In general, the answer is yes; your trust can own your business after you die. But taking a deeper look into this matter, some factors may affect your individual situation. Both the type of business you own (LLC, Partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship), as well as how your business is currently managed can determine how the trust obtains ownership and continues operations after you pass. We’ll explore these determining factors here:

Transfer Business Ownership

How Does the Trust Obtain Ownership of Your Business?

How Will the Business Managed After You Pass?

Once the trust has obtained ownership of your business, there are factors that affect how it will be managed after you are gone. The first factor is the type of business that has been transferred (which we explored above). The other is the way the business was managed prior to the transfer of ownership.

Transfer Business Ownership to Trust

What Do the Beneficiaries Receive?

As is the theme with trust transfers, the terms will determine whether income is distributed to beneficiaries. The trust is entitled to receive income or distribute profit distributions to owners or stockholders. 

Special Circumstances: 'S' Corporations

In the case that your business is taxed as an S corporation, there are unique circumstances under which someone can own the S corporation after your death. Prior to transferring ownershipof trust assets, consult a qualified attorney or financial professional. 

As discussed, there are many factors to consider and navigate when transferring business ownership before you die. Overall, it depends heavily on the type of business you are operating, as well as how it is currently being managed. Therefore, it’s a great idea to consult with professionals to properly consider every factor and complete the transfer of ownership with confidence. It can be daunting, but Anderson, Dorn & Rader is here to help!

Contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, the trusted team of Nevada Wealth Counselors, to properly transfer ownership of your business before you pass.

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.

Trust Funding: Is Everything Titled Correctly?

You’ve had your trust documents drafted and signed, now you assume your estate plan is in place and no further action is required. Unfortunately, this is not all that needs to be done to ensure your estate plan is effective. For any trust to have actual value, it needs to be funded. 

The process of funding your trust is essential to leave property, cash, and other assets to your beneficiaries. Learn more about trust funding and proper titling below. 

How to Fund Your Trust

Titled Trust FundsFunding is the process of moving assets, such as money and property into the appropriate trust. To fully understand funding, imagine your trust as an empty bucket. The bucket by itself doesn’t offer much usefulness, but once you fill the bucket up, it has a purpose. Trusts function similarly in that they are only useful when they have money or property in them. 

The funding process involves retitling your assets in the name of your trust. Bank accounts, property, and any other assets will need to be titled in the trust’s name in order for them to be included in that trust, otherwise, it will remain empty. This can be done in one of two ways: 

  1. Transfer ownership of your accounts and property from you (individually) to yourself as a trustee of your trust. 
  2. Designate beneficiaries and name the trust as a beneficiary on other types of property such as life insurance.

By doing this, your trust can be easily handed over to a successor trustee to manage in the event of your incapacitation - without the need for court intervention. Your successor trustee will have the right and responsibility to use the assets placed in the trust for you and your beneficiaries while you are unable to manage those things on your own. Fortunately, fully funded living trusts are exempt from the probate process, which provides a superior method of managing the trust for streamlined asset distribution and much more. 

To properly fund your trust, you’ll need to work with the financial organizations you bank with to transfer ownership of your accounts into the trust’s name. Any real property you own will also need to be transferred into the trust’s name which may require a new deed to be signed with the correct information. Take a look at some of the common types of property that can be included or funded in your trust:

Cash Accounts (Checking & Savings)  

Accounts including checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit (CD) should all be regularly funded to your trust. To do this, you’ll need to work with the bank or credit union in which you have accounts to retitle them into your trust’s name. Commonly, you will be required to provide a certificate of trust that contains information the financial institution will need to complete the transfer. Just be sure that there are no early withdrawal penalties for retitling your CD accounts. 

Real Estate and Real Property

Real EstateReal estate may refer to your personal residence or another property (commercial, residential, or industrial) owned by you. Real property refers to the interests associated with property such as mineral or timber rights. Both types of property will require the help of an estate planning attorney to prepare the appropriate documents and ensure the property deeds are signed and sealed specifically for your trust. 

Investments

Investment accounts will also need to be transferred into your trust’s name which can be accomplished through your financial advisor or broker of a custodial account. To do this, a certificate of trust is often necessary for proper retitling of your investments.  

