According to recent, prominent studies, nearly two thirds of American adults do not have a formal estate plan set up.
For those in the minority who have prepared a living trust, will, or other estate documents, you’re one step ahead. However, just because you’ve established these initial steps doesn’t necessarily mean your estate plan is settled. A thorough estate plan requires continual updating as circumstances change. Even if you have been good about making updates, there are crucial components you may have overlooked. Designating beneficiaries and decision makers for retirement accounts or life insurance policies are a prime example.
Your designated beneficiaries and decision makers are living people, so it’s important to consider what may also happen to them. Even the most well thought out plans can go awry, but proper consideration of all potential scenarios can play a large role in ensuring your wishes stay intact after you’re gone.
Short answer: Yes. A proper estate plan lines up multiple decision makers to carry out your wishes.
You should put careful thought into determining which individuals to appoint as decision makers. They’ll need to be trusted, as important decisions regarding your affairs will come their way. It’s also possible that at some point, they will no longer have the capacity or willingness to carry out the decisions asked of them. This is where backup individuals are important. We recommend having at least two backups for each of the above positions.
People, and your perception of them, can change over time. Some of these changes will impact their capacity to fulfill your last wishes. For instance, the person you initially designate as trustee might turn out to lack knowledge of finances. This raises a red flag, because they’ll be the one handling your money after you’re gone. And if your designated guardian turns out to be not so great with children, you’d want to reconsider who you appoint to take care of your kids.
There doesn’t need to be any suspicious behavior to influence a decision maker change. Often times, something as predictable as age plays a factor. Somebody who you designated as a guardian when they were in their 40’s may not be as fit for the position in their 60’s. On the same token, someone too young to appoint as a guardian now may be ideal in ten or so years.
A backup decision-maker is also necessary to replace one that dies, becomes disabled, or expresses that they no longer wish to take on the responsibility of a designated position.
The main thing you should takeaway is to continually check in on your choices for designated decision makers and name backups when necessary. Alternatives act as a fail-safe to ensure that people you love and trust – not the courts – end up making decisions on your behalf after you’re gone.
Your furry, feathered, and even scaled friends are part of your family. Often, they require more day-to-day attention and care than children. So who will take care of them when you’re no longer around?
Pets are certainly not overlooked in your daily life. Some sleep on the bed, eat like royalty, and get groomed handsomely. But it’s possible that your pets weren’t given much thought in the midst of planning your estate with an attorney. After all, there’s a lot on your mind during the process.
Believe it or not, you can name a legal guardian for your pets after you’re gone. Similar to other designated positions, it’s helpful to have backups lined up if your first guardian choice doesn’t work out. Additionally, you can include information on how they can find a suitable home or shelter to be surrendered to in the case that no one can care for your pet. Aside from addressing who the caretaker will be, it’s beneficial to write out your wishes for how your pet should be cared for. This way, the designated guardian will know all of the animal’s quirks, medications, allergies, and their favorite spot to be rubbed.
A named beneficiary is the individual within your estate plan who will inherit your monetary and property assets when you die. When you pass and your estate is administered, your assets are distributed or managed by your designated beneficiaries. Some instances require a contingent (backup) beneficiary.
If you do not have a contingent beneficiary in these scenarios, your assets may be dealt with according to state law. This often involves enacting the probate process. This lengthy process can delay asset distribution, lead to increased settling costs, and cause family infighting. To avoid these unfavorable outcomes, it’s best to designate one or more contingent beneficiaries for the benefit of everyone.
It’s not fun to think about, but you should be prepared for the unthinkable situation where all the loved ones you designate as beneficiaries pass away before you.
Yes, it’s highly unlikely, but it’s happened before. In this case, having contingent beneficiaries will not suffice because nobody will legally be able to accept the assets in your estate. Depending on your state of residence, if you have no surviving beneficiaries, the government could obtain all your money and property by default.
Even though it’s uncommon, this scenario could afflict those with few living relatives. By adding a family disaster plan or remote contingent beneficiary to your estate documentation, you are able to designate a charity or organization that will receive your assets.
Unexpected life events can often prompt people to take action on their estate plan. At the very least, one should have a basic will, but many people still put off accounting for their assets once they’re gone. Procrastination, a perceived lack of money and property, and concern for the cost and energy required to implement an estate plan can turn some away from the process.
The estate planning process is not as costly or intensive as you may think, especially when hiring a knowledgeable estate sale lawyer. And considering the cost of NOT having an estate plan, it would be selfish to leave your surviving family with the burden. Not to mention, your hard-earned assets could end up in the government’s hands if not prepared adequately. For those who have already taken steps to secure their estate plan, this is a great start. With effective back-ups to weather the unexpected, your life plan will be able to determine who will make decisions, take care of your pets, and inherit your assets after you have deceased.
No matter where you are in the estate planning process, we encourage you to reach out to our real estate lawyers to ensure that everything you worked for in your life goes to the people you love and trust. Contact Anderson, Dorn, and Rader to begin your journey to peace of mind for you and your family’s future.
Let’s examine a scenario all too common for divorced parents and their children. Imagine you just finalized the divorce from your spouse. Your retirement plan from work and your life insurance policy are the largest assets you own, and you have designated your two minor children to receive the money from these accounts when you pass. Your divorce was rather nasty, so of course you do not want your spouse to receive or manage the money in these accounts after you’re gone. They cannot be trusted to pass the money down to your young ones.
You pass away one year later. Both of your kids are still under 18, so in order to receive any assets from your retirement or insurance plan, an adult must be appointed to collect it on their behalf. Of course, the court’s obvious choice of who will take management of the assets is the living parent of your children: your ex-spouse. In Nevada, the caretaker of the money is called a guardian. The guardian has complete control over the funds since your children are not legally able to manage significant assets.
Most often, the loved ones of divorcees bare the brunt of their poor use of estate planning tools. While naming beneficiaries to receive your insurance or retirement assets has good intentions tied to it, these basic tools are often rendered useless by the complexities surrounding dissolved relationships. With the proper planning tools, there are means to fully protect your children’s inheritance against the unknowns.
A trust is a powerful tool that lets you direct and control your estate in ways no other life plan process can. Trusts enable you to manage property while you’re alive, then quickly transfer it upon death. The trust is comprised of a few main players. The person that sets up the trust (you) is often called either the Trustmaker, Grantor, or Settlor. Next is the Trustee, who manages the trust’s owned assets. Usually, you’re the Trustee during your life, then you appoint someone else as trustee to manage the assets when you’re no longer able. Finally, there are the Beneficiaries. These are the people you designate to receive the benefits of the trust (often your children and close loved ones).
A trust protects your children’s inheritance in a few ways:
Gaining full control of how you’d like your legacy to be utilized by you beneficiaries is crucial, especially after divorce. Even if you are wondering whether to update estate plans, Anderson, Dorn & Rader can help to map your trust assets with a comprehensive life plan. We are Reno’s trusted estate planning lawyers. Give us a call or set up an appointment to speak with our knowledgeable staff today.
Everyone has the right to protect their financial future. At Anderson, Dorn, & Rader, we are firm believers that people identifying as LGBTQ+ should have a comprehensive estate plan in place to ensure that wishes are clear and contentious, costly legal battles are avoided. In the event of an accident, illness, or death, are your finances laid out? No matter your age, sexual identity, orientation, wealth, or marital status, we are here to help you protect you and your loved ones through the estate planning process.
Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage in the US, was a long overdue victory for LGBTQ+ people and allies. While it did simplify some aspects of estate planning for LGBTQ+ individuals, it did not resolve all of the complex issues ingrained into our nation’s discriminatory legal framework. The reality is that sexual and gender minorities will face challenges that “traditional” people and couples will not. These challenges can involve family members who do not recognize your relationship, child adoption by same-sex couples, and unmarried couples living together.
It’s important to prepare for such instances, otherwise you and your family could be subject to Nevada’s default intestate succession law, which doesn’t always take into account LGBTQ+ couples’ relationship dynamics. Additionally, if you have an existing estate plan that was created before 2015, don’t assume that your same-sex marriage status was automatically updated. Often times, it’s not. A checkup will determine if revisions are necessary to reflect the latest legal rights onto your same-sex marriage life plan.
The 2020 US Census finally shed light on some LGBTQ+ matters, including the percentage of same-sex couples living together and the number of Americans identifying as LGBTQ+.
The 2020 Census found there are:
The US Census Bureau found (perhaps unsurprisingly) that same-sex couples are more likely to be unmarried than heterosexual couples. Same-sex married couples account for only ~1% of the nation’s married couple households. 2020 Census data also indicate more than 88% of American adults identify as straight, while 4.4% identify as bisexual, and 3.3% identify as gay / lesbian.
Additionally, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that young people are significantly more likely than their older-generation counterparts to identify as LGBTQ+, likely due to more widespread social acceptance. Among the entire US population, 12% of adults identify as LGBTQ+, while 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ—nearly three times the number that Baby Boomers indicated on their Censuses.
The word estate can conjure images of a large, lavish country home, but the legal term is different. In this case, it’s all of the property and money a person owns.
Your estate is comprised of all the physical assets you own (vehicle, home, and everything in it). Additionally, it takes into account your bank assets and liabilities, such as investments, business interests, and any outstanding debts you have at the end of your life.
Essentially, estate plans are written instructions on how you’d like your money and property to be distributed when you die. It also considers the circumstances surrounding your ability to make cognitive decisions if you suddenly become ill or incapacitated. The following are the essentials you should have in your estate plan, whether you’re LGBTQ+, straight, or anywhere else on the spectrum:
If you don’t plan for what happens to your estate when you are gone, someone else will – and that entity won’t always have your best interests in mind.
Failure to establish an estate plan transfers the decision-making power to the state. From there, they’ll determine where your money and property goes according to Nevada intestate succession law. For the LGBTQ+ community, this is an undesirable outcome due to the inequitable factors within the state’s intestate succession law.
Depending on the state’s laws, your spouse may or may not receive all the items in your estate. The laws could pose greater risk if you are single, as your money and property could go to a family member who does not internally legitimize your relationship or sexual orientation based on their own beliefs.
Unfortunately, even if you are married, your spouse cannot unilaterally make financial and medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed estate plan. Without it, your spouse may have to navigate the legal process to obtain decision-making powers after you pass. Even worse, the court could appoint a family member, no matter how estranged, to make these important decisions for you.
For LGBTQ+ couples with children, further legal complications can arise. The biological parents of the child(ren) usually have legal priority. In severe cases where one, or neither partner, are biological parents, the child could be assigned to their birth parents after you die without a will. Proper planning, such as an court-ordered adoption, can strengthen rights to avoid such cases where LGBTQ+ parents are not legally recognized as guardians.
Luckily, social acceptance for LGBTQ+ people has been steadily increasing over the last few decades, though it still has a long way to go. According to Gallup polling, support for gay marriage has increased from 26% to 70% since 1996.
Civil unions and domestic partnerships were common “workarounds” for homosexual couples to be together prior to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal. Unfortunately, previously-recognized arrangements are not automatically updated to reflect current marriage laws within estate planning. This means that without proper reversal, past partners can have a legal interest in your estate. Therefore, it’s important to update the terms of your life plan to reflect your current relationship status, which should include terms like husband, wife, or spouse.
Beyond your current relationship interests and status, your estate plan should also consider other life events that may have taken place. For instance, perhaps you acquired property, received an inheritance, or adopted a child! Our LGBTQ estate planning professionals recommend updating your plan every few years to keep up with life events.
No matter if you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, it’s important to have a well thought out plan for how your estate will be distributed after you pass. Anderson, Dorn, & Rader are the region’s only estate planning lawyers who are allies in providing comprehensive financial guidance and documentation for you and your loved ones.
We will create a curated plan that captures your financial picture and situation. For questions about LGBTQ+ estate planning or to get started, please contact Anderson Dorn & Rader to set up an appointment with our knowledgeable attorneys.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, Who Is Living Together? Same-Sex Couples in the United States, Census.gov (Nov. 19, 2019), https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2019/comm/living-together-same-sex.html.
2 Brian Glassman, Census Bureau Implements Improved Measurement of Same-Sex Couples, Census.gov (Sept. 17, 2020), https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/same-sex-married-couples-have-higher-income-than-opposite-sex-married-couples.html.
4 U.S. Census Bureau, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Houeshold Pulse Survey, Census.gov (Nov. 4, 2021), https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity.html.
5 New GLAAD Study Reveals Twenty Percent of Millenials Identify as LGBTQ, GLAAD (Mar. 30, 2017), https://www.glaad.org/blog/new-glaad-study-reveals-twenty-percent-millennials-identify-lgbtq.
7 Justin McCarthy, Record-High 70% in U.S. Support Same-Sex Marriage, Gallup (June 8, 2021), https://news.gallup.com/poll/350486/record-high-support-same-sex-marriage.aspx.
Generational wealth is often the means by which families retain economic status and live comfortably over time. Family members before you worked throughout their lives to make a living, care for their assets, and pass some of that down to the next generation: you. In the event that you are expecting an inheritance, do you have the proper measures in place to confidently acquire and manage it?
Estate planning plays an integral roll in maximizing an expected inheritance by laying out how it will be used by your family in the future. Expert research analyses predict that the largest transfer of wealth in history will occur over the next several decades. However, with an uncertain economic climate and a trend towards spending over saving, heirs of inheritances often spend, lose, or donate large portions of what they receive. Planning for inherited wealth can help you anticipate and prepare for these instances, while sill protecting the legacy left to you. With an expertly-crafted inheritance plan, you are helping to ensure financial security for you and your family.
Sometimes, our emotions guide our financial decisions, rather than logic. The feelings surrounding the transfer of an inheritance are often unsettling – grief, guilt, anger, confusion. It’s difficult to consider the facts and hard numbers associated with the passing of a loved one. Not to mention, there are lengthy procedures one has to go through to legally confirm the transfer of wealth. It’s important to stay level-headed during the decisions that could affect you and your family’s financial well-being.
An inheritance can be an unexpected stroke of good fortune in a time of loss. Since our brains often classify them as “found” money rather than “earned” money, inheritances don’t tend to be utilized as conservatively as the money we work for. That’s why most inheritances are drained within just five years. A failure to realize the implications of careless spending can get us accustomed to living a lifestyle above our means, only to have it disappear as quickly as it came.
A sudden acquisition of assets and cash can greatly affect you and your family’s life. When handled correctly, you’ll respect the legacy of your loved ones that came before you. When caught unprepared though, you could be burdened by tax payments, careless spending repercussions, and even creditor issues.
