Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Our attorneys have extensive experience in estate planning and can answer all of your questions, but below are some of the most common.
What happens if I don't have an estate plan?
The default statutory (the government's estate plan) is called “intestacy” and your assets will be distributed under Nevada State law. Alternatively, the assets can be distributed by the law of the state where any assets of the decedent are located, or where the decedent died. These statutes almost never match how you would have divided your assets yourself. Without a valid plan all decisions about your estate will have to be approved through the probate court system.
What's the difference between having a "Will" and a "Living Trust"?
A last will is a written document that states who you wish to be the guardians for your minor children and how you would like your assets distributed at your death. The last will names an executor to facilitate the management of your will during the probate process.
Trusts are a legal construct that allows you to create a separate legal entity to hold your assets. A trustee is named who manages the assets for the benefit of you and your beneficiaries. Revocable living trusts are created to avoid the public probate process. In most instances, having a trust will avoid probate, but if some assets were not funded into the trust, then a probate may be required to distribute those assets. Revocable living trusts are created and funded during your lifetime and you often name yourself as trustee to maintain control of the assets until your death or incapacity.
A Living Trust offers protection should you become incapacitated by allowing your successor trustee to manage your assets without interruption.
Even with a Living Trust you should still have a will known as a "pour-over" will. These wills make sure that any assets, which may not be in your Living Trust at the time of your death, "pour-over" into the trust.
Is a Living Trust valid in all states?
Yes, a Living Trust is valid in all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia
Isn't a Living Trust only for the rich?
No. A Living Trust can help anyone protect his or her family. Any person with an estate large enough to require probate may derive meaningful benefits from a Living Trust
What do I have to do after I create a Living Trust?
You need to make sure that you fund your trust and title appropriate assets in the name of the trust. Once a trust is created and funded, it will continue on until it is revoked or it is distributed pursuant to its terms.
We are not married; can we still have a Joint Living Trust?
You have the option to prepare a Joint Trust along with all of the matching supporting documents for a "Non-traditional Couple".