This year is quickly coming to a close. For many of us, December 31 cannot come soon enough, as 2020 has been anything but a walk in the park.

The first quarter of 2020 brought a worldwide pandemic. Not only did this raise concerns about everyone’s health and safety, but it also fundamentally changed the way we all live. Many people found themselves either working from home or out of work. The pandemic also created market volatility that impacted many people’s investment and retirement accounts. Along with the pandemic, many areas of the country experienced severe natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires, leaving them without homes. Lastly, the 2020 presidential election proved to be just as unprecedented, with many states taking days after the election to count all of the votes and certify the election results.

While there is reason to be optimistic that 2021 will bring a COVID-19 vaccine and the promise of a return to some level of normalcy, it is unlikely that this return to normalcy will occur on January 1, 2021. In the meantime, life marches on. We are just as busy as ever with supervising kids attending school and other activities (in-person or virtually), pursuing new employment opportunities or adapting to new work environments, and adjusting savings and investment goals. With so much going on in your life, it can be easy to forget the details that can help you prepare for whatever 2021 may bring. That is why we are here: to remind you of those things that can make your life easier when it comes to your estate, financial, and tax planning. Here are a few important things to consider as the year comes to a close.

family estate planning

Maximize Contributions to Retirement Accounts

This year brought plenty of employment disruptions for many of us. These disruptions may have resulted in a job change and the establishment of a new 401k account with your employer. Or they may have caused you to reduce or even suspend making regular paycheck contributions to your retirement account given the uncertainty of the job market as the pandemic escalated. As a result, you may not have maximized your annual contributions to your retirement accounts in 2020. Depending on your current employment status, perhaps you have forgotten to restart your contributions and are at risk of missing out on the opportunity to maximize your annual contribution limits. Although the IRS has routinely allowed for contributions to be made even after the first of the year for the preceding year, it is typically good practice to make such contributions before the end of the year if possible.

Tax Return Preparation

December is the perfect time to begin pulling together your tax records in preparation for filing your 2020 tax returns. The sooner you can begin to get a sense of what your tax bill will be for 2020, the sooner you can prepare to write that check to the IRS or carefully plan how you will use any tax refund if you are entitled to one. In either case, preparing now for tax season can be an easy way to reduce stress over the holidays by knowing that you are ready to begin working on your returns just as soon as January 1 comes around.

You can begin gathering the following information and documentation in preparation for filing your tax returns:

Last-Minute Gifts

A frequently forgotten tax benefit that exists for all US citizens is the ability to gift up to $15,000 per person (in 2020) without incurring any gift tax liability and without the need to file a gift tax return. This annual gift tax exclusion amount is noncumulative, so it is a use-it-or-lose-it tax benefit. Because the pandemic has caused financial hardship for many people, utilizing the annual gift tax exemption may be a great way for you to help family and friends without incurring tax liability.

If you have significant wealth, you should seriously consider leveraging this annual gift tax exclusion in 2020 as a part of an ongoing strategy for reducing your estate’s size and thereby avoiding potential future estate taxes. Although writing a check for $15,000 to each child or grandchild annually is one way to use this tax benefit, it may not be the best way. Forming a trust can add significant benefit and protection to this kind of gifting strategy.

For example, forming an irrevocable life insurance trust continues to be a highly effective way to leverage the annual gift tax exclusion by using the annual cash gifts to purchase life insurance on you, your spouse, or both of you. At your death, the life insurance benefits pass income tax-free to the trust and can then be managed and used on behalf of your trust beneficiaries in a much more protective and strategic manner.

If you have questions about how to best leverage this annual gift tax exclusion, we would welcome a phone call to visit with you about it and help you understand the available options.

It Might Be Time to Review Your Estate Planning

This year also brought significant changes to the law surrounding retirement accounts and how to coordinate them with your estate planning. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was passed in late December 2019, had a major impact on estate planning for those with significant savings in tax-deferred retirement plans. No longer can required minimum distributions from an inherited IRA be stretched out over the lifetime of the person inheriting the IRA. Unless a beneficiary is a spouse or otherwise qualifies as an Eligible Designated Beneficiary, the retirement account must now be paid out within ten years of the plan owner’s death.