Before any pen & paper planning begins, it’s best to have a conversation with your loved ones while they are still living and mentally fit. It can be awkward to talk about what happens to assets after one passes, but go in with the frame of mind that each party will be helping each other. The benefactor will be giving you vital information and consent, and you will be giving them peace of mind that their legacy will live on. By discussing their hopes of how the inheritance will be used after they pass, you’ll get a better understanding which you can use in the planning process.
Using the conversations with loved ones as your guide, it’s crucial to then meet with a financial planner and an estate planning attorney to discuss the amount and types of assets you anticipate inheriting. There are nuances to the processes in which you’ll handle various types of assets. For example, inherited real estate is handled much differently than inherited stocks and bonds. An estate planning attorney can also help you understand the distribution schedule to receive the assets. It could be all at once, in installments, or custom-configured based on a will. Not to mention, a financial planner can help you navigate the taxes associated with your inheritance.
Life happens, and a legacy left to you by a loved one can alter the vision of your financial picture. Anderson, Dorn, & Rader are your trusted team of estate planning lawyers and financial planners in Reno.
If your family is expecting an inheritance, wants to update estate plans, or has questions about the planning process, give our office a call so we can help you maximize your windfall and honor the loved ones that worked hard to pass on their good fortune to you.
With roughly 40 percent of U.S. adults suffering from a mental illness, it’s time to remove the stigma surrounding the topic. With greater awareness, there is greater opportunity to ensure that those affected by mental illness receive the help or treatment that they need, not just now, but in the future as well. Estate planning for someone with a mental illness will give you peace of mind that your loved one will be well taken care of in any unforeseen event.
The odds that you or somebody in your family is living with a mental health condition are 2 in 5. Rather than dismiss these issues because they are uncomfortable, we recommend being proactive about these challenges so that you’re prepared for whatever life brings your way. The best way to do this is with the help of an incapacity and estate planning attorney who will be able to draft a trust that covers all your bases.
Nearly 50 Million Americans Suffer from Mental Illness
Saying that America is dealing with a mental health crisis is not an exaggeration. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 40 percent of US adults experience mental illness, which is an increase of 20 percent from the year 2020. Additionally, 1 in 20 who experience serious mental illness, and 17 percent of American youth experience a mental health disorder.
The mental health crisis has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. Loneliness and isolation are fueling increases in anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm, reports Mental Health America. More people are seeking mental health screening and treatment, but around 23 percent of Americans with mental illness are still not receiving the services they need.
Improvement starts with acknowledging that there is a problem. Talking to a healthcare professional about mental health struggles and treatment options leads to better outcomes. One improved outcome can be creating an estate plan that takes into account your own, or a family member’s, mental health.
Your Mental Health and Your Estate Plan
Every estate plan should be tailored to the individual’s needs and their unique family dynamics. A number of estate planning documents are available to address concerns about your mental health. Chief among such concerns is the possibility that, at some point, you may be unable to manage your own affairs. To prepare for that contingency, consider having the following documents in place:
Importantly, for these documents to have legal authority, you must have mental capacity when you sign them. To ensure capacity, you may want to obtain a professional opinion from a licensed mental health provider stating that you are of sound mind and understand the meaning and effect of the documents you are signing. Alleging lack of capacity is a common basis for contesting an estate plan.
In addition, if you are entrusting somebody with power of attorney authority, and that person has their own mental health concerns, you should discuss the issue with your family as well as your estate planning lawyer.
Your Beneficiaries’ Mental Health
Having beneficiaries who suffer from mental illness presents a different estate planning challenge. You must pass your legacy to them in a way that serves their best interests. Discretionary trusts and supplemental needs trusts are two ways you can look out for a mentally ill loved one even after you are gone.
There is a significant difference between suffering from a severe mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and a more minor issue such as anxiety or depression. Some people’s mental health issues can come and go over the course of their lifetime. Others’ illnesses are prolonged or recurrent. In some cases, a person may be genetically predisposed to mental illness that has not yet manifested. Proper proactive estate planning can protect you and your loved ones from whatever type of mental disorder may be of concern to you.
These are some of the factors to consider when making estate planning decisions based on mental illness in your family. Every individual and every family is unique. Your estate plan should reflect what you know now and be updated to reflect changes in your life and the lives of your family members. Contact us to learn how mental health considerations can fit into your estate plan.
Estate planning is a sensitive subject and it can be even more sensitive when the issue of mental health is involved. If you need to set up an estate plan, or revise an existing estate plan, around mental health concerns, we are here to help. Please contact our office to set up an appointment with an estate planning attorney.
Most parents want to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and good friends sometimes want to leave gifts to beloved young children too. Unfortunately, good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results. Don’t make these common, expensive mistakes. Instead, here’s how to both protect and provide for the children you love.
Many parents think if they name a guardian for their minor children in their wills and something happens to them, the named person will automatically be able to use the inheritance to take care of the children. But that's not what happens:
Most parents would prefer that their children inherit at a later age, but with a simple will, you have no choice; once the child reaches the age of majority, the court must distribute the entire inheritance in one lump sum.
A court guardianship for a minor child is very similar to one for an incompetent adult.
All of these expenses are paid from the inheritance, and because the court must do its best to treat everyone equally under the law, it is difficult to make exceptions for each child's unique needs.
Instead of using a simple will, a better option is to set up a children's trust in a will:
The best option is a revocable living trust, the preferred option for many parents and grandparents:
For many folks, the absolute best solution is to keep the assets in trust for their lifetime or until assets get spent down. Assets that are trust protected are there for your child, but can’t be taken from them. Your children will grow up and need the continued protections you can provide in a revocable living trust.
While we’d all like for our lives to turn out exactly as we had planned when we were in our 20s, this is highly unlikely. Life can change in the blink of an eye and it’s unrealistic to expect that an estate plan drafted by you in your early thirties will still reflect your wishes as a 50 or 60-year-old. Learn more about how to legally prepare for your future with the Reno estate planning lawyers at Anderson, Dorn & Rader by assessing the Johnson family’s history with estate planning below.
Patricia and Sal Johnson married at the ages of 23 and 26. Just a few years later, their first child, Simon, was born which prompted them to get an estate plan in place. Just three years later, their second child, Pamela, was born, leading them to update their estate plan to include both children.
Later in life, the couple attended one of our estate planning seminars, which encouraged them to update their estate plan yet again, this time with a trust-based plan in place that will not only protect themselves, but also their children, grandchildren, and even the family dog, Rudy.
However, rather than taking part in client maintenance opportunities that allow the Johnson’s estate planning lawyers to keep their plans up-to-date, they chose to just call in when they wanted to make amendments. This resulted in the estate plan going untouched for many years, and updates were never made despite their continued life changes.
As stated earlier, life is going to change over time. How you choose to update your estate plan and when will help you deal with all of those changes accordingly. Here’s what’s changed in the Johnson family’s lives in the last 10 years:
How do you think their estate plan will look now that there have been some major life changes throughout the whole family? Surely, they will need to update the estate plan to reflect these changes, which are typical of what 10 years can bring.
Now that you’ve seen how the Johnson’s lives have changed, let’s apply this to you and your family. What changes have you experienced in your life? Have you moved? Did you purchase a new home? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business? Has anyone suffered any health problems? Do you have new accounts or investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired?
All of these factors can greatly impact your current and future estate plans, but you’ll also need to consider how the lives of those around you have changed as well. Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with the grandchildren’s college or sports interests?
Surely, many things have changed in the past 10 years and it’s important that your estate plan reflects the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and overall goals.
