Estate Planning attorneys provide advice and draw up a number of different documents that are needed by someone to provide an efficient way of passing real and personal property on to beneficiaries. Though it is a grave subject, planning for the future of your property and estate after your death is important to ensure that it smoothly transfers to your loved ones. The most commonly used documents that individuals contact attorneys for are living trusts, wills, powers of attorney and healthcare directives. A competent lawyer can and should explain the advantages and deficiencies of wills and trusts. Attorney Daniel Potucek can discuss these options with you to determine the best route for you to take. Daniel has the experience necessary to create an accurate will or trust so that you have the assurance that your property will be taken care of in the manner you wish.
What is a will?
A last will and testament should be clearly drafted to state how a person wishes to distribute his or her property upon death. Property can be divided equally among a number of people, given all to one person, or given to a charity. An executor is generally named in the will as the person responsible for determining all assets and debts after the death of the person who wrote the will (the testator). In addition, the executor will pay all debts and taxes due, as well as distribute assets and personal property according to the wishes of the deceased.
If a person dies without a will, matters can get complicated and expensive. This means that the estate will be distributed according to the intestate laws of the state in which the decedent lived. There is no inheritance tax in Nevada. If there are no relatives living in the state where the decedent lived, the executor duties will be carried out by the county administrator in the decedent’s residential state.
The appointment of a guardian will give a person of your choice the right to act in your behalf if you become incapable of handling your financial affairs, as well as your physical care. The general power of attorney is designed to take care of financial and other matters. A Health Care Directive handles health care matters. If you have minor children, you can appoint someone to be guardian of your minor children in case of a mother and father’s death.
If you have not drawn up a will before you die, this situation is a great disservice to your family. They have no guidelines or direction and often end up in arguments and emotional squabbles that can go on for years. In addition, not having either a will or a living trust will send the settlement of your estate into court, which can be a long and expensive process.
What is a trust?
Having a trust in place is recommended for certain people with certain assets. It is an ideal estate planning document because if properly done, in most cases, your estate won’t have to go through the probate process. This saves money and time.
What is a living trust?
This is a trust that is set up during the trustor’s life and is usually used for his benefit until he dies. Upon the trustor’s death, the appointed trustee takes over and distributes the assets to the named beneficiaries according to the trustor’s directions. You need to appoint a successor trustee to serve after you die. A revocable trust is one that you can modify while you are alive. However, after you die, your trust becomes irrevocable, and cannot be changed.
What to put into a trust:
The process assets are transferred into a trust is called “funding.” An attorney’s assistance is wise in order to properly transfer real property, bank accounts, stocks, and other assets into the trust. Throughout the life of the trust, you need to transfer any new assets into the trust, otherwise, those assets will most likely be subject to probate.
A properly drafted trust is a good idea because distribution of assets avoids the probate process. Tax planning is usually easier with a trust.
Having a trust makes it possible to have your wishes and desires continue after your death. This is wise when your named beneficiaries are not old enough or capable enough to handle their inheritance. If a living trust is in place, the assets of the deceased can usually be distributed without probate in a fast and efficient manner.
If you have no trust, your financial matters become public records when they go through probate. With a trust your assets are kept private. However, one caveat in Nevada laws is that all beneficiaries are authorized to receive a copy of the trust.
Some truths about having a trust:
Trusts most often are not as costly to process as having to go through probate, but there are costs involved. This is because trusts are not under the jurisdiction of the courts; the trustee is responsible for assessing assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Some problems may arise when the trustee doesn’t carry out his duties. It is important to have your trust drawn up by an attorney, or at least have an attorney look over a previously prepared trust or will. Untangling a poorly done trust or will can cause a lot of problems.