For the Reno snowbirds out there, the first snow of the season often signals that it’s time to move to a second residence with a warmer climate. While this move may seem innocent enough, there are a few legal matters to consider before locking up the house and heading south. One of the matters in question is which state you consider ‘home’.

Your state of domicile is where your permanent, principal residence is located. It affects family law matters, estate planning, and of course taxes. It is possible to be a resident of multiple states, but you can only call one your state of domicile. There are some subtle differences in state domiciliary laws, but usually, it’s were you live a large portion of the time and return to after going elsewhere.

For those who split time between multiple US states, it’s important to review your tax records with an advisor to ensure you are filing them correctly, and are maximizing use of tax laws. For instance, if you pay taxes in Nevada, you already know you’re among the seven states that do not have personal income tax.

Senior Couple walking on the beaches as part of the snowbird lifestyle

Is Your Estate Plan Accurate and Up to Date?

Before heading south, take a look at your estate plan documents. It’s easy to glance over life events that may have happened recently, but they can affect how you want your wishes to be carried out. Keeping your estate plan current is a habit everyone should get into, as it ensures a seamless transition of your legacy. Ask yourself the following questions to help:

You may also need help with transactions and other financial matters while away from your domicile. That’s why it is important to determine whether your financial power of attorney is ‘springing’ or ‘immediate’. A springing financial / medical power of attorney means your agent can only step in and take action when you are no longer able to do so. On the other hand, an immediate financial / medical power of attorney means your agent can act on your behalf right away, even if you are able to take action yourself.

The knowledgeable team at Anderson, Dorn & Rader can help you determine which designation your estate specifies, and aid in performing changes if desired.

Attorneys to Help With Your State of Domicile

As you prepare for your upcoming travel, please do not hesitate to give Anderson, Dorn & Rader a call. We are here to answer any questions and to make sure you are properly protected no matter where you may roam. We are available to meet with you in person or via video conference. To schedule a meeting, call us at (775) 823-WILL (9455) or fill out our contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

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.

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Adopting a Trust

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).

Trusts: Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance After a Divorce

A trust protects your children’s inheritance in a few ways:

 

 

Recently Divorced? Contact AD&R to Set Up a Trust.

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.

 

 

Trust laws exist not only to safeguard the trust and trustor, but to also set guidelines for trustees to abide by. A trustee has a duty under the law to communicate with beneficiaries and inform them of progress or changes in the trust administration. Some duties of the trustee include giving beneficiaries a copy of trust documents, providing information and timelines of the trust administration, and preparing an annual accounting synopsis of the trust’s income and expenses.

Unresponsive Trustee

It’s not uncommon for trustees to leave beneficiaries in the dark regarding new trust information. Some trustees are unaware of their duties under the law and believe they can do what they please with the trust. However, this is typically not the case, and if your trustee is unresponsive to your requests for information, you have every right to seek further action. Below are some things for you to consider when wondering how to handle an unresponsive trustee.

Determine If You Have The Proper Contact Method

How do you try to contact your trustee? Is it through email? Do you try to call? Have you sent a letter through the mail? It could be very possible that your trustee simply isn’t checking in on all of their inboxes all the time. A trustee who simply doesn’t check their email regularly may respond quicker to a phone call or text message. If you’re not getting response through phone or texts, you could try sending them a formal letter.

You should also consider the relationship you and the trustee have with each other. If communication typically escalates into hostility between you two, it’s possible that the trustee may be avoiding you on purpose, even though this goes against their duties to keep all beneficiaries informed. If you cannot speak civilly in person or over the phone, it’s important that you keep all communication in writing. Just be sure to ask your questions very clearly and request information without accusations. If this still doesn’t work and your trustee remains unresponsive, it may be time to seek legal assistance.

When To Involve An Attorney

An attorney may be involved in trust communication between beneficiaries and trustees in one of two ways. Most trustees have attorneys who represent them. If you’re having a hard time getting a hold of the trustee, try contacting their lawyer instead. If a trustee is oblivious to their duties under law, an attorney can ensure they are made aware of their responsibilities and encourage the trustee to comply. Some trustees may not want to directly communicate with beneficiaries of the trust, in which case their attorney may be the direct point of contact. To get information via a trustee’s attorney, be sure to follow up your initial call or text with the requests you wish to receive and any attempts you have made to contact the trustee.

If you feel a lack of proper representation in a situation like this, you may also seek out your own attorney. They’ll be able to clearly identify your rights as a beneficiary, and will give you the backup you need to enforce them. It’s always a good idea to have an objective intermediary that can assist in getting you the information you are rightfully entitled to.

File A Petition With The Court

If you and your attorney are still being met with no response, then your last option is to file a petition with your local court. Before you do this though, you should confirm that your attorney is familiar with trust laws and administration. This can make or break your petition’s success. If the trustee fails to respond to the petition, the court can then remove the trustee from the trust. This might also make the trustee liable for any losses or damages the beneficiaries experienced as a result of their lack of communication and ability to perform their duties. A court petition gives additional resources like subpoenas, depositions, and requests for documents to help you get the information you’re seeking. This should be used as the last method for handling an unresponsive trustee, as it can be costly and emotionally messy.