To update your estate plan, or get one started, reach out to Reno estate planning lawyers Anderson, Dorn & Rader today. They’ll be able to help you define your goals and draft an estate plan that fits your specific needs. Connect with us to learn more.
Unexpected personal tragedies are not particularly common, but they do occur and they can dramatically change the course of a child’s life. Parents in the United States have a statutory right and responsibility to name a guardian for their child or children. If a guardian isn’t legally appointed by the parent, it becomes the responsibility of a judge to determine guardianship following the parents’ passing or incapacitation. In such instances, custody of the child may go to anyone chosen by the judge, regardless of what the parents would have wanted.
The guardianship of a child who is originally from another country can be even more complicated to manage. A child custody attorney can help citizens and non-citizens determine proper guardianship for children in the event of their incapacitation. Learn more about guardianship in Nevada below.
A general rule of thumb regarding guardianship in Nevada, or any state in the U.S., is that all parents have a fundamental and constitutional right to the care, custody, and control of their child. This essentially means that a parent has the right to make all decisions for their child without interference so long as they do not put the child in danger. This right was eventually extended to non-citizen parents that reside in the U.S. legally, allowing both citizen and non-citizen parents to name whomever they want as a guardian to their children—so long as they meet the state requirements.
It’s important to note that it is not only a parent’s right to choose a guardian but also their responsibility. This is the only way to keep the courts from determining guardianship of the child.
Children who legally reside in the U.S. as citizens but are native to another country may face further obstacles. Because it’s easier for a judge to oversee the safety and care of a child within their jurisdiction, it can be difficult to move a child to another country. To combat this, parents should be clear about who the child will live with and where (whether in the U.S. or not).
Parents of children with attachments to other countries should always apply for dual citizenship for the home country and the United States. This will prove to the court that the parents intended for their child to have connections to their home country and provide a basis for relatives living outside of the U.S. to request guardianship assistance from their own state department. Proving dual citizenship will help the process of expatriation and ensure the child is able to travel back to their home country.
It’s also possible that a non-citizen may be appointed as the guardian of a child. However, if the parents request for the child to remain in the U.S., there is no guarantee that the guardian will be allowed to stay in the U.S due to the guardianship alone. The person who is appointed as the child’s guardian will need to become a U.S. citizen through their own legal proceedings for this to be accepted.
It is possible for the law to interfere with a parent’s choice of guardianship under specific circumstances. A court may invoke the policies of “Best Interests” and protections made by the Hague Convention to retain custody of a child who would otherwise be sent to a country where they would be endangered or persecuted. While this is not very common when handling guardianship in Nevada, it is an issue that could possibly arise.
During interim periods between emigration, which can take months, a child may be stuck living in the U.S. before they can be united with their new full-time guardian. In these cases, a temporary guardian will also need to be nominated for the time being.
The child custody attorneys, Anderson, Dorn & Rader, are here to ensure the decisions you make regarding your child’s care are kept and seen through. If you need help legally determining guardianship in Nevada for your child, connect with us today.
Every February, American Heart Month begins as a friendly reminder to think about your heart health. This commemorative month was established in 1963 and prompts us to combat heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. Even with the high mortality rate of Covid-19, heart disease continues to be the dominant cause of death in the United States. Ultimately, American Heart Month is a great time to review your heart health and build healthy habits for the future. Of course, don't forget to consider who will act as your medical agent if you are unexpectedly stricken with a heart attack.
Various states have differing titles for medical agents, including a medical power of attorney, an advanced health care directive agent, a health surrogate, a health or medical proxy, and more. Regardless of the title your state uses, this person will make all medical decisions for you if you ever become too ill to communicate your wishes.
This person plays an essential role in making critical decisions regarding your health. Your medical agent should understand your medical wishes because they decide what care you will or won’t receive by communicating with providers caring for you. Also, keep in mind this person gains access to your private information, so you should consider all these factors before deciding who will act on your behalf.
It is easy to assume anyone close to you is fit to be your medical agent, but this is not the case. Consider someone you know will stay level-headed in emotional situations since everyone handles stress differently. Your medical agent should be reasonably assertive because of the many family opinions and doctor recommendations they will have to navigate. This person should be comfortable silencing others opinion to focus on your wants and needs when making decisions.
Your medical agent should live close to you because something unexpected can come up at any moment. This person will have to act on your behalf quickly and efficiently so that you don’t have to wait for care if you are incapable of speaking for yourself.
It is crucial to make sure your medical agent is willing to set time aside in case of a medical emergency. Having this title is both time-consuming and emotionally draining, so reach out to the person you’d like to act as your medical agent and address any concerns. Doing this in advance will help you choose someone willing to take on this responsibility.
You must choose a medical agent who will make decisions following your wishes. The person you choose needs to set aside their own wants to focus on making the decisions you expressed previously. Your medical agent acts as your voice even if they don't agree with your course of action, so be sure to find someone you can trust to follow your wishes if you are incapable.
Remember, even if you believe someone is right for the title, some states prohibit certain individuals from acting as a medical agent.
Many states don’t allow minors to be patient advocates, but there can be exceptions. Also, remember not everyone over the age of 18 qualifies to act as a medical agent so talking with a professional can help clarify state restrictions.
Not every state restricts health care providers from acting as medical agents, but most do. These restrictions can be overlooked if the health care provider is a family member, but make sure to take the proper steps to allow this. Furthermore, Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky allow your health care provider to act as your medical agent if they are an active member of your religious organization.
If you haven’t decided who will act as your medical agent, Anderson, Dorn, and Rader can help determine the best fit. If you need someone to act as a backup, our attorneys are willing to build a strong relationship with you to understand your needs in case of an emergency. We will ensure that your wishes are carried out and written as required by state law.
Contact us now to discuss how to properly name a medical agent, as well as discuss other advance care directives.
An estate plan consists of several parts and considerations, including a living trust. A living trust is a legal arrangement set up during a person’s lifetime that places their assets into a trust overseen by a trustee. The living trust also determines how the trustor’s assets will be distributed once they pass or become incapacitated. Some factors that may cause someone to create a trust range from tax benefits and avoiding probate to caring for family members with special needs. See how working with an estate planning attorney to create a living trust will help your family.
Avoiding probate is the most common reason for seeking out a living trust. Probate is the courts’ process of proving a will is accepted as a valid document that can be used to effectively distribute assets. There are several reasons in which you would want to avoid probate. The first is that probate can be a costly way to transfer your assets upon death. There are multiple parties that may need to be paid out during a probate proceeding, including the court, which add up quickly.
Probate is also a very lengthy process. It can take six to nine months (sometimes longer) to fully go through probate. There are many factors, documents, and people involved in the probate process, so it’s easy for complications to arise. Problems such as a contested will or an inability to find clear records of all of the deceased's assets and debts can extend this timeline.
Lastly, your probate proceedings will be publicly recorded for the court, meaning your case will become public knowledge and will be available to anyone. This significantly limits you and your family’s privacy which is not ideal during a family member's death.
A living trust provides tax savings to those estates that are subject to estate or gift taxes. There are many types of trusts to choose from, but the most common are irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts. A revocable living trust allows you to make amendments and changes to the documents as necessary, even during the trustor’s life. An irrevocable trust cannot be amended after the document has been signed, but it does offer significant transfer tax benefits that are not subject to the typical gift tax requirements. When you work with us, we'll make sure to align the type of trust with your family's tax-saving needs and other goals.