With all of the changes that 2020 has brought, it is more important than ever to review your estate planning documents. If it has been a few years, you will want to make sure that your plan still reflects your wishes. Give us a call to schedule a review of your plan if you or your loved ones have experienced any of the following life changes:

If you currently have a trust-based estate plan, carefully reviewing your financial accounts before the end of the year to determine how your accounts are titled and how the beneficiary designations have been made can ensure that you catch critical mistakes and identify accounts unintentionally left out of your living trust.

Taking the steps described above can go a long way toward preparing you for the upcoming year. When you are prepared, there is not much room left for uncertainty and fear. Instead, you can feel confident heading into the holiday season that you will be ready for whatever 2021 has in store for you.

When it comes to estate planning there are several types of tools you can use, depending on your circumstances. One such estate planning tool to protect your estates beneficiaries from future potential family law matters, or other creditor situations, it to leave their inheritance in a Trust Share.

Purpose of Trust Shares

A Trust Share can be created for each beneficiary of your estate after an individual’s death, or the second death of a joint couple. The Trust Share is a legal entity that has its own tax identification number.  A Trust Share prevents the trust beneficiary from commingling assets with a spouse directly because the assets are held in Trust Share.  A Trust Share prevents an inheritance from being transmuted into a spouse’s community property, which could be lost in a subsequent family law matter.  A Trust Share provides for marital harmony after the death of a loved one because it eliminates the conversation between a beneficiary and their spouse on whether they are going to deposit an inheritance into a joint account because the Trust Share doesn’t allow that as an option.

The Trust Share also provides flexibility with trust asset management. Typically, if a beneficiary is responsible with financial assets the creator of the Trust Share will allow them to be their own Trustee and manage the trust funds for their own benefit.  Generally, the distribution standard for a Trust Share is for health, education, maintenance, and support.  If a beneficiary is not responsible with financial asset a safeguard can be put in place with an Independent Trustee that can be a responsible family member or Professional Trustee.  This creates checks and balances, so assets are not wasted with frivolous spending.

Trust Shares also allow you to set a minimum age of when a beneficiary such as a child or grandchild can serve as their own Trustee. We have found with experience that the age of 25 or 30 is much better than 21 given work experience and life experience.

Trust shares can even have a re-write power when it comes to looking at how assets will be passed to grandchildren. You could leave a Trust Share to your child and provide them with a re-write power known as a Limited Power of Appointment to decide how the assets from their Trust Share will be divided at their death among their heirs.

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 us 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.

Authored by: Aaron Squires

The idea of estate planning might be one of the scariest things you have to confront as an adult. After all, nobody wants to think about their death.  Or incapacity.  But estate planning does not have to make chills run down your spine. On the contrary!  Estate planning is empowering for both you and your family and allows you to live confidently knowing that things will be taken care of in the event of your passing or incapacity. Remember, estate planning is not just for the ultra-rich. If you own anything or have young children, you should have an estate plan. Read below to find out reasons why.

Benefits of Estate Planning

Proper estate planning accomplishes many things. It puts your financial affairs in order. Parents should designate a guardian for their minor or disabled children, so the children are cared for by someone who shares your values and parenting style. Homeowners can make sure their property is transferred to the proper beneficiary in the event of untimely death. Business owners can ensure the enterprise they’ve worked so hard to build stays within the family.
Yet, according to WealthCounsel’s 2016 Estate Planning Literacy Survey, only 40% of Americans have a will and just 17% have a trust in place. This means a majority of American families not being adequately protected against the eventual certainty of death or the potential for legal incapacity.
When it comes to estate planning, knowledge is vital. Less than 50 percent of those surveyed by WealthCounsel understood that an estate plan can be used to address several concerns - financial or non-financial matters - including health decisions and guardianship, avoiding court and preempting family conflicts, protecting an inheritance for your beneficiaries, as well as taking advantage of business and tax benefits. 

Estate Planning Horror Stories

Legal disputes over estate plans and wills - or, usually, the lack of having these in place at all - are common. These conflicts can cause harm to family relationships and be financially burdensome.  Disputes among the rich-and-famous often made headlines, but disputes among everyday folk stay buried in courts for years.
Some scary outcomes of inadequate or non-existent estate planning include:

These horror stories are not limited to wealthy celebrities. WealthCounsel’s survey found that more than one-third of respondents know someone who has experienced, or have themselves suffered, family disputes due to the failure of an existing estate plan or inadequate will. Additionally, more than half of those who have established an estate plan did so to reduce family conflict. Preserving family harmony is for everyone - not only for the wealthy or celebrities.