Trustees can conjure various reasons for being unresponsive, but they are legally obligated to communicate with and provide beneficiaries with certain information regarding the trust. Before you go filing a petition right away, try another method of contacting the trustee. If a phone call isn’t working, try an email or maybe send a letter instead. If this still doesn’t garner any results, involve an attorney. They will help get the ball rolling and will likely encourage the trustee to come forward with their information. Only as a last result should a petition be filed with your local court.

Connect With Reliable Trust Attorneys

If you have any questions regarding how to contact an unresponsive trustee, be sure to reach out to the reliable and experienced trust attorneys at Anderson, Dorn & Rader. We’re happy to help you get the information from the trust administration that you are entitled to, and are dedicated to providing the highest quality estate planning resources available.

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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.

How to do an estate sale

Are Backup Decision Makers Necessary?

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.

Who Will Look After Your Pets?

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.

Are your Contingent Beneficiaries Lined Up?

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.

Always Think of the Unthinkable

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.

Preparing Your Estate for the Unexpected

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.

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.

Family Estate PlanningSometimes, 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.

Inheritance Planning

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.

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.

Estate Planning Nevada

What To Do After A Car Accident

Following these guidelines can help you document the incident calmly and efficiently.

  1. First, check that you and all passengers in your vehicle are okay. If there seem to be any injuries, call 911 right away. You can report the accident and injuries during this time to ensure the proper first responders are sent. If for any reason, you do not have access to a phone, be sure to immediately ask any stopped witnesses or civilians to call for help.
  2. If no one is injured and you are not at risk of further danger, move all vehicles involved to a safe location. Once you are removed from further danger, exchange driver's licenses, contacts, and insurance information with every party involved.
  3. Afterward, it is a good idea to contact your local authorities if no injuries have been previously reported. No parties involved should leave until the officer shows up so that the accident can be properly evaluated. While waiting, feel free to take pictures of damages caused to all vehicles involved. The police report will help each insurance company determine who is at fault for the accident and any other injuries that may arise in the future.
  4. Finally, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you are in a safe place, you can contact your insurance company immediately after the accident. They offer guidance during this stressful time and can ensure that you don’t miss any steps that would have significant consequences regarding liability.

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.

Estate Planning

How Car Accidents Can Impact Your Estate Planning

Healthcare decision-making.

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.

Adequate insurance coverage.

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.

Be Careful of Fraudulent Transfers.

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 Do Not Protect Your Property from Lawsuits

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.

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Contact AD&R Now to Protect Your Estates

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.

SPEAK WITH AN ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY

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.

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.   

How Might the Estate Tax Exemption Reduction Affect You?

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. 

Other Greenbook Proposals May Be a Factor

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.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust

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.

inheritance estate planning

Installment Sales to an Intentionally Defective Grantor 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.

Spousal Lifetime Access 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.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

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. 

Meet with Reputable Estate Planning Attorneys Today

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.

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When we think of estate planning, we often think about preparing our accounts and property to go to our loved ones in a tax-efficient way, protected from probate, disgruntled heirs, beneficiaries’ creditors, divorcing spouses, bankruptcy, and the poor spending habits of children or other beneficiaries. We rarely consider preparing for receiving an inheritance of our own.

Believe it or not, there are some essential things you must consider when you anticipate receiving an inheritance. Understanding these issues can be crucial to protect that inheritance from unnecessary taxes and outside threats like creditors, divorcing spouses, and bankruptcy.

Understanding the Nature of the Property to Be Inherited

The first way to properly prepare to receive an inheritance is to discover what you will be inheriting. Is it real estate, a 401(k), or an individual retirement account (IRA)? Perhaps it is publicly traded stock, an interest in a family business, or just simply cash from a savings account or life insurance policy.

Whatever it is, there are steps you can take today to plan to receive and manage it properly. For example, if you will receive a large IRA account from a parent, do you understand the new rules associated with inherited IRAs as implemented by the SECURE Act passed in late 2019? If not, you should educate yourself now on how to maximize the tax benefits available under the law regarding required distributions. Without an understanding of these often complicated rules, you could make an irreversible mistake and withdraw all of the IRA funds at one time, thereby substantially increasing your tax liability in the year of withdrawal. There are a variety of nuances to these rules that a tax adviser or attorney can help you understand and navigate properly.

Likewise, if you are receiving rental property as a part of your inheritance, you should consider the business of being a landlord and if you even have an interest in continuing to operate such a venture. If not, you may want to prepare to find a buyer for the property who can offer you a fair price as soon as possible. Or, at the very least, look into hiring a property management company to take over as soon as you inherit the property.