When it comes to your trust, it’s important for you to understand that a trust only controls assets that are put, or funded, into the trust. Living trusts need to be continually updated to accommodate changes such as marriage, childbirth, home purchases, and tax laws that could affect the trust. With a living trust, the trustor is able to amend the document to reflect their wishes. Because of this, it’s crucial that you work closely with your estate planning attorney to make sure your assets are properly aligned with your trust. This will not only help you get organized, but it will also make things easier for your heirs when you pass away.
Call our office at (775) 823-9455 or visit us online at wealth-counselors.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Estate plans are more than your monetary net worth. Categories of your estate can include real estate, pets, possessions and all other property you own. Some people forget how priceless personal property, such as family heirlooms and keepsakes, can be to those you leave behind.
It is important to work out what will happen to these valuable items after your death by creating an estate plan.
Heirlooms have been passed down to family members for generations. These items can vary in monetary value, but the memories attached to them are copious, giving them an emotional and sentimental value that shouldn’t be discarded or auctioned after your passing.
Keepsakes are slightly different from heirlooms because they apply to specific items you owned during your life. These items can be anything from cutlery sets, furniture, or jewelry that you left behind for your family. While these valuable items only have been passed down once, they have nostalgia your family wouldn’t want to lose.
Family members can have different values associated with certain heirlooms and keepsakes. It can be crucial to talk with each family member about their feelings and expectations towards certain items in advance. This common knowledge will help your family avoid unnecessary fighting for heirlooms or keepsakes after your death.
It is a good idea to decide if you need to have your family heirlooms or keepsakes appraised. By doing this, you provide your heirs with the necessary documentation to understand the value of each object passed down to them. Plus, you might realize you want to get some of these items insured due to their worth. Handling this before you pass will make it easier for your heirs to go through the mourning process and avoid unnecessary externalities.
There is no proper way to distribute these valuable and irreplaceable items after your death. Of course, these valuables could end up lost or undervalued if they end up in the wrong hands when there is no plan in place for family heirlooms and keepsakes.
Here are some ways to distribute these precious items to your heirs.
Some people prefer to equally distribute heirlooms and keepsakes to their heirs by focusing on each items' monetary value. An estates planning attorney can offer you guidance when understanding the liquidity of each family heirloom and keepsake.
It is important to note more than two of your heirs may desire the same heirloom or keepsake. You can resolve this dilemma before you pass by creating a personal property memorandum. This document is a chance for you to explicitly state your wishes and avoid any conflict that may come after your death.
One benefit to this type of inheritance planning is that a property personal memorandum is referred to as your last will and identifies who is to receive said property. Also, you don't need to execute a new will or amend your trust if you decide to make modifications to which heirs receive these family heirlooms and keepsakes.
You may prefer to gift special items to your heirs before passing away. Doing this could be a consideration if you find enjoyment in seeing how your family reacts to receiving their heirloom or keepsake.
Of course, you don't want to forget the gift tax you may incur after giving any items to your heirs while alive. Furthermore, you may want to consider if you should factor them into what share of your estate your heirs receive after your death depending on their value.
Anderson Dorn and Rader’s attorneys have the expertise and knowledge to help you create an estate plan that considers all your assets. Family heirlooms and keepsakes are just one piece of the puzzle. Define all your wishes for what your heirs receive with an estate plan to help avoid conflict between your heirs later on.
Many Northern Nevadans know the dangers that come along with this time of year. A 2019 statistic showed that 17% of all accidents happen during winter conditions, highlighting an increased chance for individuals to experience an accident due to extreme weather changes. Ultimately, no matter how long you’ve lived in the region, less sunlight, alongside rain, snow, and black ice creates challenges for anyone driving on the road. While no one ever thinks they will fall victim to an accident, knowing what to do after a fender bender is crucial to ensuring a headache-free experience.
Following these guidelines can help you document the incident calmly and efficiently.
While many people believe there is no reason to immediately report minor accidents, following these steps avoids unnecessary complications and significant penalties down the road.
If an accident occurs making you unable to speak or communicate decisions clearly, you will need to have someone talk to medical professionals on your behalf. This should be a previously planned and trusted individual who would be deemed your medical power of attorney. This person will arrange treatment with doctors until you regain consciousness, so it's crucial you've assigned this power to someone. Your medical power of attorney will expedite medical treatment in the case of an emergency. Furthermore, your medical power of attorney should know where to obtain a copy of this documentation to help expedite treatment.
Opting for minimum coverage can be detrimental to your savings and property in the event of a serious lawsuit. You and your car must be fully covered to prevent this from happening. Plus, you should speak to your insurance broker to find out if umbrella insurance makes sense for you. Umbrella insurance is a low-cost way to gain extra liability coverage and protect yourself from damages that may exceed the limits of your car insurance. Umbrella insurance ensures you have access to a bigger pool of money in the event of a car crash lawsuit against you, protecting your savings and future prosperity.
After a car accident with significant property damages and medical injuries, it may feel necessary to protect your assets from excessive lawsuit demands. You may attempt to do this by transferring funds to friends and family, but be careful because this is against the law in some states. These transfers used to protect assets won’t be ignored by the courts. If considered fraudulent, court judges have the full right and power to reverse transfers. This means that these assets can be obtained by the party in the event of a successful lawsuit against you even after being gifted to a friend or family member.
Revocable trusts are used to protect your assets and trust from creditors and lawsuits after your death. Unfortunately, while some people believe that these trusts protect their assets during their life, this is a misconception and not their design. These trusts fail to completely protect your assets because you have complete control of all assets placed in a revocable trust. Your ability to control these trusts means a judge can order you to revoke the trust to pay creditors and lawsuit judgments.
However, with the guidance of an experienced asset protection and estate planning attorney, you can use properly designed strategies to enhance protection for your assets and property. That means taking the time to sit down with an experienced attorney well before an accident occurs offers you the best chance to maximize asset protection for your estates.
Contact us today to see how AD&R can provide you with the finest legacy and wealth planning advice Northern Nevada has to offer. We help get you the proper insurance and design estate planning to help you overcome unexpected lawsuits after an accident. Give us a call today so that we can help prepare you for the perils winter might bring.
To date, twenty-four states have enacted or introduced model legislation referred to as the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (Formerly Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act). The full text is available on the website of the Uniform Law Commission at https://www.uniformlaws.org/committees/community-home?CommunityKey=64ee1ccc-a3ae-4a5e-a18f-a5ba8206bf49.
You’ve had your trust documents drafted and signed, now you assume your estate plan is in place and no further action is required. Unfortunately, this is not all that needs to be done to ensure your estate plan is effective. For any trust to have actual value, it needs to be funded.
The process of funding your trust is essential to leave property, cash, and other assets to your beneficiaries. Learn more about trust funding and proper titling below.
Funding is the process of moving assets, such as money and property into the appropriate trust. To fully understand funding, imagine your trust as an empty bucket. The bucket by itself doesn’t offer much usefulness, but once you fill the bucket up, it has a purpose. Trusts function similarly in that they are only useful when they have money or property in them.
The funding process involves retitling your assets in the name of your trust. Bank accounts, property, and any other assets will need to be titled in the trust’s name in order for them to be included in that trust, otherwise, it will remain empty. This can be done in one of two ways:
By doing this, your trust can be easily handed over to a successor trustee to manage in the event of your incapacitation - without the need for court intervention. Your successor trustee will have the right and responsibility to use the assets placed in the trust for you and your beneficiaries while you are unable to manage those things on your own. Fortunately, fully funded living trusts are exempt from the probate process, which provides a superior method of managing the trust for streamlined asset distribution and much more.