Attorneys: Your Guide to Not-So-Spooky Estate Planning

Estate planning can be confusing as each circumstance is unique and requires different tools to achieve the best possible outcome. Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed by WealthCounsel said estate planning was a confusing topic and valued professional guidance in learning more - so you’re not alone if you aren’t sure where to begin.
We’re here to help. An estate planning attorney is essential in determining the best way to structure your will, trust, and estate plan to fit your needs. If you or someone you know has questions about where to begin - contact us today. Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. has been protecting families and their legacies for decades.  We offer free, no-obligation Webinars every month around Northern Nevada to teach and guide people about how to plan appropriately for these inevitable issues.
 

irrevocable trust
When you establish a revocable living trust, you are also generally the initial Trustee of the trust, administering the trust assets for your own benefit as a beneficiary of the trust. If you are married, your spouse can be a trustee with you. This way, if either of you become incapacitated or die, the other can continue to handle your financial affairs without interruption. What happens if you and your spouse are unable to serve as trustees due to incapacity or death?  Generally, your revocable living trust will provide for a Successor Trustee to manage your trust assets for your benefit.  The Trustee should be prepared to manage your financial affairs by collecting income, paying bills/taxes, selecting health-care professionals if needed, providing for your well-being, providing for dependents if any, and keeping accurate records.

Who Can Be Your Successor Trustee

Some people choose an adult son or daughter, a trusted friend or another relative. Some like having the experience and investment skills of a professional or corporate trustee (e.g., a bank trust department, trust company, or law firm). Naming someone else as trustee or co-trustee with you does not mean you lose control. The trustee you name must follow the instructions in your trust and report to you. You can even replace your trustee in your revocable living trust should you change your mind.

Consider Successor Trustees after Your Death for Beneficiaries

At death your assets can be left outright or continuing sub-trust for asset protection of your heirs/beneficiaries. Sub-trusts provide asset protection to your beneficiaries from their own creditors, or potential x-spouses.  If you leave your assets in sub-trust for asset protection of your beneficiaries, consider if each heir should be their own trustee or if a professional trustee, or another person would be a better choice.  For special needs beneficiaries, or a spendthrift beneficiary, often a professional trustee is helpful.

When to Consider a Professional or Corporate Trustee

You may be elderly, widowed, or in declining health and have no children or other trusted relatives living nearby. Or your candidates may not have the time or ability to manage your trust. You may simply not have the time, desire or experience to manage your investments by yourself. Also, certain irrevocable trusts will not allow you to be trustee due to restrictions in the tax laws. In these situations, a professional or corporate trustee may be exactly what you need: they have the experience, time and resources to manage your trust and help you meet your investment goals.

What You Need to Know

Professional or corporate trustees will charge a fee to manage your trust, but generally the fee is quite reasonable, especially when you consider their experience, the services provided, and the investment returns that a professional trustee can deliver.

Actions to Consider

We can help you select, educate, and advise your successor trustees so they will have support and know what to do next to carry out your wishes. Give us a call today at (775) 823-9455 to schedule a consultation.