Powers of Appointment

If your loved one has completed trust planning that includes establishing an irrevocable trust for you, such trusts frequently include important features that are generally referred to as powers of appointment. A power of appointment in a trust is a right, often given to the beneficiary of the trust, to gift trust property to someone else or, in some cases, to yourself. These powers are often limited to making gifts to only certain classes of people (such as the descendants of the trust makers), or they may be limited to making gifts only at death (a testamentary power of appointment) or during life (a lifetime power of appointment). Some trusts include both types of powers. These can be powerful planning tools that have been given to you through trust documents. Failure to recognize the existence of these powers can lead to unintended consequences, or at the very least, crucial missed asset protection and tax-planning opportunities.

If you know that you have been granted a power of appointment, you should attempt to obtain a copy of the relevant trust documents to carefully review and determine the nature of these powers. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you with this task. With this information, your professional advisers can properly advise you on the planning opportunities and tax consequences of the powers of appointment that may be available to you.

Keeping Inheritance Separate from Marital Property

A common mistake made by married individuals who receive an inheritance is to commingle that inheritance with the property of both spouses. How can this be a mistake? An example may best illustrate the point:

Imagine Robin receives a cash inheritance from her deceased father of $300,000 and she and her spouse Morgan decide to use the inheritance to buy a vacation cabin in the mountains. When purchasing the property, the title company assumes that because they are a married couple, they want to take title to the property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and the deed gets prepared and recorded accordingly. Further imagine that over the years, they furnish the property together, maintain it, and enjoy many family vacations there. One night, however, Morgan has a little too much to drink at a bar, gets behind the wheel, and causes a deadly accident that results not just in a DUI, but also in a wrongful death lawsuit. Because Morgan’s name is on the title to the property as a joint owner, Robin and Morgan discover that the family cabin is an asset that can be used to satisfy the lawsuit judgment against Morgan. As a result, they are forced to sell the cabin and use half of the proceeds to satisfy the judgment.

This unfortunate circumstance can be the result of Robin’s failure to keep her inheritance as separate property. By commingling her property with Morgan, she made it much easier for the judgment creditor in the lawsuit to reach what otherwise would have been considered Robin’s separate inheritance property.

Commingling inherited property can also lead to a similar result if Robin and Morgan ultimately divorce and the family court judge has to determine how to divide the marital property. Failing to keep the inherited property separate during marriage can often lead to that property being divided between spouses at divorce.

Inheritor's Trust

A fourth way for you to prepare to inherit property is by using an inheritor's trust. This is a special type of trust that can be established by the individual who will be leaving an inheritance to you. An inheritor's trust is designed to receive the inheritance that you would otherwise receive directly. It must be carefully designed and implemented to work properly, and an experienced estate planning attorney should most certainly be used in the effort. A properly drafted inheritor's trust includes the following key elements:

An inheritor's trust includes the following benefits:

An inheritor's trust can be a powerful tool to use when you anticipate receiving a large inheritance and would like to make sure that the inheritance is protected from certain tax consequences or threats from creditors.

If you would like to learn more about any of these concepts, give us a call. We would love to discuss these ideas in greater depth with you so we can help you build and protect your wealth more effectively.

Estate Planning with Anderson, Dorn & Rader

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.

 

Consult with an Estate Planning Professional

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.

Contact Us

 

Inheritance Options for Grandparents

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.

Leaving Assets with the Grandchild's Parents

Inheritance Options For GrandparentsMany 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.

Leaving Assets Directly with the Grandchild

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.  

Grandchildren Gain Assets by Default

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. 

Schedule a Consultation

Choosing the Proper 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.

Naming Your Grandchild a Beneficiary in Your Trust or Will

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.

Gift Trusts

Things To ConsiderA 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.

Health and Education Exclusion Trusts

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.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes

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.

Consider the Parents

Consider The ParentsThough 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.

 

Estate Planning with Anderson, Dorn & Rader

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.

Schedule a Consultation

 

 

How to Responsibly Leave an Inheritance to Your Grandchildren, Ortiz Gosalia Attorneys at Law (June 8, 2021)
https://ortizgosalialaw.com/newsletters/client-focused-newsletter/how-to-responsibly-leave-an-inheritance-to-your-grandchildren/

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:

  1. Getting past the COVID-19 pandemic through masking, vaccinations, and opening schools
  2. Addressing climate change and alternative energy solutions
  3. Financial regulation and student debt
  4. Anticompetition practices among the leading companies in Big Tech
  5. Revitalizing the economy and employment to recover from the pandemic
  6. Improving international relations
  7. Immigration
  8. Race, gender, and social issues

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.

Action from the First One Hundred Days That Could Affect Your Estate

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.

  1. In early March, Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill (named “The American Rescue Plan”), providing stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, and child tax credits to millions of Americans to help stimulate the economy.
  2. On March 31, through the “American Jobs Plan,” Biden outlined a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan that is to be funded primarily through a corporate tax hike an additional measures designed to discourage U.S. corporations from moving their operations overseas to reduce or eliminate U.S. taxation (i.e., “offshoring”).
  3. The American Rescue Plan also allocates significant funding for providing vaccinations to all Americans at no cost, and additional funds to help the nation’s foodservice industry and K-12 schools survive the financial impacts of the pandemic.
  4. The proposed “American Families Plan” by the White House in late April is also designed to help families cover basic expenses, gain greater access to health care insurance, and reduce child poverty through the use of child tax credits and similar measures.