Personal Items

Personal effects may include items such as jewelry, furniture, clothing, photos, artwork, collections, tools, vehicles, and more. You can easily move these items into your trust by signing an assignment of personal property.

Life Insurance

In regards to your life insurance, it’s best to name your trust as the primary beneficiary of the policy so that the trust has authority over the earnings garnered from said policy. It is then customary to name loved ones or other special persons such as a spouse, partner, or child as secondary beneficiaries. Most insurance companies have processes in place that allow these changes to be made easily. To change the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy, contact your insurance agent to get the proper beneficiary designation forms filled out and filed.  

Retirement Assets

Trust Funds Retirement AssetsRetirement assets may include individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401k plans. Typically, it is not recommended to transfer ownership of these accounts to your trust due to the serious tax implications they pose for the plan’s owner. Before you assign your trust as the primary beneficiary on your retirement accounts, it’s crucial that you understand the potential tax consequences associated with this plan of action. Fortunately, your estate planning attorney can help you assess these risks and make the most appropriate decision for you. 

Other Assets to Consider

The most common types of property are listed above, but these aren’t the only assets that you may want to be funded into your trust. To ensure that your legacy goes to the appropriate beneficiaries, and to avoid probate, it’s important to include all of your assets in your trust. Some of the other types of property that should be funded into your trust include:

Trust Funding with Reputable Estate Planning Attorneys AD&R

Your estate plans matter more than you may think. While many people assume they don’t have adequate assets to warrant the need for a living trust or other types of estate plans, this isn’t the case. Reputable estate planning attorneys can help you develop an effective estate plan that safeguards your assets and ensures your legacy for generations to come. 

Connect with Anderson, Dorn & Rader today to have your trust documents drafted and titled, and your trusts properly funded. We’ll help you retitle your accounts and ensure correct ownership of your property for an effective estate plan.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation with a Reno Trust Lawyer Today

In the event of your incapacity, it’s crucial that you begin estate planning to set processes and prepare documents such as a last will and testament or revocable living trust to safeguard your assets. Congress determined that due to the importance and benefits estate planning has for Americans and their families, it was necessary to bring awareness to the cause. Thus, since 2008, the third week of October has been recognized as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. While the onset of COVID-19 did encourage a majority of us to begin thinking about the future, many American families are still severely lacking an effective estate plan with just one-third of adults in the U.S. having documented wills or trusts. If you assume that estate planning isn’t for you because you haven’t acquired mass wealth or several large assets, you’d be mistaken. 

The Importance of Having an Estate Plan

Estate planning is simply a way to protect your assets and your loved ones by creating legally valid documents that address a variety of concerns. These concerns often include ensuring that your money and property are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your assets are managed according to your wishes. 

Beginning the Estate Planning Process

To begin the estate planning process, several considerations need to be made. Some of the things that will require your attention are whether or not you have a will or trust, your plans for powers of attorney, insurance coverage, and your existing accounts. Below, we will discuss these considerations more in-depth:

Encourage Your Loved Ones to Begin Estate Planning

National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great opportunity to get your own estate plan in place, but be sure to also reach out to your loved ones to ensure their future estate plans as well. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach because it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation:

Contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, LTD. Estate Planning Attorneys

Our estate planning and trust company in Reno, NV has been serving families and businesses throughout northern Nevada for over 25 years. As experienced estate attorneys, we are dedicated to providing you with the most current estate planning information and strategies to ensure your legacy for future generations. We’re able to prepare last will and testaments, revocable trusts, healthcare directives, and act as power of attorney in the case of your incapacitation. Contact us today to learn more about estate planning or sign up for one of our estate planning workshops.  

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Trusts are an essential part of legacy and estate planning as they provide the best security over a person’s assets during and after life. A trust allows a grantor, or creator of the trust, to set aside possessions and assets for assigned beneficiaries following their death or incapacitation. There are several types of trusts to choose from, but regardless of this, you’re going to require the assistance of a successor trustee to manage the trust in the event that something happens to you. If you’re asking yourself “what is a successor trustee and why do I need one?”, you’re not alone. Take a look below to learn more about successor trustees and how to go about selecting them.  

legacy-wealth-planningWhat is a Successor Trustee?

