Estate 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.