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

  1. Increase IRS enforcement efforts of wealthy taxpayers.
    The White House has determined that significant tax revenues are being left on the table due to the inability of the
    IRS to enforce current tax laws. Biden has proposed increased funding of the IRS to enforce laws against tax avoidance abuses and increase audits to ensure taxes that are in fact owed are being assessed and collected.
  2. Elimination of the rule of step-up in basis at death.
    This proposed change to the tax code would eliminate the benefit of receiving a step-up in tax basis on inherited property in the hands of a deceased individual’s heirs and beneficiaries for gains in excess of $1 million (or $2.5 million per couple when combined with existing real estate exemptions). This could result in significant capital gains taxes being assessed upon the sale of the property once it has been inherited. However, certain exceptions to this rule for small business owners and farmers would be preserved under the proposed legislation.
  3. Increases in top income tax rate.
    Another Biden proposal under consideration is the increase in the top individual tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent and elimination of the lower capital gains tax rates otherwise available for those earning over $1 million annually. Rather, capital gains would be taxed as ordinary income for those earning over $1 million annually.
  4. Reducing potential benefits of 1031 exchanges.
    The President is calling on Congress to reduce the benefits available with the special tax break that allows real estate investors to defer paying capital gains taxes when they exchange properties.

Flexibility Is Key in These Uncertain Times

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

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/03/31/president-joe-biden-proposes-2-trillion-infrastructure-jobs-plan/4809290001/

3 Barbara Sprunt, Here’s What’s in the American Rescue Plan, NPR News (March 11, 2021),
https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/09/974841565/heres-whats-in-the- american-rescue-plan-as-it-heads-toward-final-passage

4 Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan, The White House (Apr. 28, 2021),
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/28/fact-sheet-the-american- families-plan/

5 Blank Rome, LLP, Estate Planning in 2021 and Beyond: The Possible Impact of Democratic Control in
Washington, JD Supra (Mar. 9, 2021)

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/estate-planning-in-2021-and- beyond-the-6514827/

6 See Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan, The White House 14 (Apr. 28, 2021)
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/American-Families-Plan-Fact-Sheet-FINAL.pdf

In March 2004, the Senate passed Resolution 316, which officially recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month. Both Houses of Congress have passed similar resolutions since then designed to encourage financial literacy so that individuals are better prepared to manage their money, credit, and debt. Nevertheless, in the fourth quarter of 2019, U.S. household debt, which includes student debt, credit card debt, auto debt, mortgages, home equity loans, and other debts, exceeded $14 trillion for the first time ever.1 In addition, forty percent of the respondents of one recent survey indicated that it would be very difficult for them to meet their current financial obligations if their next paycheck were delayed for one week, and another thirty-four percent said it would be somewhat difficult.2 The COVID-19 pandemic has, unfortunately, made this potential difficulty a scary reality for many Americans.

Whether or not you are indeed struggling financially, it is important to do a realistic assessment of your financial situation and how prepared you and your family are for the future. Creating or updating your estate plan is an important part of exercising control over your finances, and ensuring that proper plans are in place can provide substantial peace of mind and security for you and your family.

Take an Inventory

One of the first steps in creating an estate plan is to take an inventory of your money and property. Regardless of whether you are wealthy or just getting by, everything that you own is part of your estate and should be listed--or at least accounted for-- in your inventory. This inventory should include the following:

As you and your estate planning attorney evaluate your inventory, there are several questions you should ask yourself.

Am I saving adequately for retirement? Clearly, the answer to this question will vary for different individuals and circumstances, but many financial advisors recommend saving ten to fifteen percent of your pre-tax income during the entire span of your entire working years. If you have not been saving adequately, consider increasing your contributions to your retirement accounts.

Are sufficient funds available to provide for my spouse and dependents if I pass away? If the answer is no, consider purchasing a life insurance policy large enough to replace your income, as well as pay off any outstanding debts, college for your children, final expenses, and other important expenses, e.g., the cost of your child’s wedding or their first car.

Do I have a lot of debt? If you have substantial debt, your family members generally will not be responsible for paying it if you pass away. However, your estate will have to pay off your creditors before your beneficiaries receive anything. Life insurance can help in this situation as well: You can either purchase life insurance sufficient to pay your debt or you can make family members or loved ones the beneficiaries of your policy (or a trust for their benefit), as the proceeds of the policy never become part of your estate but are transferred directly the beneficiaries of the policy. Similarly, retirement, investment, and brokerage accounts allow you to name one or more beneficiaries, keeping those funds outside of your estate. Real estate or accounts owned jointly will also pass directly to the surviving owner when permitted by state law.

An even better course of action, however, would be to meet with a financial planner who can help you create a budget enabling you to decrease or eliminate your debt so that your loved ones will receive all the money and property you would like them to have.

