When you pass away, your debts, including your mortgage, do not simply vanish. If your will or trust leaves your property, which still has a loan against it, to a beneficiary, they will inherit both the real estate and the remaining debt. The beneficiary might have the option to assume the mortgage, allowing them to retain ownership of the house, or they could opt to sell the property and use the proceeds to settle the debt. The specific outcomes depend on the terms of the mortgage and the directives laid out in the estate plan. Planning ahead for the transfer of your real estate assets can significantly simplify the process for your heirs, making it a smoother transition during a challenging time.

American Housing Debt: A Growing Concern

In recent years, American housing debt has soared to unprecedented levels. According to the US Census Bureau, the homeownership rate was approximately 66 percent in 2022. By the end of September 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that Americans were carrying $12.14 trillion in mortgage balances. This figure represents a significant portion of US consumer debt, emphasizing the crucial role of real estate in personal finance. The increase in mortgage debt highlights the importance of addressing how these obligations are managed after the homeowner's death.

The Prevalence of Unpaid Mortgages

With housing debt constituting a substantial part of consumer debt, it's not surprising that many Americans pass away while still owing on their mortgages. A survey by CreditCards.com revealed that 37 percent of Americans died with unpaid mortgages. This situation poses potential complications for heirs and underscores the need for comprehensive estate planning.

Inheritance Trends and Real Estate

The inclination to leave a home to one's children is strong among American parents, with a 2023 Charles Schwab survey indicating that more than three-quarters of parents intend to do so. However, the reality of inheriting a home is complex, especially given the current real estate market dynamics. Nearly 70 percent of potential heirs express a preference to sell the inherited property, often due to financial considerations or the rising costs of real estate.


Managing Mortgages in Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning, one of the critical concerns is how to handle mortgages on inherited properties. The process varies significantly depending on the decedent's estate plan, the terms of the mortgage, and state laws.

Scenario 1: Single Beneficiary Inheritance

When a property is left to a single beneficiary, whether through a will, trust, or deed, several outcomes are possible. The beneficiary might assume the existing mortgage, pay off the mortgage with other funds, or sell the property and use the proceeds to settle the debt. Some lenders may also allow for the refinancing of the loan under the new owner's name, potentially offering more favorable terms.

Scenario 2: Multiple Beneficiaries

In cases where multiple beneficiaries inherit a property, the situation becomes more complex. These beneficiaries must agree on how to manage the inherited mortgage, whether by assuming it jointly, selling the property, or using other funds to pay off the debt. Disagreements can lead to legal challenges, potentially resulting in a court-ordered sale of the property.

Scenario 3: Inheritance through Probate

For those who die without a will or trust, the probate process determines the distribution of their assets, including real estate. The executor of the estate is responsible for managing the deceased's debts and assets, which may involve using estate funds to maintain mortgage payments until the property can be sold or transferred.

The Importance of Planning

Estate planning goes beyond merely distributing assets; it's about ensuring that your legacy is passed on according to your wishes without imposing undue burdens on your loved ones. For homeowners, this means considering the implications of mortgage debt and making arrangements to ease the financial strain on heirs.

Crafting a Thoughtful Estate Plan

An effective estate plan addresses all aspects of your assets, including your home and any outstanding mortgage. It might include setting aside funds to cover mortgage payments, instructions for the sale of the property, or provisions for refinancing the mortgage to benefit your heirs.

Consulting with Professionals

Given the complexities of estate law and the intricacies of mortgages, seeking advice from an estate planning attorney is advisable. They can provide tailored guidance that aligns with your goals and ensures your estate is handled smoothly.

As American housing debt continues to climb, the importance of incorporating real estate into your estate planning cannot be overstated. Understanding how your mortgage debt will be managed after your passing is crucial to ensuring your heirs can navigate their inheritance without undue stress. Through careful planning and professional advice, you can secure your legacy and provide for your loved ones even after you're gone.