A successor trustee is a person or group of people appointed to manage a trust when the grantor is no longer capable of managing it themselves. This may be due to the grantor becoming incapacitated, losing the ability to make decisions, or passing away. The successor trustee is responsible for administering and settling a trust in the event that one of these circumstances occurs. 

Duties of the successor trustee vary case by case as these terms are set by the grantor, but most commonly, trustees are responsible for overseeing the trust and managing the distribution of assets when the time comes. They will also be responsible for notifying relatives and proper institutions of the death or incapacitation. Often, the role of successor trustee lasts for many years making it a rather large commitment that may also be quite time-consuming.  

Successor trustees can be any trusted adult you choose such as adult children, relatives, trusted friends, or professional trustee services like those from Anderson, Dorn & Rader. 

How to Select a Successor Trustee

When it comes time to select a trustee, the grantor has a few options. It may be recommended that one person be appointed to serve as the successor trustee or it may be suggested to have multiple trustees. Having a single person act as successor trustee helps avoid potential conflicts between co-trustees during the administration of the trust. For this reason, it’s a common approach in estate planning to assign one person as the trustee at a time. So long as the successor trustee maintains contact with beneficiaries, keeps them informed about the trust administration, and fulfills the trustee’s responsibilities under both the law and the provisions of the trust document, appointing a single successor trustee can be a great option.

However, many trust makers are reluctant to place the entire responsibility for trust administration on just one person. Because of this, a grantor may appoint two or more trusted adults to serve as successor co-trustees. This method may be beneficial not only for the trustees but for the grantor as well. For instance, dividing the trustee’s responsibilities will help make the job of serving as a trustee much more manageable. To explain, a grantor may appoint a professional trustee service to be in charge of handling trust investments or accounting and tax information while another appointed trustee such as a family member or friend handles the distribution of assets and other similar duties. Likewise, having successor co-trustees may ensure the process of checks and balances which ultimately safeguard your trust from potential abuses of authority.   

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Co-Trustee Approach  

To determine whether your trust will be better in the hands of a single successor trustee or multiple trustees, you need to first understand the advantages and disadvantages of having successor co-trustees managing your trust. Some of the advantages of the co-trustee approach include:

Some of the disadvantages of the co-trustee approach to consider are:

Choosing the Right Successor Trustee Approach for You

Before choosing whom to name as a successor trustee, you should discuss the options with your attorney and other professional advisors. Doing so will help you identify some of the potential pitfalls and complications that can arise with regard to your successor trustee choice. During this discussion, you may realize the need to make changes to your estate planning documents such as adding or eliminating beneficiaries or editing your assets. 

Before determining what the right approach is for you, consider the following questions regarding potential successor trustees:

Successor Trustee Services from AD&R

It can be extremely difficult to determine what the best management option for your trust is. Fortunately, there are professionals out there to help make the decision more simple. If you’re struggling to appoint a trustee or group of trustees, connect with the expert estate planners at Anderson, Dorn & Rader to learn more about your options. As estate planning attorneys with extensive experience serving as professional trustees, they’re more than qualified to help you make the right decision regarding your legacy. 

Whether you nominate a single successor trustee or multiple co-trustees, carefully considering the pros and cons of each approach can help ensure that your wishes for the handling of your estate and trust will be honored. Contact us today so we can review your current successor trustee selections or create an estate plan with the right people in charge to assist you when needed.

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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

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.

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The primary purposes of a Revocable Living Trust are to avoid Probate Court's costs at death and a guardianship proceeding should the creator of the Trust (the Trustor) become incapacitated during life. In order for a Successor Trustee to properly administer the Trust in the event of incapacity or death, the assets in the Trust should be identified. 

Typically attached to an individual Revocable Living Trust is Schedule A that lists all the Trust assets. This provides a roadmap for the Successor Trustee to find the Trustor's assets held in the Trust and to begin administering the assets correctly. For married couples completing a joint Revocable Living Trust, Schedule A will identify Community Property, Schedule B will identify the Husband's Separate Property, and Schedule C will identify the Wife's Separate Property. Identifying the property's character can be very important for the Successor Trustee to properly administer the Trust for beneficiaries and determine if the step-up in income tax basis to Fair Market Value at death is applicable to the asset. The Trustors should update Schedules A, B, and C in writing as material changes are made to their assets such as new bank accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, life insurance, safe deposit boxes, etc. While the Trustors can make updates and changes to their Schedules, the Trustors should never write on their trust document as any handwritten modification to a Trust document that is not properly executed/notarized will not be effective.

