Senior couple meeting learning about estate planning, Surratt Law Practice, Reno NV

Estate Planning

Surratt Law Practice, PC is a Reno, Nevada estate planning law firm that can assist you to protect your family now and in the future. Our firm can assist by creating a valid will and/or trust and we can identify methods for declaring your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures.

Nevada’s estate planning laws set out the legal requirements for creating a valid Will and Trust, and identify methods for declaring your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures, and describe the probate process.

Nevada Estate Planning Services Surratt Law Practice Offers

  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Living Wills (Advance Medical Directives)
  • Wills
  • Trusts

What are Some of the Reasons You Need Estate Planning?

Most of us do not understand why we need “Estate Planning”. Often, people believe they do not have enough assets to make it worth their time and hard-earned money. This is a mistake. First, it may cost less than you think to prepare the necessary documents. If you have children or other important people in your life, planning how you want to give now could save your loved-ones heartache and stress in a time of grief.

There are many reasons to create or review and update your Will and other estate planning documents. If you have had additions to your family, this is a good time to think about changing what the documents say. Additionally, if your children are now over the age of 18, it is a good time to think about updating.

In fact, many people own, or will own, a home/condo, cars and have at least some money put away in savings and retirement accounts. How do you want these assets to pass to your loved ones? Do you want your child to get everything at age 18 without any restrictions? Are you interested in minimizing fees and the impact of taxes? If your estate goes through the typical

probate process, it takes time and can be costly to see the estate through the Court system. However, there are ways to avoid this that can save your family time and money. Contact us and we can help you with your Estate Planning needs.

Wills Versus Trusts

A Will is a legal document that describes how your assets should be distributed in the event of death. In order to distribute your assets that are governed by a Will, you must participate in the legal process called probate. Upon your death, your loved ones must go to Court and ensure your Will is honored by the Court. At this point, the Court Will scrutinize your assets to ensure it complies with Nevada’s statutes. An interested person, usually the person designated in the Will to act as Executor (also called a Personal Representative), files a Petition for Probate of the Will. If the decedent died without a Will (“Intestate”), an interested person, usually an heir of the estate (children or other family members), files a Petition for Intestate Administration.

In most cases, it is easier to go through Probate if you have a proper Will. The Court takes your wishes into consideration if you have a Will. Wills can guide the Court regarding your wishes regarding arrangements for your children’s financial support and/or direct the appointment of a specific guardian. Also, depending on how your property is characterized or titled, relatives that you did not intend to take a share of your estate could require property to be sold or otherwise take a share that you intended to leave to someone else – such as a spouse. Therefore, it is recommended that you have a Will in place.

However, having a Will alone may not satisfy all of your wishes. Going through probate, even with a Will, can be difficult, slow, and costly, not to mention it can take an emotional toll during a family’s time of grief. A Living Trust avoids probate because your property is owned by the trust, thus, there is nothing for the probate courts to administer. Whomever you name as your “successor trustee” gains control of your assets and distributes them exactly according to your instructions – avoiding the Court process altogether.

Another very important factor is that a Will does not take effect until your death, and is therefore no help to you during lifetime planning. A Living Trust can offer some protection over your estate while you are alive, and may afford you some protection should you become mentally incapacitated.

Additionally, you do not have to relinquish control over your assets if you create a Living Trust. You can be your own trustee, or, for married couples, you can become co-trustees. In the event of a mentally disabling condition, the successor trustee of your choice assumes control over your affairs as opposed to a Court appointee.

Other Important Documents

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:

There are specific Nevada statutes in place for execution of a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. We can help you appoint an attorney-in-fact that will have the power to make health care decisions for you, i.e. to provide consent, refusal of consent, or withdrawal of consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat physical or mental condition. You may also create limitations and exclusions for specifically designated treatments.

Living Wills (Advance Medical Directives):

Nevada has adopted the Uniform Act on Rights of the Terminally Ill. A “Living Will”, also known as an Advance Directive, gives someone you trust the power to request, withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

The Surratt Law Practice attorneys enjoys assisting clients in protecting their families in case of incapacitation or death. They will handle your estate plan needs with compassion and sincerity. Surratt Law Practice warmly invites you to contact a Nevada estate plan attorney today at (775) 636-8200 or email info@surrattlaw.com for a consultation.
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