If you have significant wealth, you may be exposed to future estate tax burdens that must be acted on before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces the estate tax exemption in 2026. Developing and implementing the right estate planning and tax strategies takes time. You may need to prepare regardless of whether the estate tax continues at its current level or if it is cut in half. This means strategizing to minimize your estate tax liability now.

Does This Sound Like You?

Meet the Andersons, a well-off family living in a state with a high cost of living. Robert Anderson, the father, is a successful entrepreneur who built a thriving business over the years. His wife, Sarah, is a high salary earner, and together they have accumulated a substantial estate of $8 million each, for a total of $16 million. Their estate is primarily composed of their business assets, valuable artwork, life insurance, a family residence, a vacation home, and other lucrative investments. They have two adult children, James and Emily, both actively involved in the family business.

Their Unique Estate Tax Situation

With the generous federal estate tax exemption set at $10 million adjusted for inflation per individual in 2017, steadily increasing to $13.61 million in 2024, the Andersons have felt relatively secure about avoiding estate taxes. Their primary concern has been preserving the family legacy and ensuring a smooth transition of their assets (business, accounts, and property) to the next generation. They had taken some initial estate planning steps, such as creating a living trust, discussing the use of a family limited partnership, and exploring gifting strategies to transfer the assets to their children gradually.

If the estate tax exemption drops to $5 million adjusted for inflation, the Andersons may face several estate tax issues that require professional advice and assistance before the end of 2025. The Andersons need to find other ways to protect their money and property.

Business Succession Planning

The family business represents a significant portion of the Andersons’ estate, and the sunsetting of the higher exemption amount could have profound implications for its continued viability. Robert and Sarah need to develop a comprehensive business valuation and succession plan now to minimize the total estate tax burden and ensure a smooth ownership transition to James and Emily later.

Property and Investments

Given the potential changes in the estate tax landscape, the Andersons need to revisit the valuation of their financial accounts, retirement and life insurance investments, personal property, real estate, and artwork to ensure accurate assessments. Then they need to determine which items will affect the estate tax calculation and any remaining exemption they have left from prior legacy planning. Depending on their assets’ values, these items can easily put them over the potentially soon-to-be lower estate tax exemption, exposing them to a 40 percent tax rate.

Lifetime Gifting

With the uncertainty surrounding the estate tax exemption, the Andersons may want to consider accelerated lifetime gifting strategies to reduce their taxable estate while the higher exemption is in place. The Internal Revenue Service declared in 2019 that individuals who take advantage of the increased gift tax exclusion from 2018 to 2025 will not be negatively impacted after 2025 if the exclusion amount drops.1 Gifting up to $13.61 million in 2024 has a zero tax liability. But gifting over $6.4 million in 2026 may have major consequences.

Life Insurance

The Andersons may want to use life insurance to ensure that their loved ones are provided for at their passing. They may want to consider creating an irrevocable life insurance trust to own the life insurance policy and be the recipient of the death benefit. This removes the value of the policy from the Andersons’ estate and protects the death benefit for their chosen beneficiaries.

Marital Deduction Planning

The significant portfolios of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth families may require advanced tax planning techniques, including an AB trust, to optimize each spouse’s estate tax exemption and potentially minimize their estate tax liability. At the client’s death, an amount equal to the current estate tax exemption amount is placed in one trust, which uses the exemption, and the remainder is placed in a second trust for the surviving spouse’s benefit, which qualifies for the unlimited marital deduction. This results in no estate tax being owed at the death of the first spouse.

Portability and the Deceased Spouse Unused Exemption Amount

Spouses are able to give an unlimited amount of money and property to each other without having to worry about estate or gift tax. Because of this, some clients may not have an estate tax issue at the first spouse’s death because everything (or a substantial portion) went to the surviving spouse. Because they are utilizing the unlimited marital deduction, the deceased spouse’s exemption is not needed. However, even if this is the case, it may be advisable to file an estate tax return at the first spouse’s death to document how much of that deceased spouse’s exemption is being used, if any, and that the remainder is going to the surviving spouse. This will allow the surviving spouse to add the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion (DSUE) to the surviving spouse’s own exemption amount and apply that combined amount against their own estate at the time of death.