An example of Schedule A is included at the end of this article for a sample client assuming all their property is Community Property. While Schedule A provides the roadmap for administering Trust assets for Successor Trustees, it does not by itself fund assets into the Trust. To properly fund real property into a Trust, a deed must be prepared and recorded, bank account and brokerage accounts re-titled to the Trust, qualified plans and IRA beneficiary designations updated, life insurance beneficiary designations completed, and business interests assigned to the Trust. 

Download Example

 

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.

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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.

Reno probate court
Although many people equate “estate planning” with having a will, there are many advantages to having a trust rather than a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. While there are other estate planning tools (such as joint tenancy, transfer on death, beneficiary designations, to name a few), only a trust provides comprehensive management of your property in the event you can’t make financial decisions for yourself (commonly called legal incapacity) or after your death.
 

Advantages of a Trust

One of the primary advantages of having a trust is that it provides the ability to bypass the publicity, time, and expense of probate. Probate is the legal process by which a court decides the rightful heirs and distribution of assets of a deceased through the administration of the estate. This process can easily cost thousands of dollars and take several months to more than a year to resolve. In Nevada, a gross estate of $400,000 in assets under NRS 150.060(4) is subject to $10,000 in fees plus court costs.  Larger estates have an even more onerous probate fees.  Or course, not all assets are subject to probate. Some exemptions include jointly owned assets with rights of survivorship as well as assets with designated beneficiaries (such as life insurance, annuities, and retirement accounts) and payable upon death or transfer on death accounts. But joint tenancy and designating beneficiaries don’t provide the ability for someone you trust to manage your property if you’re unable to do so, so they are an incomplete solution. Additionally, joint tenancy creates pitfalls for income tax purposes versus a trust.  Last, having a will only does not avoid probate.

The Probate Process

Of note, if your probate estate is small enough - or it is going to a surviving spouse or domestic partner - you may qualify for a simplified probate process in Nevada.  In general, if your assets are worth $100,000 or more, you will likely not qualify for simplified probate and should strongly consider creating a trust. Considering the cost of probate should also be a factor in your estate planning as creating a trust can save you both time and money in the long run. Moreover, if you own property in another state or country, the probate process will be even more complicated because your family may face multiple probate cases after your death, one in each state where you owned property - even if you have a will. Beyond the cost and time of probate, this court proceeding that includes your financial life and last wishes is public record. A trust, on the other hand, creates privacy for your personal matters as your heirs would not be made aware of the distribution of your assets knowledge of which may cause conflicts or even legal challenges.

Why Create a Trust?

A common reason to create a trust is to provide ongoing financial support for a child or another loved one who may not ever be able to manage these assets on their own. Through a trust, you can designate someone to manage the assets and distribute them to your heirs under the terms you provide. This will also protect an inheritance from being lost to a child’s soon to be ex-spouse in a family law matter. Giving an inheritance to an heir directly and all at once may have unanticipated ancillary effects, such as disqualifying them from receiving some form of government benefits, enabling and funding an addiction, losing it in a family law matter, or encouraging irresponsible behavior that you don’t find desirable. A trust can also come with conditions that must be met for the person to receive the benefit of the gift. Furthermore, if you ever become incapacitated your successor trustee - the person you name in the document to take over after you pass away - can step in and manage the trust’s assets, helping you avoid a guardianship or conservatorship (sometimes called “living” probate). This protection can be essential in an emergency or in the event you succumb to a serious, chronic illness. Unlike a will, a trust can protect against court interference or control while you are alive and after your death.
Trusts are not simply just about avoiding probate. Creating a trust can give you privacy, provide ongoing financial support for loved ones, and protect you and your property if you are unable to manage your own assets. Simply put, the creation of a trust puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to your assets and your wishes as opposed to leaving this critical life decision to others, like a judge.
To learn more about trusts - and estate planning in general, including which type of plan best fits your needs - contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. today at 775-823-9455 to make an initial consultation appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys or make a reservation to attend one of our free estate planning Webinars online HERE.

Will Contests and How to Avoid Them from Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.