To properly fund your trust, you’ll need to work with the financial organizations you bank with to transfer ownership of your accounts into the trust’s name. Any real property you own will also need to be transferred into the trust’s name which may require a new deed to be signed with the correct information. Take a look at some of the common types of property that can be included or funded in your trust:
Accounts including checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit (CD) should all be regularly funded to your trust. To do this, you’ll need to work with the bank or credit union in which you have accounts to retitle them into your trust’s name. Commonly, you will be required to provide a certificate of trust that contains information the financial institution will need to complete the transfer. Just be sure that there are no early withdrawal penalties for retitling your CD accounts.
Real estate may refer to your personal residence or another property (commercial, residential, or industrial) owned by you. Real property refers to the interests associated with property such as mineral or timber rights. Both types of property will require the help of an estate planning attorney to prepare the appropriate documents and ensure the property deeds are signed and sealed specifically for your trust.
Investment accounts will also need to be transferred into your trust’s name which can be accomplished through your financial advisor or broker of a custodial account. To do this, a certificate of trust is often necessary for proper retitling of your investments.
Personal effects may include items such as jewelry, furniture, clothing, photos, artwork, collections, tools, vehicles, and more. You can easily move these items into your trust by signing an assignment of personal property.
In regards to your life insurance, it’s best to name your trust as the primary beneficiary of the policy so that the trust has authority over the earnings garnered from said policy. It is then customary to name loved ones or other special persons such as a spouse, partner, or child as secondary beneficiaries. Most insurance companies have processes in place that allow these changes to be made easily. To change the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy, contact your insurance agent to get the proper beneficiary designation forms filled out and filed.
Retirement assets may include individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401k plans. Typically, it is not recommended to transfer ownership of these accounts to your trust due to the serious tax implications they pose for the plan’s owner. Before you assign your trust as the primary beneficiary on your retirement accounts, it’s crucial that you understand the potential tax consequences associated with this plan of action. Fortunately, your estate planning attorney can help you assess these risks and make the most appropriate decision for you.
The most common types of property are listed above, but these aren’t the only assets that you may want to be funded into your trust. To ensure that your legacy goes to the appropriate beneficiaries, and to avoid probate, it’s important to include all of your assets in your trust. Some of the other types of property that should be funded into your trust include:
Your estate plans matter more than you may think. While many people assume they don’t have adequate assets to warrant the need for a living trust or other types of estate plans, this isn’t the case. Reputable estate planning attorneys can help you develop an effective estate plan that safeguards your assets and ensures your legacy for generations to come.
Connect with Anderson, Dorn & Rader today to have your trust documents drafted and titled, and your trusts properly funded. We’ll help you retitle your accounts and ensure correct ownership of your property for an effective estate plan.
In the event of your incapacity, it’s crucial that you begin estate planning to set processes and prepare documents such as a last will and testament or revocable living trust to safeguard your assets. Congress determined that due to the importance and benefits estate planning has for Americans and their families, it was necessary to bring awareness to the cause. Thus, since 2008, the third week of October has been recognized as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. While the onset of COVID-19 did encourage a majority of us to begin thinking about the future, many American families are still severely lacking an effective estate plan with just one-third of adults in the U.S. having documented wills or trusts. If you assume that estate planning isn’t for you because you haven’t acquired mass wealth or several large assets, you’d be mistaken.
Estate planning is simply a way to protect your assets and your loved ones by creating legally valid documents that address a variety of concerns. These concerns often include ensuring that your money and property are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your assets are managed according to your wishes.
To begin the estate planning process, several considerations need to be made. Some of the things that will require your attention are whether or not you have a will or trust, your plans for powers of attorney, insurance coverage, and your existing accounts. Below, we will discuss these considerations more in-depth:
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great opportunity to get your own estate plan in place, but be sure to also reach out to your loved ones to ensure their future estate plans as well. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach because it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation:
Our estate planning and trust company in Reno, NV has been serving families and businesses throughout northern Nevada for over 25 years. As experienced estate attorneys, we are dedicated to providing you with the most current estate planning information and strategies to ensure your legacy for future generations. We’re able to prepare last will and testaments, revocable trusts, healthcare directives, and act as power of attorney in the case of your incapacitation. Contact us today to learn more about estate planning or sign up for one of our estate planning workshops.
In the attempt to progress towards a modern US tax system, the Biden administration has proposed a number of changes to the current tax code. According to a publication released by the U.S. Treasury early this year, they hope to push these changes through Congress which is necessary to gain approval for the amendments. It’s true that many Americans are divided on the best methods for stimulating the US economy, however, one fact remains undoubtable - careful estate and tax planning is crucial for the wealth and financial security of American families.
The Greenbook, a publication that provides information regarding the Administration’s revenue proposals, details the proposed changes which will ultimately impact estate planning in numerous ways. Many of the effective estate planning strategies that have been diligently defined by professionals in the industry for decades may be discarded. However, this could also enhance certain processes in estate planning by implementing other key strategies.
Notably, the reduction of estate and gift tax exemption amounts is absent from the list of proposals. While it’s possible that this could change in the future, we know that for now, these tax exemptions remain extremely high. It’s important to understand the law as it is written today so that you can make appropriate decisions with your assets and prepare for other coming changes.
As it stands today, the estate tax laws that were passed under the Trump administration will expire and reset to the prior laws starting in 2026. If there is no action made by Congress to change this, the reset will restore the estate and gift tax exemption amount to $5 million, as it was in 2016. However, the rate of inflation must also be included in this amount which brings the total to roughly $6.6 million by 2026.
With this information in mind, it’s crucial that you do all you can now to determine the expected return on your investments for the future. To do this, you should consider the average rates of return on your current investments, compounded annually. Many people have found that a healthy return of 7% annually could double one’s net worth in just 10 to 12 years. However, if estate tax exemption amounts are reduced by roughly 50% and continue to increase with the inflation rate, you risk having to pay significantly high estate tax rates.
It can be difficult to prepare for the uncertainties that may affect your tax and estate planning strategies. Without knowing what the future holds, how do you determine the best way to protect your assets? To make a more accurate decision, some of the other Greenbook proposals should also be considered, such as:
These changes haven’t been approved yet by Congress, but their consideration could help sway your strategic plans. The following strategies are still effective tools under current tax law, and implementing them now could provide significant tax savings.
A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an estate planning strategy that allows the grantor to contribute appreciating assets to chosen beneficiaries using little or none of your gift tax exemption. To do this, you would transfer some of your property or accounts to the GRAT in which you will still retain the right to receive an annuity. Following a specified period of time, the beneficiaries will receive the amount remaining in the trust.
Another estate planning strategy that may be beneficial for you is to gift seed capital, typically in the form of cash, to an intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT). You will then sell appreciating or income-producing property to the IDGT in which they will make installment payments back to you over a period of time. If the account or property increases in value over the period of the sale, the accounts or property in the trust will appreciate outside your taxable estate and will therefore avoid estate taxes. Additionally, the trust does not have to pay income taxes on the income the trust retains since the taxes are already paid on the income generated and accumulated in the trust.