Charitable Giving

If the Andersons are philanthropically inclined, another great option would be to engage in charitable giving through the use of a charitable remainder trust. Setting up this type of trust can be time-consuming—sometimes the process is fairly straightforward but often highly complex, requiring advanced planning and consideration.

Contacting a Trusted Advisor

If your situation is similar to the Andersons, expert guidance is necessary to address estate tax issues and help you evaluate the impact of the potential sunsetting of the higher estate tax exemption amount on your estate. Contact us to learn more about strategies to protect, preserve, and pass down valuable property.

1 Estate and Gift Tax Facts, IRS.gov, https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/estate-and-gift-tax-faqs# (last updated Dec. 5, 2023).

This is the first week of May, which means that it is also Teacher Appreciation Week and we want to celebrate teachers everywhere and express our gratitude. Your commitment to laying the groundwork for tomorrow's leaders is truly inspiring. We believe that everyone deserves a successful future, including you. We want to ensure that you have all of the essential estate planning documents to secure that future. To get that preparation started, we have some frequently asked questions listed about estate planning and how important it is to have a plan in place.


a teacher doing some inheritance planning

What Does the Term 'Estate' Mean?

Having a proper legal plan is important for everyone, regardless of wealth. The term 'estate' refers to all of your possessions, such as bank accounts, real estate, household items, and vehicles. Essentially, it encompasses everything that you own. Once you pass away, everything in your estate is bequeathed to someone else.


What Does Estate Planning Entail?

Estate planning or asset protection planning, involves creating a comprehensive set of instructions for your trusted decision-makers to follow. These instructions are laid out in a series of legal documents that specify what should happen to your assets, finances, and other possessions after you pass away. In addition to distributing your estate, these documents can allow you to nominate a guardian for your minor children, and provide guidance for situations where you are unable to make your own decisions or require end-of-life care. A large number of people choose to work with an estate attorney, like us, to help them with this inheritance planning process.


Do I Really Need to Plan for Retirement?

Planning for retirement is essential to ensure that you are financially prepared for your post-work years. Your retirement plan options will vary depending on the school district you're in, so you may need to conduct a little research to see the basic features of your plan. Defined-benefit plans guarantee a specific payment amount, while defined contribution plans are based on investment results. To understand your plan's rules and requirements, consider the following questions:

The type of account your retirement plan is in decides the regulations that go with it. Understanding the terms and conditions for your specific plan is vital.


What Documents Make Up an Estate Plan?

To create an effective estate plan, you must identify the documents that make up your plan. Having a will or trust already completed means that you are off to a good start. If you haven't started preparing any of the necessary documents yet though, there is no need to panic as we are here to help you create your comprehensive plan for any situation. As a teacher, you know the importance of having a well-organized plan, and we view your inheritance planning documents as the lesson plans that guide and protect your loved ones.

Revocable Living Trust

One part of asset protection planning can be developing a revocable living trust (RLT), which is a trust that you establish during your lifetime, which can be altered at any time until you become incapacitated or pass away. You can either transfer ownership of your accounts and property from yourself as an individual to yourself as the trustee of the trust or name the trust as the beneficiary of your accounts and property (with some exceptions). Although many may believe it, there is no requirement as to how much money and property you need to experience the benefits of a trust. The next step may involve figuring out how to choose a trustee as an RLT allows you to designate a co-trustee or substitute trustee if you become unable to act as trustee for any reason. An RLT also enables you to enjoy your money and property during your lifetime and to designate what will happen to it upon your death, safeguarding it for your chosen beneficiaries.