disinheritance clausePrivacy is a main concern for many clients when it comes to estate planning.  One benefit of creating a Living Trust, as opposed to simply drafting a Will, is the opportunity to keep your assets and your plans as private as you want them to be.  If keeping your estate plan private is something you worry about, you don’t have to.  We can help you to create the perfect estate plan, and keep it from prying eyes.
Wills become public record during probate
What makes an estate plan public or private is the type of estate planning tool you choose.  When you draft a Will, you must include specific instructions regarding your beneficiaries, which assets they will get, and who will be responsible for seeing that all of your instructions are followed.  However, a Will must be filed with the local probate court in order to put those instructions into action.  This means the details of your Will, including the identity of your beneficiaries and the nature of your assets, become public record.
Essentially, as soon as the Will is recorded, anyone can go to the probate court and request to see it.  In fact, they can obtain copies of your probate documents.  Often, the public nature of these proceedings results in conflict and dispute between those you may have disinherited, those who disagree with your life choices, or those who seek to take advantage of beneficiaries.  The solution is creating an estate plan based on a Trust, instead of a Will.
A trust-based estate plan remains private
The good news is, a Revocable Living Trust, for example, constitutes a private contract between you and the Trustee.  With a Living Trust, you continue to have authority over the estate while you are alive, including making decisions about how to invest your assets and how to spend the income.  Then, if you become mentally incapacitated or upon your death, your Trustee takes over the management of the trust.  Your Trustee will follow your instructions and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries as required in the Trust agreement - all with complete privacy among the Trustee, the beneficiaries, and the law firm.
How can a Revocable Living Trust stay private?
The principal difference between a Will and a Living Trust is the fact that the trust is not filed in court.  Your instructions can be followed without your estate going through the probate process, where everything is open to the public.  At no point does your Trust agreement have to be submitted to court or recorded in the public record.  Only your Trustee and beneficiaries will be privy to its terms.
Deciding which route to take
If it is important to you that your family and finances remain private, you should seriously consider using a Revocable Living Trust as your principal estate planning tool.  There are many other benefits provided by Revocable Living Trusts, as well.  Discuss all of your options with your estate planning attorney, in order to make the best decision for you.
If you have questions regarding power of attorney, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

  Financial planning for the average investorRegardless of your income level, if you are planning for your future, you should not procrastinate.  Many of us are more focused on maintaining financial stability than planning ahead.  But, even if you are living from pay check to pay check, the benefits of a financial plan cannot be overlooked.  Simply creating a budget will help you to determine how to decrease your expenses, so as to stabilize your finances.  Financial planning for the average investor is possible.
What is Financial Planning?
When you take the necessary steps to prepare for your life goals, by creating a plan that allows you to properly manage your finances, you have begun your financial planning.  Life goals can include such things as buying your first home, saving for college, and planning for your eventual retirement.
The first step is generally to gather information about your finances so you can determine your current financial status.  After you have set your life goals, you can prepare a financial strategy to meet those goals.  Once your plan has been implemented, it is important to review it periodically, to ensure that your goals are still being met.
Financial planning is not just for the wealthy
Many people see financial planning as something reserved for the rich.  It is true that the more money someone has, the more complicated their finances probably are.  So, it is easy to believe that only those with complicated finances need planning assistance.  However, even if you do not have a six figure salary, or hundreds of thousands of dollars saved up, you still need assistance in planning for your financial future.  The only problem is that some financial advisors impose ever-increasing minimum asset requirements, which leaves the average investor without any resource.  The good news is your estate planning attorney may be able to help you with some aspects of your financial planning as well.
Alternatives to independent financial advisers
Even when independent financial advisers do not have asset minimums, they still may refuse to take on smaller accounts, because the paperwork required by the government and other agencies makes dealing with small accounts cost prohibitive.  This means that banks, insurance companies and mutual funds are often left to serve the smaller financial market.  However, their “free” advice is often just a clever sales pitch for a CD, annuity or other investment.  Unfortunately, if you reach a call center, staffed by counselors working on commission, you are likely to never get the same counselor, or the same advice, twice.
What type of advice does the average investor need?
Considering the fact that the middle class has been hit harder by job loss and more costly benefits, the advice needed by middle class families is much different from what affluent families may need.  The middle class needs to do more than just determine how to save for retirement, they also need debt management and cash flow management advice.  For example, a young couple may be considering buying their first home, but they have substantial debt already.  An estate planning attorney can help them recognize the necessary trade-offs often required in life, and help or refer them to a resource to focus on not only spending and saving, but also investing.
If you have questions regarding investment advice, or any other financial planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