In a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT), the grantor is to gift property to a trust created for the benefit of their spouse and possibly their beneficiaries. An independent trustee can make discretionary distributions to those beneficiaries, which can also benefit you indirectly. Contrary, an interested trustee should be limited to ascertainable standards when making distributions, such as health and education. With this estate planning strategy, you can take advantage of the high lifetime gift tax exemption amount by making gifts to your spouse. This trust avoids the use of the marital deduction which means the assets in the SLAT will not be included in either your or your spouse’s gross estate for estate tax purposes.
Finally, there are irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs). This trust allows leveraging life insurance to ease the burden placed on your estate if it becomes subject to estate tax at your death. This type of trust is established by transferring an existing life insurance policy into the ILIT in which you make annual gifts to the trust in order to pay the premiums on the policy. At your death, the trust receives the insurance death benefit and distributes it according to the trust’s terms. The death benefit and the premiums gifted to the trust are completed gifts, meaning your estate would not include any of the trust’s value.
We are holding a series of webinars over the coming weeks, from which you can obtain a great deal of useful information. Just choose the session that fits into your schedule. The webinars are being offered on a complimentary basis, so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. This being stated, we do ask that you register in advance so that we can reserve your seat.
To sign up for an estate planning webinar, visit Anderson, Dorn & Rader here. Once you find a date that is right for you, click on the button that you see and follow the simple instructions to register. For more information regarding estate tax exemptions and planning, connect with our estate planning attorneys today.
Trusts are an essential part of legacy and estate planning as they provide the best security over a person’s assets during and after life. A trust allows a grantor, or creator of the trust, to set aside possessions and assets for assigned beneficiaries following their death or incapacitation. There are several types of trusts to choose from, but regardless of this, you’re going to require the assistance of a successor trustee to manage the trust in the event that something happens to you. If you’re asking yourself “what is a successor trustee and why do I need one?”, you’re not alone. Take a look below to learn more about successor trustees and how to go about selecting them.
A successor trustee is a person or group of people appointed to manage a trust when the grantor is no longer capable of managing it themselves. This may be due to the grantor becoming incapacitated, losing the ability to make decisions, or passing away. The successor trustee is responsible for administering and settling a trust in the event that one of these circumstances occurs.
Duties of the successor trustee vary case by case as these terms are set by the grantor, but most commonly, trustees are responsible for overseeing the trust and managing the distribution of assets when the time comes. They will also be responsible for notifying relatives and proper institutions of the death or incapacitation. Often, the role of successor trustee lasts for many years making it a rather large commitment that may also be quite time-consuming.
Successor trustees can be any trusted adult you choose such as adult children, relatives, trusted friends, or professional trustee services like those from Anderson, Dorn & Rader.
When it comes time to select a trustee, the grantor has a few options. It may be recommended that one person be appointed to serve as the successor trustee or it may be suggested to have multiple trustees. Having a single person act as successor trustee helps avoid potential conflicts between co-trustees during the administration of the trust. For this reason, it’s a common approach in estate planning to assign one person as the trustee at a time. So long as the successor trustee maintains contact with beneficiaries, keeps them informed about the trust administration, and fulfills the trustee’s responsibilities under both the law and the provisions of the trust document, appointing a single successor trustee can be a great option.
However, many trust makers are reluctant to place the entire responsibility for trust administration on just one person. Because of this, a grantor may appoint two or more trusted adults to serve as successor co-trustees. This method may be beneficial not only for the trustees but for the grantor as well. For instance, dividing the trustee’s responsibilities will help make the job of serving as a trustee much more manageable. To explain, a grantor may appoint a professional trustee service to be in charge of handling trust investments or accounting and tax information while another appointed trustee such as a family member or friend handles the distribution of assets and other similar duties. Likewise, having successor co-trustees may ensure the process of checks and balances which ultimately safeguard your trust from potential abuses of authority.
To determine whether your trust will be better in the hands of a single successor trustee or multiple trustees, you need to first understand the advantages and disadvantages of having successor co-trustees managing your trust. Some of the advantages of the co-trustee approach include:
Some of the disadvantages of the co-trustee approach to consider are:
Before choosing whom to name as a successor trustee, you should discuss the options with your attorney and other professional advisors. Doing so will help you identify some of the potential pitfalls and complications that can arise with regard to your successor trustee choice. During this discussion, you may realize the need to make changes to your estate planning documents such as adding or eliminating beneficiaries or editing your assets.
Before determining what the right approach is for you, consider the following questions regarding potential successor trustees:
It can be extremely difficult to determine what the best management option for your trust is. Fortunately, there are professionals out there to help make the decision more simple. If you’re struggling to appoint a trustee or group of trustees, connect with the expert estate planners at Anderson, Dorn & Rader to learn more about your options. As estate planning attorneys with extensive experience serving as professional trustees, they’re more than qualified to help you make the right decision regarding your legacy.
Whether you nominate a single successor trustee or multiple co-trustees, carefully considering the pros and cons of each approach can help ensure that your wishes for the handling of your estate and trust will be honored. Contact us today so we can review your current successor trustee selections or create an estate plan with the right people in charge to assist you when needed.
During estate planning, the beneficiaries are likely to change over time. It’s common for grandchildren to be added into the plan as they come, which will require several amendments from a licensed estate planning attorney. Estate planning attorneys are often asked about trusts for grandchildren and what the best option is.
Several inheritance methods exist to accommodate grandchildren and there are many factors to consider when determining the best one for you and your family. For most grandparents, the best way to provide for their grandchildren is to leave their accounts and property to the grandchildren’s parents. In some cases, however, it makes better sense for grandparents to give property directly to their grandchildren.
If you’re wondering, “Can I open a trust account for my grandchildren?” the answer is yes. Below are examples of trusts for grandchildren and some of the basic information you need to know about them.
While Estate planning can be complicated, it is essential in protecting yourself and your loved one's financial future. Give Anderson, Dorn & Rader Ltd. a call at 775-823-9455 to make a free consultation with an estate planning attorney and see how we can help protect your legacy and your family.
Regardless of your current situation, it is important to consider the possibilities and options for leaving an inheritance to your grandchildren. Failing to do so can have long-lasting consequences and, in many cases, may result in difficult legal challenges and family complications upon your passing.
Many grandparents decide that the best way to provide for their grandchildren is to leave their assets to the grandchildren’s parents. This typically ensures the financial stability of that family unit, thereby indirectly benefiting the grandchildren. From a practical perspective, the grandchildren’s parents are often in the best position to know how to use the money for the benefit of their children and can spend or invest it appropriately on their behalf.
In a majority of the U.S., default inheritance laws have been set to provide first for children and then for the grandchildren in the event of the grandparent’s death.
In rare instances, grandparents may find that it is in everyone’s best interests to leave their assets directly with the grandchildren. This may occur for a few reasons including cases where the grandparents are untrusting of their own children and are concerned that the money would not be responsibly used for the benefit of the grandchild.
One may also choose to directly leave their assets to the grandchildren if the grandchild’s parents are independently wealthy. This could result in added taxes being tacked onto the estate caused by exposing the property which may be costly.
Lastly, you must consider the possibility of grandchildren inheriting your assets through their parents by default. Although the intent of grandparents may have been to leave everything to their adult children, an inheritance may be given to grandchildren unintentionally. In the event that the adult child who originally inherited the assets prematurely passes away due to an accident or illness, the grandchild could inherit all assets. Arrangements can be made to accommodate these situations in the will or trust.
There are many types of trusts for grandchildren for you to choose from including HEET trusts, Gift trusts, and Generation Skipping trusts. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, therefore, it is important for you to discuss which option is best for you with a licensed trusts attorney.