Protect Your Assets

If you transfer money and property you would like to preserve for your beneficiaries into an irrevocable trust, that is, a trust that cannot be amended, modified, or revoked (except under limited circumstances), those assets will be protected from any of your future creditors or judgments (with time limits). Because the money and property used to fund the trust is no longer yours and you have no control over it, it is not available to pay your creditors. Your family members and loved ones can be named as the beneficiaries of the trust. This strategy can be particularly helpful for individuals working in professions that are at a high risk of lawsuits, e.g., doctors, lawyers, etc.

Warning: An irrevocable trust will not protect money and property from creditors having a claim at the time the trust is created. Courts can rescind transfers to trusts if they are determined to have been made with the intention to defraud current creditors.

Consider the Needs of Your Beneficiaries

Protect their inheritance from their creditors. Even if you take all the steps necessary to ensure that your beneficiaries receive a nice nest egg when you pass away, it can disappear quickly once it is in their hands unless your estate plan is designed to avoid this possibility. Fortunately, you can create a trust with terms that will protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance against claims arising from their creditors, divorcing spouses, or lawsuits. There are a variety of different types of trusts that can protect the money and property from such claims, but the following are among the most commonly used. 

Create a trust for a specific purpose(s). You can include terms in your trust authorizing the trustee to make distributions for your children or other loved ones for specific purposes so that even after you have passed away, you are still able to help the trust beneficiaries make certain important purchases or pay for special care.  

Let Us Help You and Your Family Move Toward a Secure Future

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by taking steps to get your financial house in order. Estate planning is an essential part of this process, as it is all about providing you and your family with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that even if the unexpected happens, the future is secure. Please call us today at (775) 823-9455 to set up a meeting so we can create an estate plan that meets all of your needs and goals.

1 Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, February 2020,” accessed March 17, 2020, https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/interactives/householdcredit/data/pdf/hhdc_2019q4.pdf

2 American Payroll Association, “Getting Paid in America Survey,” last modified September 10, 2019, https://www.nationalpayrollweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2019GettingPaidInAmericaSurveyResults.pdf

As millennials (born 1981 to 1996), you are well known for your distinctiveness as a group. Your generation has followed paths and set goals that are decidedly different from those chosen by previous generations. You are highly diverse, better educated, more socially conscious, and wait longer to have families than your parents and grandparents. But one thing you have in common with other generational groups is the need for estate planning. Unfortunately, a startling 79% of millennials do not have basic estate plans in place. Your needs and goals may vary, but having an estate plan in place is crucial for every adult, including millennials. You do not know what the future holds, and we can help you make sure that plans are in place that not only provide for your own future needs but also those of your loved ones and pets.

Will and/or Trust

Millennials Need To PlanAs a millennial, you may not have accumulated as much wealth as members of older generations, but it is important for you to make sure that your money and property will go to the family members or loved ones you have chosen if something happens to you. If you do not have a will or trust, your money and property will pass to the person designated by state law, which may not be the person you would want to inherit your prized possessions and money. In addition, if you are married and have young children, you need to take steps to ensure that your spouse and children are provided for. A trust is often the best solution: If your spouse inherits your money and property outright under a will, and your spouse eventually remarries, your assets could go to the second spouse instead of your children. In addition, the inheritance will be vulnerable to claims made by your spouse’s creditors. A trust can avoid these results by allowing you to choose who receives your property and money, as well as the timing and size of the gifts.

Pet Trust

If you are one of many millennials, especially those who live in large urban areas, who chose either to delay having children or to remain childless, you may have adopted pets that you love and dote upon just as you would a child. Especially if you are single, you should consider a pet trust to provide for your pet’s care if something happens to you. The pet trust can allow you to make arrangements for your pet if you die or are physically unable to care for them yourself. The pet trust can not only specify a caregiver for your pet, it can also provide care instructions and set aside funds sufficient to care for your pet’s needs (medical care, grooming, exercise, etc.). You also have the ability to name an additional person to manage the money you have set aside for your pet, if you would rather have someone other than the caregiver in charge of the money.

Charitable Remainder Trust

Millennials are well known for being socially conscious and wanting to make a positive difference in the world. If you want your money and possessions to support a charitable cause when you pass away, you may be interested in establishing a charitable remainder trust, which enables you to benefit from a stream of income for your own life, with the remaining money in the trust going to a charity you have selected upon your death.

Planning for Student Loans or Credit Card Debt

As the cost of college tuition continues to increase, the level of debt millennials have begun their adult lives with is startlingly high. The average student loan debt of adults aged 25 to 34 is $33,000 per borrower. Federal student loans typically are forgiven upon the borrower’s death, but the estates of borrowers who obtained private loans can be pursued by those lenders. In addition, high credit card debt is prevalent among millennials. If you have incurred substantial debt, life insurance sufficient to cover income tax on the cancellation of debt in the case of a federal student loan or to cover the debt itself if a student loan is owed to a private lender or money is owed to a credit card company may be a good solution if you are concerned about the burden your debt could place on your loved ones upon your death.