An agent is someone who is designated to manage the affairs of someone else.  In a power of attorney, their authority usually extends to the management of finances or health care decisions.  The person who creates the power of attorney and designates the agent is known as the “principal.”
Once an agent accepts the authority given to him or her under the power of attorney, a legally binding relationship is created between the agent and the principal.  With that relationship and authority comes certain legal duties that must be adhered to.  The role of an agent is entirely voluntary, but once an agent agrees to take on that role, the agent has agreed to the responsibilities that come with it.
What is an agent’s responsibility to the principal?
Being an agent under the authority of a power of attorney is a serious function and cannot be taken lightly.  An agent is expected to act in good faith and with competence, care and diligence. An agent must avoid any conflicts that would prevent him or her from acting in the principal’s best interests.
An agent’s actions are governed by the authority granted in the power of attorney document, and based on the preferences of the principal.  It is improper to override the desires of the principal in favor of the agent’s own preferences.
An agent is required to keep his or her own money and property separate and distinct from the property of the principal.  Whenever an agent conducts financial transactions on behalf of the principal, the agent must use only the principal’s funds for the principal’s benefit.  The agent is also expected to keep good records of all transactions, including receipts.  An agent is required by law to provide an accounting to the principal whenever requested.
Differences between a general and limited power of attorney
Depending on the type of power of attorney, an agent’s authority may be limited.  A general power of attorney provides very broad authority.  For example, an agent may be given general authority to handle all financial matters or all health care decisions.  A general power of attorney is commonly used to give an agent full authority to handle important decisions regarding the finances, real property, personal property and accounts of the principal. It can be valid immediately upon the execution of the document or the principal may specify that it is valid only in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated.
Whereas, a limited power of attorney normally provides more precise instructions for the agent or contains limitations on the scope of authority.  If it is limited to a single transaction such as the sale of a piece of real property, once those duties have been completed or the goals accomplished, the powers are automatically revoked. A limited power of attorney may be put in place for a particular bank account  and no other asset, so as long as the account is in place and the power of attorney has not been revoked, the agent may have access to that account.
Can an agent resign or be replaced?
Sometimes the power of attorney will describe how the agent can resign.  If not, the agent may resign by simply giving notice to the principal.  If the principal is incapacitated, the agent must give notice to the guardian or conservator (if one has been appointed). If there is a co-agent or successor agent, then notice would be given to that person, as well. A principal may remove an agent by giving notice to the agent in the same manner.
In the event none of those situations apply, an agent can resign by giving notice to the principal’s caregiver, to another person with sufficient interest in the welfare of the principal, or to a governmental agency with the authority to protect the principal. It is necessary for the principal, when an agent has resigned or has been removed, to notify any person or institution that has dealt with the agent. If a power of attorney has been recorded, it is necessary to record the revocation of the power, as well.
Powers of attorney can be highly technical documents and should be prepared by a qualified law firm to be certain of its legality. Many times a limited power of attorney is available from the institution requiring it such as as banks or title companies.

If you and your spouse have a living trust in Nevada and your spouse passes away, you may be at a loss as to what you need to do. The steps you need to take are not really complicated, but may be confusing. There are some initial tasks that need to be completed. Receiving guidance from a living trust attorney in Reno, NV and knowing what to expect can make the process much easier during a time that is no doubt stressful.

Locate the Trust Document

The first step would be to locate the living trust document and obtain a general understanding of its terms.  You should do this, even if you read it when it was first created.  This is especially true if it has been many years since it was first drafted. Usually, a Nevada living trust is drafted to leave all assets to the surviving spouse.  However, some trusts are drafted to include distributions to other heirs, as well.  All provisions of the living trust need to be fully understood before any action is taken to implement its terms.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the provisions, you should consult with a living trust attorney in Reno, NV before you go any further.

Also, you need to be able to recognize what type of living trust you are dealing with because the nature of the trust will determine exactly what steps you need to take.  If you are not sure what type of trust you have, your estate planning attorney can also help you make that determination.

A/B Trusts Have Special Requirements

If your living trust is an “A/B Trust,” there are certain steps that must be taken after the death of the first spouse.  An A/B trust divides the separate and community assets into two shares when the first spouse dies.  However, the division of assets does not occur automatically but must be accomplished by physically transferring the assets into two separate trusts.  The assets must be inventoried and appraised so that a determination can be made as to how to allocate the assets. An income tax return is also required for the decedent’s trust each year after death or else the IRS will not recognize the trust, making the entire estate subject to estate taxes after the death of the second spouse. This type of trust must be handled properly because if the requirements are not met, the result could mean thousands of dollars in estate taxes that need to be paid by the family, or lawsuits for improper actions may make the surviving spouse or successor trustee personally liable. This result would defeat the true purpose of the Nevada living trust.