An RLT is an excellent way to provide instructions to your loved ones about how to handle the money and property owned by the trust. You can specify in the trust document how the money and property should be used during your incapacity and after your death. As an educator, an RLT offers an opportunity to provide younger beneficiaries with teachable moments. You can structure the trust to allocate a specified percentage to your loved one upon reaching a particular age (e.g., one-third at age thirty, one-half at age forty, and the remainder at age fifty). Alternatively, you can use an incentive trust to allow the trustee to give your loved one money only after achieving specific objectives (e.g., successfully completing a post-secondary education, being employed by the same employer for more than a year, being sober for one year, etc.). You can also use your trust to encourage charitable giving by allowing your loved one to select a charity to give a stated amount of money to, providing funding for a mission trip, etc.

Last Will and Testament

Another option for asset protection planning is a Last Will and Testament, which is another option for individuals to carry out their wishes. This document is also referred to as a will. In it, you can name an executor or personal representative who will collect all of your accounts and property, pay off your outstanding debts, and distribute your assets to those you have named. You can also name a guardian for any minor children. Unlike an RLT, this document is only effective after your death and cannot be used during your incapacity. However, it does provide a way to officially express your wishes.

If you choose to distribute your assets through a will, your family will have to go through the probate process, a court-supervised procedure that must be followed to distribute your accounts and property to your beneficiaries after your death. In contrast, with an RLT, probate can be avoided. It's important to note that if you don't have a will, state law will determine who gets your assets.

Pour-Over Will

In the event that you have created an RLT as part of your estate plan, you may also need to create a pour-over will. This document is necessary only if an account or property has not been transferred to your trust during your lifetime or to your trust or another beneficiary upon your death through a beneficiary designation. Similar to a last will and testament, a pour-over will designates a personal representative or executor (usually the same person named as your substitute trustee) and a guardian for any minor children. However, the main difference is that a pour-over will directs that all accounts or property that are subject to probate be transferred to your RLT. While your loved ones will still need to go through probate, your money and property will ultimately end up in the trust and be managed and distributed according to its instructions.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted person, referred to as your agent, to manage your financial transactions such as signing checks, opening bank accounts, signing a deed, and other tasks that you may assign. It's similar to assigning tasks to a teacher's aide in a classroom. You can tailor the powers granted to the agent and when they can act on your behalf to meet your specific needs. Failing to name an agent can result in your loved ones having to wait for a court-appointed decision-maker with no input from you.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney enables you to designate a trusted person to act as your healthcare decision-maker and make medical decisions or communicate your healthcare preferences on your behalf if you become unable to do so, like a stand-in teacher for your healthcare. Without a formal designation, your loved ones would have to seek court appointment for someone to make medical decisions for you, which may not align with your wishes, and the process can be costly, time-consuming, and public, adding to the stress during a challenging time.

Advance Directive or Living Will

An advance directive, also known as a living will, is a teaching guide that communicates your specific wishes regarding end-of-life decisions. It is crucial to thoughtfully consider your desires regarding life-prolonging procedures and clearly convey them to your chosen medical decision-maker. Without these instructions, your medical decision-maker will have to make assumptions about your wishes, which can lead to stress and potential disagreements among your loved ones if their opinions differ.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization Form

A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization form allows you to authorize specific individuals to receive information about your medical condition, such as updates on your status or test results. This authorization does not grant decision-making authority to the named individuals; that power belongs to the medical decision-maker you have chosen in your medical power of attorney or the court-appointed individual if you have no valid medical power of attorney. Sharing information with your loved ones can ease anxieties and uncertainties that arise during emergencies. The HIPAA authorization can also help reduce tensions between the medical decision-maker and your loved ones and enable them to understand the reasons behind the decisions made.


Next Assignment

Your next task is to contact us so that we can work with you to create a personalized estate plan that will safeguard you and your loved ones. Trusting an estate attorney to help you make the right plan is a great step in the right direction. Preparing a plan will put you at ease knowing your wishes will be honored, all of your assets will be distributed how you'd like, and all of the people you care about are accounted for if you happen to become incapacitated or pass on. Let's work together to create a comprehensive lesson plan for your inheritance planning needs.