The desire to contest the will of a loved one is a very common occurrence in estate planning. Even though most people would want to eliminate the family squabble if they could, disagreements about who should receive what are still going to happen unless steps are taken to avoid them.

Do You Know Your Trusts? from Brad Anderson


The basic purpose of a trust, in estate planning, is to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. There are many different types of trusts, each with their own specific purposes or goals. Learn more about trusts in Nevada in this presentation.

Do You Know Your Trusts
The basic purpose of a trust in estate planning is to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. What is a trust, exactly? It is a fiduciary agreement (one based on confidence and trust) between a trustee and the grantor (maker) of the trust.
The agreement authorizes the trustee to hold and manage the trust assets on behalf of the beneficiaries, and provides specific instructions on how to manage and distribute those assets. There are many different types of trusts, each with their own specific purposes or goals. So, how well do you know your trusts? Let’s find out.
Click here to read the whole report or download the PDF.

self-proving willWills are very common estate planning tools with great value when it comes to having the freedom of determining to whom your estate will be distributed after your death.  Without one, you die “intestate,” which means how your estate is distributed is established by the intestate succession laws in your state.  Even with its clear benefits, there can be complications if your will is challenged after your death.  Will contests can be expensive and stressful on your family.  An easy way to guard against one common challenge to the validity of your will is to create, what is called a “self-proving will.”

What makes a will valid?

The first step in drafting your will is making sure it meets all of the legal requirements to be valid.  Each state sets out the specific legal requirements for a valid will.  Most states accept wills from another state, as long as the legal document is considered valid under the other state’s laws.  The general requirements for a valid will are the same in most states.  The will must be in writing, it must be signed by the person creating the will, and it must be signed by at least two witnesses who were present at the execution of the document by the "testator" (the person whose will it is) and the signatures of the other witnesses.

Nevada’s laws regarding wills

Nevada’s laws regarding “Wills and Estates of Deceased Persons,” are set forth in the Nevada Revised Statutes, Title 12, Chapter 133 Wills, Sections 133.020 through 133.050.  In Nevada, every person of sound mind, over the age of 18 years, can create a will.  The terms “sound mind” simply means the person has not been determined to be, or is not obviously legally incompetent.  As in most states, a will in Nevada must be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses. 

Requirements for Witnesses

Witnesses must also be 18 years of age or older and generally competent.  The beneficiaries should not be witnesses; rather the witnesses should be independent third parties.  A will is not invalid because one of the witnesses is a beneficiary.  However, if there are not at least two disinterested witnesses, then the one who is a beneficiary must give up the portion of their gift that exceeds the amount or value they would have received under the laws of intestate succession.

The benefit of a Self-Proving Will

It is not uncommon for wills to be challenged.  The benefit of creating a self-proving will is that, the court will automatically accept the will as authentic.  Consequently, the probate process, when a self-proven will is involved, is much simpler. There is no need for the witnesses to be located and brought into court to give testimony.

How to create a self-proving will                         

Creating a self-proving will in Reno is not very difficult.  The only extra step is for the testator and the witnesses to affirm the will’s authenticity by notarized affidavit, or by affirming under penalty of perjury that they have witnessed the signing of the testator, verified that he or she is over the age of majority and is apparently competent.  The process of self-proving a will can be completed at the time the will is executed, or later, including upon the testator’s death.  The affidavit is typically made a part of the will and attached to it.  Even if the witnesses are available to testify when the testator dies, having a self-proving affidavit eliminates the delay and effort in requiring the witnesses to testify in court.
If you have questions regarding self-proving wills, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

wills in renoEstate planning in Reno and throughout Nevada involves everything related to transfer of your assets at the time of your death.  One of the primary estate planning tools is the will.  However, it is only one tool included in the many available in our services.  As Reno estate planning attorneys, the firm of Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. is equipped to assist your personal representative through the probate process to manage, transfer, and distribute your real and personal property, upon your death, pursuant to your last will and testament.  These services will be accomplished in the manner that allows your estate to avoid as much tax liability as possible.  