Transferring Title to the Surviving Spouse

It is very common for living trusts to name both spouses as co-trustees. In that case, when the first spouse dies, the assets will be transferred to the surviving spouse as the sole trustee, similar to jointly-owned property. However, unless a death certificate and abstract of the trust are provided to institutions such as banks, they will continue to request two signatures for transactions. Real estate may also require special treatment. It is important to contact a qualified estate administration attorney to be sure you have taken care of all the details in a timely manner.

Living Trust Attorneys

If you have questions or need assistance creating or administering a living trust for you and your spouse, contact the estate planning attorneys of Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.

Some individuals add their children or other relatives to the title on property they own in an attempt to avoid probate.  Although this can avoid probate, it can also create more problems than it actually avoids.
Types of Real Estate Ownership
Joint ownership in real property simply means that more than one person shares the title to that property.  The joint owners are referred to as either “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.”  With joint ownership, both owners have the same right to the property and the same obligations as well.  For instance, all owners must consent to mortgaging or selling the real estate.
When a tenant in common dies, his or her share will go to the heirs at law. Often, a probate is required for the transfer. When a joint tenant dies, the surviving owner or owners inherit the property interest of the deceased owner, by operation of law.  The joint tenancy property does not have to go through probate proceedings.  The title to the property is easily transferred by executing and recording an affidavit of survivorship after an owner passes away.
Joint Tenancy Creates Multiple Decision Makers
Although joint ownership comes with the advantage of avoiding probate, it also brings with it the possible disadvantage of multiple decision makers.  What this means is, if you choose to add your child to the title of your home, you will no longer be the sole decision maker regarding what happens to your home.  You will now need the consent of your child before making repairs or getting a second mortgage, for example.  All owners of joint property must sign the deed or mortgage for these legal documents to be valid. You cannot sell the home without the consent of the other joint owners.
With joint ownership also comes the joint obligation to pay property related expenses.  Because of this shared burden, joint owners may not always agree on actions to be taken with the property, such as the type of repairs needed or whether the cost of those repairs is reasonable. Further, if one of the children becomes liable to a creditor, from a lawsuit for instance, the property could be at risk.
Joint Owners Are Free to Do as they Like with their Interest
Another drawback of joint ownership is the fact that one owner may decide to sell or transfer their interest in the property.  For example, if your child is experiencing financial problems, he or she may decide to sell their share, or even a portion of their share, in order to meet some financial obligation.  A more serious problem could occur if your child files for bankruptcy and the joint property you share is not a homestead.  In that situation, even though the property is jointly owned, the child's share would not be exempt from creditors.
If some of these issues concern you, there are several alternatives to joint ownership that you can consider, which may still achieve your estate planning needs or goals.  Be sure to consult with a Nevada Estate Planning Attorney before taking that step toward joint tenancy.  Consider all of your options before you decide whether joint tenancy is the best solution for you and your family.

