could even be challenged by a child. I am not a lawyer but I did think this would be a problem if something happened to one of us. Would our house automatically go to the other spouse without any problems if our title is “and”?
I appreciate your time.
Michael R. Cahill says
Good question. The default vesting is tenancy in common which is generally what a married couple wants to avoid. In order to overcome the default vesting, the title needs to show your names “as joint tenants” or “in joint tenancy,” something explicit to show that the property will vest in the other’s name upon the death of the first. You should record a deed transferring title to the two of you in joint tenancy to fix this. Of course, if you create a trust, the property will be owned by the trust anyway and would resolve the issue.