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The Importance of an Estate Plan


An estate plan is crucial in Nevada because it ensures that your assets and wishes are protected and carried out according to your desires after you pass away, and will help you avoid probate. It involves making important decisions about how your property, finances, and personal matters will be managed.

The most commonly understood purpose of an estate plan is that it allows you to choose who will inherit your assets and personal property. Without a plan in place, the state’s laws, known as intestate succession, will determine how your assets are distributed. This can result in your property being divided in a way that doesn’t align with your intentions like your favorite heirloom going to “Unlikable Uncle Joe”. By creating an estate plan, you can specify exactly who will receive your property, and in a trust, when they shall inherit the property; whether it’s family members, friends, or charitable organizations.

One often unknown power of an estate plan is that it allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children. If something were to happen to you and your children are left without parents, the court will decide who will be their guardian. By naming a guardian in your estate plan, you can ensure that your children will be cared for by someone you trust.

Another benefit of an estate plan is that it helps minimize potential conflicts among your loved ones. Clearly stating your wishes in a legally binding document reduces the likelihood of disagreements and disputes arising among family members regarding the distribution of your assets. This can help maintain family harmony during an already challenging time.

Estate plans can also provide financial security and minimize taxes; by employing strategies such as establishing a revocable living trust, you can protect your assets from excessive taxation and ensure that your loved ones receive the maximum benefit from your estate. It is important to note that Nevada is a “tax favorable” state, meaning that Nevada does not have an inheritance tax, an estate tax or death tax and has no income tax requirement.

Lastly, an estate plan allows you to plan for incapacity. It includes documents such as a durable power of attorney and advance healthcare directives, which appoint someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. These documents provide peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be managed by someone you trust in case of incapacity. I am of the opinion that these are some of the most important documents in any estate plan.

Fifty percent of Americans have no plan in place that sets their desires with regard to end-of-life wishes. A trust avoids probate, and a good estate plan will prepare documents for you that avoid adult and minor guardianship’s. Seek out a professional lawyer who can give you advice on taxation, estate handling, and the like – Legal Zoom is not a good proxy, Legal Zoom cannot answer questions or tailor your plan to your needs. Be discerning and see an experienced lawyer in this area to eliminate the “what ifs” that may occur in your lives.

By Travis Clark, Esq.

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