Anderson, Dorn & Rader can assist you.

Legal Trusts for Mental IllnessWhen a loved one suffers from a mental illness, one small comfort can be knowing that your trust can take care of them through thick and thin. There are some ways this can happen, ranging from the funding of various types of treatment to providing structure and support during his or her times of greatest need. 

Let’s explore a few ways you can help take care of a loved one struggling with mental illness with the help of your estate planning attorney:

It can contribute to voluntary treatment

Trusts can be disbursed in many ways. If your loved one is involved in an inpatient care facility or an ongoing outpatient program, you can structure your trust so that its disbursements cover the costs of that treatment as time goes on. This also helps your loved one because it relieves them of the responsibility of managing large sums of money on their own. They can rest easier knowing that their care is covered without having to set up a complicated payment plan on their own. 

In some cases, the person suffering from mental illness doesn’t have the capacity to enroll themselves in the right type of care. If an intervention of care is needed, your trust can also help encourage involuntary treatment that ultimately serves your loved one’s best interests in the long run. 

Trustees can help watch over them

Mental Illness TrusteeSelecting a trustee isn’t always an easy feat. That’s one of many decision-making areas where we’re more than happy to step in and walk you through the process. When you have a loved one battling mental illness, your choice of a trustee becomes even more of a nuanced decision. 

We’ll help you deduce the perfect person to not only manage the wealth contained within the trust but also keep a compassionate watchful eye on your loved one benefitting from the trust. An astute trustee can look for early warning signs surrounding your loved one’s mental health issue and make sure to get them connected to the care and services they need in no time.

Lifetime trusts provide structure and support

Most people don’t think of large inheritances as a burden. But this can be the case when an individual is dealing with depression, anxiety, hoarding, or diseases like schizophrenia. Lifetime trusts are an excellent way to take care of your loved one without saddling them with a challenge on top of what they are already experiencing. 

A discretionary lifetime trust can be drafted in such a way that its funds can only be used to go toward certain goods and services — such as outpatient mental health care, housing, or other “necessaries” of life. Likewise, it can also prohibit spending in areas that would cause more harm than good — gambling or compulsive shopping, for example. The discretionary nature of these types of trusts makes it so your loved one doesn’t have to worry about their own potential missteps when it comes to using the wealth contained within the trust. 


Do you have a family member or other loved one who could use the financial flexibility and structural support of a trust? Give us a call today, and together we’ll figure out the best ways to enhance your loved one’s life by finding the right estate planning tools to offer the most help.

Estate plans are more than your monetary net worth. Categories of your estate can include real estate, pets, possessions and all other property you own. Some people forget how priceless personal property, such as family heirlooms and keepsakes, can be to those you leave behind. 

It is important to work out what will happen to these valuable items after your death by creating an estate plan. 

What Is An Heirloom And Keepsake?


Heirlooms have been passed down to family members for generations. These items can vary in monetary value, but the memories attached to them are copious, giving them an emotional and sentimental value that shouldn’t be discarded or auctioned after your passing.


Keepsakes are slightly different from heirlooms because they apply to specific items you owned during your life. These items can be anything from cutlery sets, furniture, or jewelry that you left behind for your family. While these valuable items only have been passed down once, they have nostalgia your family wouldn’t want to lose.



Issues You May Face When Sorting Family Heirlooms and Keepsakes

Family members can have different values associated with certain heirlooms and keepsakes. It can be crucial to talk with each family member about their feelings and expectations towards certain items in advance. This common knowledge will help your family avoid unnecessary fighting for heirlooms or keepsakes after your death. 