Digital Assets 

Millennial Planning For The FutureIf you are like many millennials, who are the first generation who grew up using the internet, you have likely amassed a much greater quantity of digital assets than members of previous generations. These assets may include social media accounts, blogs, photographs and videos, financial accounts, and email accounts, among many others. A comprehensive list of these of these assets, which may be among your most prized possessions, as well as the accompanying usernames and passwords, and instructions for their management, is essential to ensure that your wishes are honored if you pass away or become too ill to manage them on your own. Depending upon your wishes, you can appoint a separate person to wind up (or continue managing, e.g., in the case of a blog) these assets and accounts, or you can choose to have your executor or trustee handle this aspect of your estate. The list, which can be incorporated by reference into your other estate planning documents, should be stored in a secure place along with your will and/or trust.

Powers of Attorney

Medical Power of Attorney

If you are a younger millennial, you may not realize that your parents no longer automatically have the right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become too ill to make them on your own or if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Even if you are married, your spouse may still need to be properly named in a medical power of attorney to make decisions for you when you cannot. It is also important to designate a trusted person to act on your behalf if your spouse is unavailable. If you fail to have a medical power of attorney prepared, a court proceeding may be necessary to appoint someone to fill that role if, e.g., you are in an automobile accident and are unconscious. You should also consider completing a living will spelling out your wishes regarding medical treatment you want--or don’t want--at the end of your life or if you are in a persistent vegetative state.

Financial Power of Attorney

Another document that is essential for your care if you were to become unconscious or too ill to make your own financial decisions is a financial power of attorney. It allows a person you have named to pay bills, take care of your home, manage your accounts, and make other money-related decisions for you. Even if you are married, a financial power of attorney is important because any bank accounts or other property that are not jointly owned cannot be managed by your spouse without it—unless your spouse goes to court and asks to be appointed as your guardian, causing unnecessary stress in an already distressing situation. A financial power of attorney can also be helpful if you do a lot of international travel and may occasionally need someone to handle your financial matters while you are out of the country. 

Let Us Help You Prepare for the Future

You may think that estate planning is only for the elderly. However, even if you are young, an estate plan is crucial, regardless of whether you have accumulated much money or property. A properly executed estate plan provides not only for the well-being of your family, loved ones, and pets, but also allows you to put plans in place if you become ill or are severely injured and cannot make medical and financial decisions for yourself. Call us today at 775-823-9455 to learn more about how we can help you prepare for your future.

 

financial planning after the weddingWeddings are very memorable events - full of anticipation and lots of planning.  Once you decide to get married, there is one type of planning that many people overlook – financial planning.  Even if you wait to discuss financial planning after the wedding, it is still very important that you get an understanding of your spouse's spending habits and how he or she looks at their financial obligations.
Spender or saver?
If you or your spouse liked to indulge before the wedding, you will probably do the same after the vows have been said.  It is good to discuss your views on finances early on to avoid surprises.  If you are a serious spendthrift these differences in attitude about money need to be addressed ahead of time, so that hopefully a compromise can be reached.  Among the top three most cited reasons for divorce are money issues or arguments, and many times financial planning before (or early in) a marriage can resolve the largest disputes.
Put all of your respective financial obligations on the table
It is important to disclose to each other everything there is to know about your individual, respective financial situations. Be honest about your income, debts, and pre-existing financial issues. Also, do not overlook any existing financial obligations to an ex-spouse or children from a prior marriage or relationship.  A marriage should be about honesty, which includes honesty about your financial situation, even if your financial situation may not be pretty.
Who is responsible for what?
Some couples decide right off that everything will be split down the middle, including both income and financial obligations.  Others divide the bills between themselves.  Whatever arrangement you decide to make, it should be established as soon as possible to prevent any confusion.  If you have separate accounts, know which account pays which bill. Also, remember to notify creditors of your any name changes, new addresses, or account changes.
Discuss future goals and realistic expectations
As newlyweds, you will no doubt find yourself sharing your dreams and expectations regarding your new life together.  By evaluating your financial situation early on, it will be easier to define your goals as a couple. Some questions to discuss should include whether to purchase a home, start a family, and which large debts you want to pay off first.  Thinking long-term, you might also begin discussing work and home responsibilities, and how you plan to save money towards retirement.  At this point, putting together a budget and working with a financial planner may help achieve your goals.
Separate or joint bank accounts?
Couples should discuss their preferences with regard to their bank accounts.  There can be advantages and disadvantages to having joint accounts or separate accounts.  Establishing a joint account could mean fewer fees and less complication, but money put into a joint account will be co-mingled and considered marital assets.  Keeping your bank accounts separate can be easier for those who are already used to managing their own finances, but can add some difficulty in dividing income, bills, and expenses.  Some couples find that a combination of joint and separate accounts works well, too.  For instance, you can have a joint account for shared household expenses and separate accounts for personal spending.
How to handle insurance coverage
When it comes to health insurance, most couples already have their own policies when they marry.  The best advice is to perform a cost/benefit analysis for both plans, to determine which policy is the best.  You may also consider whether you need a family plan, or whether it would be more cost effective to maintain two individual plans.  When looking at insurance policies, also consider whether one spouse plans to move jobs, which may cause problems if you use the former employer's insurance.  As far as auto insurance, you may be better off consolidating your auto policies.  Another insurance issue newlyweds should consider is life and disability income insurance.  Many couples want the peace of mind that these types of policies can provide, ensuring that one spouse will be able to make ends meet without the other in case of unexpected illness or disability.
If you have questions regarding marriage issues, or any other financial planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