Creating a Will in Reno

A will describes to everyone who survives you, exactly how you want your assets to be distributed when you die.  A will can be revoked or modified during your lifetime.  Generally, a will should address the following:

Important clauses that should be included in your will

A Survival Clause provides instructions on how to handle the situation where a named beneficiary has died before you.  If these instructions are not included, the property you intended to leave to that person will go to their heirs, possibly through a second probate.  If that is what you intend, then the situation would need to be addressed by use of the right of representation.  If you want to identify an alternative beneficiary, you must also do so in a survival clause.
The Tax Apportionment Clause directs the inheritance and estate taxes to be paid from the gross estate, prior to your property and money being distributed to named beneficiaries. With this important clause, your beneficiaries will receive their share of the estate reduced by their fair share of taxes based on the amount to which they are entitled to receive from your estate.
A Simultaneous Death Clause is also an important section.  Similar to the survival clause, it deals with the possibility that you and one of your beneficiaries may die at the same time, or within a few days from each other,  like in a car accident. If this were to happen, it would be treated as though the beneficiary died before you, thus avoiding a second probate.

Considerations for simultaneous death of your spouse

If both you and your spouse die at the same time, you can declare in your will that your spouse not to be affected by the simultaneous death clause. You can also indicate that the spouse with the smaller estate be considered to have survived the other. This type of provision may help to reduce federal estate taxes. Generally speaking, however, if your estate is subject to the estate tax, you will be much better served with a trust combined with other strategies, than with a will. Because wills are subject to probate, expenses are multiplied.

Necessary appointments that should be made in your will

Your will should include the nomination of the person you wish to serve as the personal representative of your estate.  The probate court will ultimately either accept or reject this person, depending on whether there are any legitimate objections. You should also include an alternative personal representative, just in case your first choice is unable to serve.  Your will should also appoint a guardian in the event you have any minor children that survive you.  An alternate guardian should be identified, as well.
If you have questions regarding wills in Reno, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

A trust is a great way to plan for future management of your property, in the event you become unable to do so yourself.  Like most things, the terms of the trust must come to an end at some point.  When that happens depends on the circumstances.
The definition of a trust
A trust is simply a special type of arrangement where the original owner of the property (known as the “trustor”) places that property into a trust, while designating someone else (known as the “trustee”) to take care of it, for the benefit of another person (known as the “beneficiary”).  The instructions for using the property or taking care of it, are set out in the written document, called the "trust instrument."
How a trust can be terminated
The most common way for a trust to end is upon the exhaustion of the trust property.  For instance, if the trust property is cash or stocks, then the trust ends when all of the funds are paid to the beneficiary.  If, on the other hand, the property was tangible like a house or car, then the trust will end when that property is destroyed.
The other most obvious way a trust ends is when the document itself specifies.  The terms of the trust can either designate an ending date or a specific condition upon which the trust will end.  Common examples are trusts that end when a minor reaches the age of 21 or graduates from college.
Terms of a testamentary trust
Testamentary trusts customarily state when the trust will end, such as when the beneficiary dies or completes his or her education, as mentioned above. In some case, when the value of the trust falls below a minimum value, and it appears that continuing the trust would defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of the trust's goals, that situation could also terminate the trust.
Termination of a Living Trust
As with other types of trusts, a living trust can terminate on the date specified in the trust document, or when some condition is met or event occurs, such as the death of the beneficiary.  If the trust is irrevocable, some state laws provide that the trust can terminate early if the material purpose of the trust has been completed.
What happens after the trust terminates?
Once a trust terminates, and there is property remaining in the trust, the trustee and the beneficiary will work together to determine the best way to distribute that property. It is a good idea to include instructions in the trust instrument addressing how the assets should be distributed, in that case. If, however, there are no instructions, the trustee and the beneficiaries must decide the most reasonable method of dividing the assets.
If you have questions regarding your rights with respect to the end of a trust, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