It is a good idea to decide if you need to have your family heirlooms or keepsakes appraised. By doing this, you provide your heirs with the necessary documentation to understand the value of each object passed down to them. Plus, you might realize you want to get some of these items insured due to their worth. Handling this before you pass will make it easier for your heirs to go through the mourning process and avoid unnecessary externalities.

Family Heirlooms and Keepsakes

How To Distribute Family Heirlooms and Keepsakes

There is no proper way to distribute these valuable and irreplaceable items after your death. Of course, these valuables could end up lost or undervalued if they end up in the wrong hands when there is no plan in place for family heirlooms and keepsakes.

Here are some ways to distribute these precious items to your heirs.

Equal Distribution 

Some people prefer to equally distribute heirlooms and keepsakes to their heirs by focusing on each items' monetary value. An estates planning attorney can offer you guidance when understanding the liquidity of each family heirloom and keepsake.

Personal Property Memorandum

It is important to note more than two of your heirs may desire the same heirloom or keepsake. You can resolve this dilemma before you pass by creating a personal property memorandum. This document is a chance for you to explicitly state your wishes and avoid any conflict that may come after your death. 

One benefit to this type of inheritance planning is that a property personal memorandum is referred to as your last will and identifies who is to receive said property. Also, you don't need to execute a new will or amend your trust if you decide to make modifications to which heirs receive these family heirlooms and keepsakes.

Gifting Family Heirlooms And Heirlooms During Your Life

You may prefer to gift special items to your heirs before passing away. Doing this could be a consideration if you find enjoyment in seeing how your family reacts to receiving their heirloom or keepsake. 

Of course, you don't want to forget the gift tax you may incur after giving any items to your heirs while alive. Furthermore, you may want to consider if you should factor them into what share of your estate your heirs receive after your death depending on their value.

Let An Estate Planning Attorney Help

Anderson Dorn and Rader’s attorneys have the expertise and knowledge to help you create an estate plan that considers all your assets. Family heirlooms and keepsakes are just one piece of the puzzle. Define all your wishes for what your heirs receive with an estate plan to help avoid conflict between your heirs later on.

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two hands handing a small white gift wrapped box with a red bowReceiving an inheritance from a loved one can be thrilling, but for some it may also cause some concern. In fact, there are a host of questions you may have when you receive the news that an inheritance is coming your way - including, "Does this mean that I'm going to have to pay tax on this inheritance?" Inheritance tax is different from estate taxes, which is also different from (although related to) the gift tax. Whether or not you will be required to pay an inheritance tax depends on which state you, the beneficiary, live in. Here are the answers to five common inheritance tax questions as it applies to beneficiaries that are residents of Nevada.

No. 1 – What is a inheritance tax?

In general, an inheritance tax is a tax levied on money or property received from the estate of someone else. In those states that still impose an inheritance tax, the rate will depend usually on the type of beneficiary you are. In other words, spouses and children of the deceased are generally taxed at a much lower rate than others. In some states, certain categories of heirs are exempt from the tax completely.

No. 2 – Do I have to worry about a Nevada inheritance tax?

No, you don't need to worry about a Nevada inheritance tax! Nevada is among the majority of states that does not impose an inheritance tax. The federal government no longer levies an inheritance tax either. Beneficiaries of an estate will inherit the estate tax-free, and they receive a "step-up" in basis that can allow them to sell those assets immediately without paying capital gains tax.

No. 3 - Is inheritance tax the same as estate tax?

Basically, the difference between inheritance taxes and estate taxes is who is responsible for paying. Inheritance taxes are paid by the person receiving the money or property from someone else. Whereas, estate taxes are due from the estate of the person who has died, when the property is transferred to heirs and beneficiaries. The estate tax laws vary from state to state, and Nevada is one that does not impose an estate tax for those individuals that die as residents of Nevada or owning property in Nevada. For federal tax purposes, the federal government will only tax the deceased person's estate if the value of the estate (including prior gifts made above the annual exclusion amount) exceeds $5.45 million in 2016.

No. 4 – What if the person giving me money is still alive? 