financial planMost people don’t realize that having a huge net worth is not a requirement for financial planning.  Even families with the smallest of budgets can benefit from a proper financial plan.  In fact, there are many resources available that allow you to create a financial plan on a limited budget.  For a flat fee or a reasonable hourly rate you can develop a savings plan, create a good budget, and pay down your debt.  So, if you want assistance managing your own finances in order to start off on the right foot for the new year, consider the following:
What type of financial planning assistance can I afford?
There are various levels of planning assistance that provide a wide range of services. A lower level plan would likely include a customized breakdown of your budget and a financial to-do list.  A middle level plan could include a multi-year plan, such as a five-year plan, with a set number of consultations throughout that time period.  A higher level plan may include a longer planning period and more comprehensive support.
In-depth investment planning
Some people, with more financial resources, may be looking for more in-depth investment advice.  This would include specific advice regarding stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment tools.  This type of planning service is often provided at an hourly rate or with a negotiated fee schedule.  A basic financial plan is typically included with any in-depth investment plan.
Basic financial planning
There are several areas of financial planning that are considered, where appropriate: net worth, cash flow, insurance, education, retirement, and estate taxes. Your net worth includes your current assets and liabilities; with financial planning, it is important to understand your current financial position and to consider how your net worth will likely grow over your lifetime. Cash flow is your current income and expenses, which will also change over time.  Inevitable changes in your cash flow will also have an effect on your retirement and your ability to pay down debts. With basic financial planning, you should assess your existing insurance products and with an eye towards determining whether you have sufficient insurance to take care of your family should you die prematurely.  You may also want to consider disability insurance or long term care coverage.
More future planning
Financial planning also includes figuring out how to best save for your children’s college education. It is important to assess how much you need to set aside and which financial instrument is best to do that. Retirement is a crucial part of financial planning and, in fact, many estate planning firms provide in-depth retirement planning as well. As part of your financial plan, you need to estimate what your expenses will be once you retire, and how you can best cover those expenses after you stop working - which can be particularly important with the unsure future of Social Security. It is important to consider the most tax efficient methods for transferring your assets to your family after your death.  You will want to avoid estate taxes as much as possible, which is one goal of estate planning in general and which can be accomplished through working with your attorney to ensure your wealth will be preserved for your beneficiaries.
If you have questions regarding budgets, estate planning, or any other financial planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

tax consequences of intra-family loansYour oldest son has just informed you that he and his wife want to buy their first home, but they can't afford the down payment.  Even with favorable interest rates available for some, bank loans are still hard to come by, especially for younger borrowers. As a result, many young families turn to their parents or other relatives for intra-family loans. Once you understand the tax consequences of intra-family loans, an intra-family loan can not only benefit the recipient, but also serve as a good estate planning tool.
Treatment of the loan as a gift
There is a chance that the IRS will treat the loan as a gift, regardless of the fact that a promissory note was actually given in return for the transfer of funds.  The loan may not be considered bona fide debt by the IRS if it seems that the intention was that the loan would not be repaid, despite the note.
How to overcome the gift presumption
The presumption by the IRS that an intra-family loan is a gift can be overcome by making an affirmative showing of a bona fide loan with a “real expectation of repayment and an intention to enforce the debt.”  There are several factors that are considered by courts in making this determination:

(1) existence of a note comporting with the substance of the transaction,
(2) payment of reasonable interest,
(3) fixed schedule of repayment,
(4) adequate security,
(5) repayment,
(6) reasonable expectation of repayment in light of the economic realities, and
(7) conduct of the parties indicating a debtor-creditor relationship.

As one court determined  “[t]he mere promise to pay a sum of money in the future accompanied by an implied understanding that such promise will not be enforced is not afforded significance."   Merely documenting the loan transaction is not sufficient to overcome the gift presumption, for Federal tax purposes.
When is a gift better than a loan?
There may be situations where making a loan to your children may not be the best option.  In some cases, making it a gift would be more appropriate.  Some situations where a gift may be the preferable choice include the following:

Can I forgive the loan later?
Although the intention to forgive an intra-family loan can result in the IRS treating the loan as a gift at inception, it really depends on when that intention to forgive arises.  The main factor in making this determination is whether there was a prearranged plan to forgive the debt, or if that intention did not arise until a later time.  If that is the case, the IRS will not consider the loan a gift until the time it is actually forgiven.
If you have questions regarding intra-family loans, or any other financial or estate planning needs, please contact me at Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling me at (775) 823-9455.