How and when a power of attorney becomes effective depends on the type of power attorney that has been executed.  A power of attorney provides someone who has been designated as an “agent”  or an "attorney-in-fact" the authority to act on your behalf, in compliance with the terms of the legal document.  The power of attorney will identify the duties and responsibilities of the agent.  The authority can become effective immediately, or only when a specific event occurs, such as your incapacity.  One of the most important advantages of a power of attorney is that it does not require that you give up all of your ability to handle your affairs.  Instead, it allows your agent to act on your behalf only when it becomes necessary and only to the degree necessary.
Different Types of Powers of Attorney
As with most estate planning tools, there are various types of powers of attorney – each with their own purposes.  Depending on your needs, a power of attorney can transfer various levels of authority as well.  For example, a General Power of Attorney allows your agent broad authority to act on your behalf.  Whereas, a Limited Power of Attorney (sometimes called a Special Power of Attorney) only gives your agent the power to carry out specific tasks or act within certain limitations.
If you have what is known as a “durable” power of attorney, the legal document will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated.  Any other power of attorney will automatically terminate if you become incapacitated.  A durable power of attorney is a very common, very useful tool in estate planning.  The most common types of durable powers of attorney are for financial and/or medical affairs.   A durable power of attorney can be revoked at any time and for any reason. If copies of the power of attorney have been given to others, it is a good idea to inform them of the revocation. Typically, revocation occurs when a new power of attorney is executed, so you may want to provide those persons with a copy of the  updated power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney for finances.
Also known as a financial power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for property is extremely helpful as it guarantees that a person you trust will have the ability to manage your finances for you.  If you do not have this estate planning tool in place, your family will need to request the authority to handle your finances for you by a guardianship or conservatorship through  a court.  Court proceedings are generally very time-consuming and expensive.  That burden would be borne by your loved ones.  However, a financial power of attorney, if it is drafted in adequate detail, will avoid the need for the court process in most cases.  You also have the flexibility to create a power of attorney that only becomes effective when two healthcare providers certify that you are incapacitated and no longer able to manage your own affairs.
A durable power of attorney for health care.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can also be referred to as an “advance health care directive” or living will. In some states, like Nevada, these are two separate documents; in others the two are incorporated into one document. This type of power of attorney will allow you to choose someone to make your healthcare decisions if you are unable to.  This authority can be general or broad, or it can only be used in certain situations, depending on your wishes.  Usually this kind of power of attorney only becomes necessary if you are unable to make your own decisions about medical care, due to an accident, debilitating illness or advanced age.  Unless you put your wishes regarding healthcare and lifesaving measures in writing now, those decisions may be left to strangers with no idea what your preferences may be.  Most people choose either a spouse or adult child to serve in this capacity, but that decision is yours, so you may choose anyone you like to take that responsibility.

When you pass away, your estate must be administered, regardless of whether you have a will or not.  The person or company who is responsible for managing the administration of your estate is called an “executor” (male), "executrix" (female), or in estates without wills “administrator” and "administratrix." Today, those terms are often merged for the single term, "personal representative." Since most people are familiar with the it, we will use the term "executor" in this article to incorporate all the other terms.  An executor does not have to be an actual “person,” but can also be an institution such as a financial institution.  Each state has its own qualifications or requirements for an executor.  In most states, minors, certain convicted felons and non-citizens are not qualified.  In Nevada, if you are not a resident of the state but you were named as executor of a will probated in Nevada, you can serve as executor.  However, if there is no will and you are a non-resident executor, you need to associate with a Nevada resident as co-administrator.
What are an executor’s duties?
The full extent of the duties required of an executor depend on the type of estate being probated.  Here are some of the common duties that an executor may be called upon to perform:

Serving as an executor is an incredibly important responsibility.  It requires a great deal of work.  Executors are entitled to compensation for their service, which is approved by the probate court, as well.

When disasters strike Americans step to the plate and do what is necessary to help their fellow citizens. Right now the victims of Hurricane Sandy can use help, and we should all do what we can to provide assistance.
Various different organizations have responded, and they are devoting significant resources to provide relief to people who were in the path of the hurricane.
As these resources are consumed they must be replenished so that entities like the Red Cross, America Cares, Save the Children, and others can continue to do their work when they are needed in the future.
To find out which organizations are chipping in and how you can assist them simply click this link: Donate to Hurricane Sandy Relief
Thank you for doing what you can to assist victims of this horrible storm.

The death of a loved one can strike at any time. Sometimes, we have time to prepare for the death when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness or simply lives to an advanced age. Other times, a loved one can be taken from us without any warning. If you have a friend who has recently lost a loved one, and you would like to help, but don’t know what to do, consider the following:
Assist in locating important documents such as the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Often, estate planning documents will include a funeral plan that could make planning the service and burial much simpler.
Contact the funeral home for your friend. If a funeral plan was found, you will only need to notify them of the death. If not, make an appointment for your friend and get some general information.
Find out how to obtain extra certified copies of the death certificate if they are needed.
Offer to assist with writing the obituary.
Help with notifying insurance companies, Social Security Administration or pension administrators of the death. Often, they will wish to speak directly to your friend, but you can help by locating telephone numbers, policy numbers and other paperwork.
Organize food for your friend and any remaining family members. Cooking is often the last thing someone wants to think about when they have just lost a loved one; however, eating is necessary. There are online organizations that will even deliver meals purchased by people online.
Offer to take care of any minor children that the decedent may have left behind.
The loss of a loved one can be a very emotionally difficult time.  Small things that are done for surviving family members not only make the planning easier but also express love and support when it is most needed.

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