Receiving a gift from someone who is still living is different from receiving an inheritance. You, as the beneficiary, will not be required to pay taxes on the receipt of a gift. Instead, the person making the gift is responsible for paying the applicable taxes. This is the "gift tax."  There should not be any immediate tax consequences for the gift recipient because gifts are not included as part of your taxable income.  But, there may be future tax consequences if you sell the gifted property later.  The recipient of the gift receives a "carry-over" basis, which means that if they later sell the gifted property they may be responsible for paying the capital gains tax.

No. 5 – Can I reject an inheritance?

You can reject an inheritance if you choose to, and in some cases, it may be a good idea. Understand though, that rejecting an inheritance requires more than simply telling the executor you do not want the assets you are set to receive. There are laws that govern the proper way to disclaim an inheritance. Essentially, if you need to make sure you are not considered the legal owner of the inherited property, there are specific steps that must be taken. To make matters worse, there are very strict rules about the timing required to properly disclaim an inheritance.

In order to correctly disclaim an inheritance, you need to put your disclaimer in writing and deliver it to the person in control of the estate. In most cases, that person is the executor of the estate, or trustee of the trust, that holds the property. In most cases, the disclaimer should be submitted to the executor or trustee within 9 months of the person’s death. The most important thing to remember is that you must not accept any benefit from the property if you want to actually reject the inheritance.

The Importance of Nevada Inheritance Planning

If you believe it is in your best interest to reject an inheritance, it is very important that you discuss this decision with a Nevada inheritance planning attorney before you take any action.  Your attorney can take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that your disclaimer is handled properly. Ultimately, receiving proper legal advice can decrease your chances of facing problems in the future. As with any estate plan, your inheritance plan should address both your present and future financial goals.

Decide How the Inheritance Would Fit Into Your Overall Plan

If you decide to ultimately accept the inheritance, then you need to consider the nature of the assets you will be inheriting. If you are married, there are important steps that should be taken if you want to keep the inherited assets separate from the marital assets. If you need to sell an inherited asset, but you wait too long to do so, you could increase the risk of unfavorable tax consequences. Also, it is important to determine how you will handle any retirement accounts you may inherit, including planning for how you will withdraw the retirement funds.  Understanding your options, while creating a plan that will protect you from potential tax consequences, is an important part of inheritance planning.
If you have questions regarding Nevada inheritance tax, estate tax, gift tax, or any other estate planning issues, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

To learn more, please download our free Nevada capital gains tax here.

trust in reno nvIt can be intimidating to consider the possibility of relinquishing control over your property. People sometimes assume that you do surrender control of assets when you create a trust.
In this post we will provide some clarity about creating a trust in northern Nevada.

Different Types of Trusts

Revocable Trusts

There are different types of trusts. Perhaps the most commonly utilized trust in Reno NV in the field of estate planning is the revocable living trust.
These trusts are largely useful to enable probate avoidance. If you use a last will to state your final wishes, the estate must be probated before your heirs receive their inheritances.
This process can be expensive and time-consuming. Most people would like to facilitate timely asset transfers.
When you use a revocable living trust to arrange for these transfers the distributions to the beneficiaries will take place outside of probate.
Because of the fact that the trust is revocable, you do retain control of assets that you convey into this type of trust.
You can act as both the trustee and the beneficiary while you are still living, and most people will do this. As a result, you can control investments and give yourself distributions as you see fit.
The control doesn't stop there. Because the trust is revocable, you can actually dissolve or revoke it at any time. The terms that you originally set forth are not etched in stone either. You can change them and add or subtract beneficiaries.

