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Essential Considerations for Estate Planning

Essential Considerations for Estate Planning

Effective estate planning requires valid and properly executed legal documents and an overall strategy to accomplish your goals. You need to determine your priorities and decide how you want your assets to be managed and distributed on your behalf during periods of incapacity and after your death.

LKP is a Las Vegas, Nevada, estate planning law firm whose attorneys know what questions to ask and how to structure your estate to produce the results you seek. Call us at 702-333-1711 today so we can start putting together a plan for you and your family.

The Here and Now

Estate planning is most commonly thought of as being needed by the elderly or severely ill. The truth is, everyone can find estate planning documents helpful, especially if you have children, own substantial assets, or operate a business. This area of law isn’t just about what happens after you die. It’s also about what happens while you’re living but incapacitated.

Estate planning doesn’t just concern what can happen in the far-off future. It’s about what might happen tomorrow if you suffer a severe accident or are diagnosed with a serious medical condition. You may have a fantastic future mapped out for yourself, but estate planning can help when your plans go sideways.

For example, you may want healthcare and financial powers of attorney created in the event you suddenly become incapacitated and can’t make medical or financial choices for yourself. If you own and run a business, you need to be able to empower someone to keep your company operating while you cannot.

Thinking about and planning for a sudden, disabling medical situation doesn’t mean it will happen. It only means you’re being smart, conscientious, and making these difficult decisions ahead of time – not leaving it to family members to struggle through what to do.

How Do You Wish to Use Your Assets?

Another vital estate planning consideration is how you wish to use your assets after you no longer control them, either because you’re incapacitated or you’ve passed away. Most of us will want our property to serve and support ourselves and our families while we’re alive. What do you want your wealth to accomplish after you’re no longer alive?

These are personal choices. While most people leave wealth to spouses, children and other relatives, there may be reasons you do not wish to do so. You may be estranged from your children or other relatives. You may feel you’ve supported your loved ones sufficiently during your life. For these and other reasons, you may want your assets to go elsewhere upon your death. You can accomplish that through properly drafted estate planning documents.

Nevada is a community property state, so disinheriting a spouse is a different issue if you’re married. At the very least, you can make plans for your share of the community property. Your spouse can also renounce their rights to their share of community property through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

What about non-family members? Through estate planning, non-family members can benefit through a will or trust. They may be friends or important people in your life. You can provide for charities, religious organizations, or causes you care about. This is not possible if you have no estate planning done and pass away without a will. Under state law, your assets will instead pass to your next of kin, whether that’s what you want or not.

How Do You Wish Not to Use Your Assets?

Proper estate planning can also help you to avoid unwanted or unintended costs after your death.

  • Minimizing Taxes

Estate taxes are not an issue for the vast majority of Nevada estates. Nevada has no state estate taxes, and the federal government imposes an estate tax only if the value of an individual’s estate is more than $12.92 million in 2023 (increased to $13.61 million in 2024). The tax on amounts greater than that range up to 40%.

If your estate is that substantial, there are ways to reduce or “freeze” its value, including gifting of assets, placing certain assets into special types of irrevocable trusts, or making charitable contributions, removing assets (or appreciation on assets) from your estate.

  • Avoiding Probate

Probate is a court proceeding involving the handling a deceased party’s estate. The deceased person’s debts and taxes are paid, and remaining assets are distributed through the terms of a will (if there is one) or to the person’s next of kin (if there is no will). Probate takes time, effort, and some cost, and those issues generally increase, as does your estate’s worth and complexity. Wills are public documents, so there’s a potential loss of privacy as well.

Given your situation, you may limit or eliminate what property goes through probate. Assets in a living trust don’t go through probate, nor do “payable on death” bank accounts or “transfer on death” property deeds, security registrations, or vehicle registrations. Property owned in joint custody with a right of survivorship passes to the survivor without probate court involvement.

Get the Guidance You Need When Planning Your Estate

LKP has highly experienced estate planning lawyers in Las Vegas who work with clients throughout Nevada. If you have questions or want professionals to plan your Nevada estate, whether in Las Vegas, Reno, or Carson City, contact us for a free consultation using our online contact form. You can also call us at 702-333-1711 to speak to a Las Vegas, Nevada, estate planning attorney who can prepare estate plans and legal documents.

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The information provided on this website is not legal advice and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by use of the site or by submitting a contact form. None of the content on this website constitutes a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of any legal matter.

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