In general, trusts are very valuable estate planning tools.  A Family Wealth Trust can be used, not only for making estate administration simple and easy, but also for safeguarding the family’s legacy.  They can be useful in regulating a younger heir’s access to assets and in providing long-term oversight and management of investments. The trustee of a Family Wealth Trust will be responsible for investing your assets and making sound decisions when it comes time to make distributions to your beneficiaries.
The primary goal of asset protection is to shelter the wealth you have accumulated from unnecessary risks. A family wealth trust can be a very effective and flexible option for doing just that.  Regardless of the value of your estate, you should consider  asset protection for, and creating an estate plan that will ensure your family wealth will be passed on to your loved ones.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is simply an agreement between three parties: the trustor, the trustee and the beneficiary, regarding to whom the property will be transferred.  The “trustor” is the person who owns the assets in, and creates the trust.  The “trustee” is the person who manages the assets of the trust.  The “beneficiary” is the person who gets the benefit of the assets after certain conditions are met.  Initially, the trustor will likely be the beneficiary, but at the death of the trustor, beneficiaries will be named in the trust agreement to receive the assets. There are few limitations on who can serve as trustee.  Commonly, trustees are the trustor, and when the trustor can no longer act as trustee they will be succeeded by trusted friends or relatives of the trustor.  They can also be professionals, such as accountants or attorneys.  A corporate trustee can also serve as trustee for a family wealth trust.
How can Family Wealth Trusts provide protection for assets?
Family wealth trusts become irrevocable at the death of the trustor, which simply means the terms of the trust cannot be changed.  Also, when the trust is created, the assets are permanently removed from the trustor’s estate, in order to be placed in the trust.  So, when the trustor passes away, the assets in the family wealth trust are passed on as trusts to the beneficiaries who, in many cases can also act as their own trustees. When the beneficiary dies, the inherited assets are not considered part of the beneficiary's estate.  This also means those assets will not be subject to estate taxes, which can be a huge benefit in protecting family wealth.
What is the benefit of a Generation-Skipping Trust?
Another option to consider in family wealth planning, is the Generation-Skipping Trust.  If you transfer your property to a grandchild, instead of your daughter or son, that transfer could be subject to a specific tax referred to as the “generation skipping transfer tax.”  The generation skipping transfer tax is a tax assessed on property as it is passed on to a generation that is two or more levels below the generation actually transferring the property.
The Generation-Skipping Trust, also known as a “dynasty trust,” is designed specifically to avoid, or at least minimize, taxes on transfers to subsequent generations.  This can be accomplished by holding the assets in the trust and distributing the funds in a pre-defined way to each generation.  Consequently, the entire amount of the trust will be protected from estate taxes with each passing generation.
These trust provisions are somewhat sophisticated and require careful planning, but can be significant if they are properly prepared.

Trusts are a vital wealth planning tool, not only for asset protection, but also for safeguarding the family’s wealth, regulating access to property and assets by younger family members, and providing long-term oversight and investment management for families. The trustee is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for investing those assets and making sound decisions in making distributions to beneficiaries.
Regardless of the size of your estate, it is important to consider protecting your assets and creating a plan to ensure that your family wealth will be passed on as you wish.  The goal of asset protection is to shelter the wealth you have created from unnecessary risks. A family wealth trust can be the most effective and flexible option for protecting family wealth.  When your estate planning attorney properly customizes a trust for your family, the benefits will far exceed simply leaving assets to family members in your will.  Remember, a Family Wealth Trust is not just for the wealthy.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is just an agreement between a trustor, trustee and beneficiary regarding how and when assets will be transferred.  The “trustor” is the person who owns the assets in and creates the trust.  The “trustee” is the person to whom the legal title of the assets passes.  The “beneficiary” is the person who eventually receives the assets after specific conditions have been met.  Trustees can be friends, relatives or professionals, such as attorneys or accountants.  In some cases, an entity such as a bank or a trust company can serve as trustee.
How do Family Wealth Trusts actually provide protection?
Usually, a family wealth trust becomes irrevocable when the trustor dies.  This simply means its terms cannot be changed once it has been created.  Furthermore, the assets are no longer part of the trustor’s estate once the trust becomes irrevocable.  So, when the trustor passes away, these assets are not considered part of the personal estate and will not be subject to the beneficiary's creditors.  This is only one advantage of this type of trust.
A Generation-Skipping Trust
Another option to consider is the Generation-Skipping Trust, which will allow you to retain your tax exemption on gifts to your grandchildren and avoid the tax on any amounts exceeding that exemption.  In 2014, the Generation-Skipping tax exemption is $5.34 million, which is the same as the federal estate tax exclusion.  This is also a beneficial estate planning tool, if you want to leave assets to your grandchildren.  For instance, you can put $100,000 in a generation-skipping trust and allow it to accumulate earnings for any number of years.  Still, your lifetime exemption would only be reduced by the original $100,000.  If you have any questions about these or any other asset protection tools, please contact our office.

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