One of the most preferred ways to leave assets to grandchildren is by naming them as a beneficiary in your will or trust. As the grantor or trustor, you are able to specify a set amount of money or a percentage of your total accounts and property to each grandchild as you see fit. This is an effective method given that all of the grandchildren receiving such gifts are physically and emotionally stable, financially prudent, and have reached adulthood.
However, if the grandchildren are minors at the time of your death, this method leaves the trustee or executor of the estate with more responsibilities to handle before the inheritance can be distributed. In this case, the gift will need to be held in a custodial account for the minor until they have reached the majority age (either 18 or 21). And in some instances, establishing a court-controlled conservatorship over the property may be required.
Regardless of either instance, once the child reaches the age of majority, you or the trustee will not be able to control how that money is used by the grandchild. This could result in the inheritance being spent very poorly by the grandchild or could possibly fall into the hands of a spouse or other person who was not intended to receive the gift.
A trust offers one of the most flexible methods for leaving an inheritance to grandchildren. Not only are you able to amend the trust as you need, but you also have the ability to set the maturity date and control how the inheritance is used. When you leave an inheritance to grandchildren via a trust, you can ensure that the money and property are used appropriately and at appropriate times.
There are a variety of ways to use trusts in your estate planning. Provisions can be added to your will or revocable living trust that give you the freedom to decide how the inheritance is distributed. For example, you can instruct the executor or trustee to hold any property that is payable to a grandchild in a separate trust share rather than making a direct distribution of the accounts or property to them. Also, you can specify in those trust terms how the money is to be used or distributed and when. Such provisions are extremely important to ensure your estate plan follows your specific instructions, regardless of unexpected events impeding on those wishes. Fortunately, a trust can protect and manage the inheritance until it can be distributed to the grandchildren at a more appropriate time.
Another way to use trusts for grandchildren is to have the grandparent create a trust that designates them the trustor and the trustee. Creating the trust during your lifetime and naming yourself as the trustee allows you to transfer some of your property into the trust for the benefit of your grandchildren to use before your passing. From a tax perspective, you can make gifts to this trust using the annual gift tax exemption (currently, $15,000 per beneficiary of the trust per year) to safeguard the gifts from transfer taxes.
If your estate is large enough to potentially be subject to the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, then you may consider creating a special trust that may provide additional tax benefits. A health and education exclusion trust (HEET) is one of these special types of trusts. A HEET is designed to be used for the use of paying for health and education expenses directly on behalf of the beneficiaries without being subjected to gift taxes in the future. Furthermore, the distributions to the beneficiaries will be exempt from the GST tax. This benefit is obtained by naming a charitable institution as an additional beneficiary of the trust. As long as the trustee makes regular and reasonably substantial distributions to the charitable beneficiary from the trust, the distributions to the other beneficiaries will be GST tax-exempt.
A HEET is worth considering for several reasons. First, if you would like to help your grandchildren and succeeding generations with their education and medical expenses this is the perfect option for you. And if you have used up your GST tax exemption amount through gifting or other estate planning strategies, a HEET exempts the GST tax. Lastly, a HEET gives you the opportunity to benefit a charitable organization as part of your estate planning.
When planning your estate, generation skipping transfer taxes need to be considered. GST taxes are a unique form of taxation that will undoubtedly affect your grandchildren’s inheritance if what you own is valued at more than the current estate tax exemption amount. For most people with modest accounts and property, the GST tax does not pose any significant plight. However, the GST tax is something that you should be aware of and plan around if you plan to leave any amount of money or property with your grandchildren.
Another point to consider when creating a trust specifically for your grandchildren is the GST tax that is required should you include your grandchildren’s children in the trust. You may need to take certain steps upon creation of such trusts to ensure that the trust is GST tax-exempt which a tax professional can assist with.
Though many grandparents seek to provide their grandchildren with an inheritance with good intentions, gift-giving such large sums of money may not be as appreciated by the parents. While some parents may see the gift as a blessing, others find that such large inheritances may hinder their child’s character development. By taking away the need to become financially independent, some parents worry that their children will miss out on important life lessons about sacrifice and hard work and the value of money in general.
Be sure to speak with your grandchildren’s parents beforehand about how you can best support the development of your grandchildren and provide for them in their early years. This will ensure that your gifts will be appreciated and truly beneficial.
Whether you want to specifically and intentionally include your grandchildren in your estate planning or just want to make sure they are carefully accounted for in the event that they unexpectedly inherit your property, it is critical to examine your estate plan with your attorney to make sure that your plan reflects your wishes and your family’s values. Fortunately, the experts at Anderson, Dorn, and Rader have an exemplary understanding of this type of law and are happy to help you update your estate plan.
Connect with our Reno estate planning attorneys and learn how you can open a trust for your grandchildren.
How to Responsibly Leave an Inheritance to Your Grandchildren, Ortiz Gosalia Attorneys at Law (June 8, 2021)
This year has been unprecedented from a political perspective in many ways. President Joe Biden stepped into office facing huge obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy battered by the pandemic, a crumbling national infrastructure in dire need of repair, an ongoing immigration crisis at our southern border, and deep political and social divisions in this country, among other challenges.
As Biden entered office, he named the following issues as his top priorities:
With these issues at the top of Biden’s priority list, it may appear that no real changes are coming down the pipeline that are directly related to the estate plans of most Americans of average means. But if recent history is any guide, although many of us hope that the estate planning landscape will remain settled and predictable, it is unlikely that we will be so lucky. Here’s what we know so far with regard to proposals coming from the White House.
While many of the issues Biden has prioritized have begun to be addressed within his first one hundred days in office, many of them are still in their infancy, with the details of how they will be implemented and funded still to be determined. The following steps have already been implemented or proposed in Biden’s plan.
These large spending bills, both passed and proposed, will need to be funded in some manner.
Some of the possibilities for funding this spending include the following changes to the tax laws
that could have a significant impact on your estate planning: 5
We are living in a time of significant uncertainty when it comes to estate planning and the economy. As a result, it is more important than ever to ensure that your estate plan is designed in a way that enables you to move quickly and take advantage of estate and tax planning opportunities that arise.
Additionally, there remain many non-tax-related reasons to keep your estate plan up-to-date
and relevant to your circumstances:
Keeping abreast of the whirlwind of changes in the law and the economy can be a tall order for anyone when it comes to maintaining your estate planning. That is why having an estate plan with appropriate provisions that allow for flexibility is so important. We are prepared to keep you apprised of the legislative changes that are headed our way and will help you stay informed so you can move quickly if changes to your planning become necessary. We always welcome a call from you to set up an appointment with our office to discuss your estate plan. Together, we can make sure you are prepared for whatever may come.
1 Jacob Pramuk, Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill, Clearing Way for Stimulus Checks, Vaccine
Aid, CNBC (Mar. 11, 2021, 3:03 PM)
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/11/biden-1point9-trillion-covid-relief- package-thursday-afternoon.htmlhttps://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/11/biden-1point9-trillion-covid-relief- package-thursday-afternoon.html
3 Barbara Sprunt, Here’s What’s in the American Rescue Plan, NPR News (March 11, 2021),
4 Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan, The White House (Apr. 28, 2021),
5 Blank Rome, LLP, Estate Planning in 2021 and Beyond: The Possible Impact of Democratic Control in
Washington, JD Supra (Mar. 9, 2021)
6 See Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan, The White House 14 (Apr. 28, 2021)