financial tips for the 40sWhen you reach your 30s or 40s, it is time to put youth aside and start financial planning, if you haven’t already.  Your future and your family’s future need to be planned for and protected.  There are two particular issues that most people in Generation X and the Millennial Generation are faced with: saving for your children's college tuition and retirement.  Here are a few financial tips.
Save, save, save!
The very first step to financial planning, obviously, is to start putting money aside.  Establish an emergency fund for those unexpected expenses that can often wipe us out.  It is typically recommended that you set aside at least 3-6 months of your income.  Married couples may be alright with only three months of their combined income, however, a single person will probably need a six-month reserve.  Additionally, it is great to also set aside money for planned expenses (such as capital improvements or home repairs).  At the very least, this emergency fund is there in case you lose your job or you are faced with a large unexpected expense.
Pay off or reduce your debt
Credit cards, student loans, and medical bills, should be your next priority.  These debts should be reduced, with an eye toward eventually eliminating them altogether.  That way, your income can be funneled into savings and investments.  In the meantime, check to see whether you can lower your interest rates on your credit cards or other loans, which can save you money as well.  It's best to pay additional principal towards those debts that have the highest rates first, to minimize the amount of interest you are paying on your overall debt.
Make the most of your employee benefits
By the time you are in your 30s or 40s, you should be maximizing contributions to your 401(k) or other retirement plan to the extent your employer will match your contributions.  That way, even if your investment isn’t making much of a profit, your employer is adding to your retirement account (and it's FREE MONEY).  And it's hard to ignore the benefit of compounding interest - the growth can be astronomical.  Determine from your employer what your maximum contribution and maximum employer match can be, as each retirement plan may be different.  You may be able to contribute more than you thought; in 2015, an employee can contribute up to $18,000 in a tax-deferred 401(k).
Establish your own retirement plan
In addition to your employer-sponsored retirement benefits, you should also make the maximum contributions allowed to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, depending on your income.  Traditional IRA contributions are not limited by income, but Roth IRAs are only available to married couples with an adjusted gross income of up to $183,000 and single filers with an adjusted gross income up to $116,000 in 2015.  If you are under 50 years of age, the maximum contribution to any IRA is currently $5,500 each year.  You will pay taxes now on your contributions to a Roth IRA, but you will avoid taxes later on.
Obtain insurance for your family
The importance of insurance cannot be overlooked.  For people in their 30s and 40s, life insurance is often important for the family you leave behind, especially young children.  It is often very difficult for one spouse to continue providing for the family without life insurance if the other spouse passes away.  The good news is, term life insurance for a healthy person in their 30s or 40s is not that expensive.  Another good option to consider is disability insurance.
If you have questions regarding financial planning, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

Financial Planning After DivorceDivorce means separation and starting over.  It means substantial life changes.  It is also time to reassess everything.  Whether you already had a financial plan in place or not, it is time to evaluate or reevaluate your financial situation and create a financial plan to secure your new future.  Financial planning after a divorce is necessary, as the future goals you had will change when you get divorced.
Review your finances and expenses
The best advice is to be proactive.  Most people get divorced and then realize they have to deal with the consequences.  To be successful following a divorce, you should think about your finances before you actually sign the divorce decree.  Already have a plan in place.  Although every divorce may be different, one common truth is that maintaining two separate households will be more expensive than one.  Take into consideration what you were spending before the divorce and how those expenses will change.  You need to have a realistic idea of what you can afford going forward.  If you have children, be sure to consider their potential future expenses, while taking into consideration child support payments.
Consider downsizing your home
Most people decide to stay in the family home for the sake of the minor children, in an effort to disrupt their lives as little as possible.  However, that can be a very difficult situation financially, because it costs a lot to maintain a home on one income, if the mortgage had been maintained by two.  While moving out of the family home may be an emotional decision, moving to a less expensive home, or even renting, may be a better option depending on your budget.
Make sure you have sufficient health insurance
Health insurance is often a very substantial expense, especially if you were covered under your spouse’s policy before the divorce.  Though you have the option of using COBRA, it is often very expensive as well, and it only lasts for 36 months. Before the divorce is finalized, you should start shopping for a new health insurance policy.
Considerations involving alimony
Alimony, often referred to as spousal support, may be a part of your divorce settlement.  Whether you are the spouse who is paying or receiving, there are certain financial issues that need to be given some thought.  There are various factors that go into alimony, including the length of the marriage and whether one spouse did not work during the marriage.  Permanent maintenance agreements, as part of a divorce, do not always remain permanent.  Alimony can end if the receiving spouse retires, is unable to continue working, or remarries.  In the end, though, alimony will have an effect on both spouse’s budgets, as well as their taxes.
Don't forget the estate plan
In most states, a divorce will nullify the portion of wills that name a spouse as a personal representative or beneficiary. The same is often true as to trusts.  Consider, however, what would happen if a death occurs during the process, but before the divorce is final. Increased emotional and mental strain can lead to illnesses and accidents, so be certain to meet with your estate planning attorney even before the divorce is final.
If you have questions regarding divorce, or any other financial planning issues, please contact the experienced attorneys at Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

The Importance of Life Insurance in Estate Planning from Brad Anderson


An estate plan can include any number of tools for managing and protecting your assets, including life insurance policies. In fact, the importance of life insurance in estate planning should never be overlooked.
Learn more about the importance of life insurance in estate planning in this presentation.

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