5 Estate Planning Documents Everyone SHOULD HAVE in Nevada
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a set of legal documents that outline what will happen to your assets and debts if you were to become disabled and after you die. The term “estate” refers to all the property you own—including your home, savings, investments, vehicles, and personal belongings.
Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Without an it, your family will have to go through the court system to figure out what happens to your assets. In Nevada, this can be a long and expensive process.
An estate plan can also help you protect your assets from creditors and predators. If you have young children, an estate plan can help make sure they are taken care of if something happens to you.
There are many different types of estate plans, but they all have one common goal: to make things easier for your loved ones after you die.
The Essential Estate Planning Documents
When it comes to successful estate planning, there are a few key documents that you will want to have in place. A will is perhaps the most important document, as it can spell out how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death.
A trust can also be a helpful estate planning tool, as it can help to manage assets and provide for beneficiaries. Additionally, a power of attorney can be a helpful document to have in place in case you become incapacitated and are unable to make financial and medical decisions for yourself.
Estate planning is an important process that everyone should go through. By having the following documents in place, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of.
1. Last Will and Testament
When it comes to planning, a last will and testament is one of the most important documents you can have. Your will allows you to control how your assets will be distributed after your death through beneficiary designations. It can also help avoid any family conflict or legal issues.
Creating a will is relatively simple. You’ll need to have an idea of what your assets are and to whom you would like those assets to pass. If there are specific items that you would like to go to a specific person, you can put that in the document.
You’ll also need to name an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. This person is also referred to as the personal representative.
Once you have everything in order, you’ll need to sign your will in front of two witnesses. The will should also contain a self-proving affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury. Once it’s properly signed, sealed, and delivered, your last will and testament is legally binding.
If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to state intestacy law – which may not be what you would have wanted.
2. Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a legal vehicle through which an individual (the grantor) can transfer ownership of his or her assets to a trustee. The trustee then manages the assets for the benefit of the grantor during his or her lifetime and distributes them according to the grantor’s wishes upon his or her death.
A revocable living trust is created by a written document, and it can be revised or revoked by the grantor at any time. This makes a living trust very flexible.
One of the main advantages of a revocable living trust is that it allows your assets to avoid probate court upon your death. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process, so avoiding it can save your loved ones both time and money. Learn more about avoiding probate here.
Another benefit of a revocable living trust is that it gives you more control over how your assets will be distributed after your death. This can be very helpful if you have minor children or grandchildren as beneficiaries.
This type of trust does not provide asset protection for the grantor. However, upon the grantor’s death, it becomes irrevocable and provides protection for the subsequent beneficiaries for as long as the assets remain in the trust.
If assets are properly transferred to the trust during life, you will find that, compared to probate, such assets are transferred seamlessly to your heirs upon death.
3. General Durable Power of Attorney
A general durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name someone to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated. This power of attorney remains in effect even if you become disabled or unable to make decisions for yourself.
A power of attorney for asset management can be used to manage your financial accounts, property, and other assets that are not in a trust. You can give your agent as much or as little authority to act on your behalf as you like. You can also specify how long you want the power of attorney to last.
If you have not yet prepared and signed a durable power of attorney, it’s important to do so as part of your estate planning. If something happens and you become incapacitated without this document in place, your family will need to go through the court system to get someone appointed as a guardian to manage your affairs – a process that can again be time-consuming and expensive.
4. Healthcare Power of Attorney
When you plan your estate, you may name someone to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. This is called a durable power of attorney for health care decisions.
There are many important considerations to take into account when naming someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. You will need to consider who you trust to make these decisions, and who will be able to act in your best interests.
It is also important to consider what type of decisions you would like this person to be able to make on your behalf. For example, you may want them to be able to make decisions about your medical treatment, or about end-of-life care.
Appointing someone to make health care decisions on your behalf is an important part of planning your estate. And if the first person you have named is unable to act, you should consider naming an alternate or two.
5. Medical Directive
A medical directive, also known as a living will, advanced healthcare directive, or physician’s directive, is a document that outlines an individual’s wishes regarding their medical treatment in the event that they cannot make those decisions for themselves. In Nevada, it work with but is separate from the medical power of attorney discussed above.
This can include decisions about life-sustaining treatment, organ donation, and end-of-life care. In Nevada, a medical directive is typically created as part of an individual’s estate plan and can be used to communicate their wishes to family members and health care providers in the event you are on life-support and not likely to come off such life-sustaining treatment.
While state laws vary, a valid medical directive is typically signed by the individual and witnessed by two adults.
Which Estate Plan is best for you?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to estate planning. The best estate plan is the one that meets your specific needs and goals. Here are some things to consider when choosing an estate plan:
1. What are your assets? Your estate plan should take into account all of your assets, including property, investments, savings, and life insurance.
2. Who do you want to inherit your assets? You can use your estate plan to specify exactly who you want to inherit your assets, and in what proportions.
3. What are your wishes for end-of-life care? An estate plan can also include directives for medical care and funeral arrangements.
4. Do you have minor children? If you have young children, you will need to name a guardian for them in your estate plan.
5. What is the value of your assets? Do you need to consider estate taxes? If the value of your assets is over the federal estate tax exemption, you will need to consider additional planning.
A comprehensive estate plan includes a collection of documents that will carry out your wishes during life and your final wishes upon death. These documents will provide the necessary information to give a spouse or family member the authority to make medical decisions, make the proper distribution of your assets to the heirs upon your death, and otherwise ensure that your final wishes are carried out.
This article has provided a basic checklist of the document you need to have in place.
If you live in southern Nevada and would like to speak to an estate planning attorney, call our office today to schedule an appointment.