Irrevocable Trusts

There are irrevocable trusts as well. With some exceptions, these trusts do require you to surrender incidents of ownership, so you do not continue to have control of the property that has been conveyed into the trust.
Because the trust is not revocable, you cannot dissolve it, and generally speaking the terms cannot be changed.
Why would you want to create a trust that did not allow you to retain control? There are a number of reasons.
Certain estate tax efficiency strategies involve irrevocable trusts. Because the assets would be owned by the trust rather than the estate, there are certain benefits.
In addition, when you surrender incidents of ownership by placing assets into an irrevocable trust they are generally going to be protected from creditors and claimants seeking redress. Nevada does allow some irrevocable trusts to be "self-settled," so some incidents of ownership are retained, but these are sophisticated strategies that require the advice of competent counsel to establish and fund.

Specific Questions, Straight Answers

The best way to proceed if you have questions about estate planning would be to discuss everything in detail with a licensed Reno Nevada estate planning lawyer.
Rather than looking for answers to general questions about what trusts can and cannot do, you would be better off consulting with an attorney. You can explain exactly what you want to accomplish, and your attorney can give you direct answers to your specific questions.

November 11 is Veterans Day, and people around the country are taking some time to remember the contributions that have been made by former service members.  In this post we would like to share some thoughts about retirement and estate planning for veterans.
The Basics
Veterans have the same concerns that we all do when it comes to estate planning. You want to make sure that you are taking all the appropriate steps with regard to the transfer of your assets after you pass away. It is also important to be financially prepared for the different stages of life.
When it comes to the latter component, if you are a careerist you have some great opportunities when it comes to retirement planning. The military pension that service members are entitled to after at least 20 years of service can be a fantastic supplement to Social Security income.
In addition, many people embark on careers in the private sector after serving 20 years. If you joined up after college at the age of 22 for example, you would be just 42 when you leave the service.
You would have an extraordinary resume. Your undergraduate education would have been in place before you joined, and you may well have added onto that while you were in the military.
This presents an extraordinary opportunity for wealth building. You could be drawing a significant retirement pension while you are traversing a civilian career path. If you plan ahead effectively, you could potentially accumulate quite a bit of wealth while you enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
This would all lead to the ability to enjoy your retirement years to the utmost once you decide to put your working years behind you.
Legacy Planning
Service members are inherently involved in history making. When you have served in the Armed Forces, especially during a time of war, you have experienced things that civilians simply cannot fully grasp.
A legacy plan can involve leaving behind autobiographical notes or memoirs. This can be a gift that has a lasting impact that transcends dollars and cents.
Veterans should definitely consider putting their experiences into writing. You can include these memoirs among your estate planning documents. Family members can learn much, and perhaps ancestors yet unborn can learn some history when they read your reminiscences.
There is also the matter of physical mementos. Veterans often retain ownership of items that hold a great deal of significance to them. When you share the stories that are attached to things that you will be leaving behind, you imbue these items with meaning that can be felt over the generations.
Honoring Veterans
We would like to thank all veterans for their service. Without their sacrifices we would not have the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day.

The baby boomer generation is comprised of people who were born from 1946 to 1964. This group is reaching the age at which people typically retire, but studies are showing that a very significant percentage of them are not prepared financially.
There are a number of contributing factors to this lack of preparation.  One of them is the idea that Social Security will be enough to finance a comfortable retirement. When you look at the facts you see that Social Security is really only going to provide a modest safety net, and many people find this out when it is too late to make up for lost time.
Another reason why some people don't plan ahead for retirement is that they expect to receive significant inheritances. This may be a mistake because research is indicating that many baby boomers will be inheriting less than they may expect.
A study done by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research looked at the anticipated inheritances of baby boomers. They found that from the middle of 2006 to the middle of 2010 the amount of projected inheritances dropped by 13%. The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 definitely took its toll on the inheritances that many baby boomers were counting on.
Increased longevity is another factor.
The segment of the population that is at least 85 is growing faster than any other age group. Clearly, when you live to an advanced age you are incurring expenses for a longer period of time, and that is going to reduce the amount that you have to pass along to your children and grandchildren.
Receiving an inheritance can definitely give you a financial lift. However, it is not wise to count on anything, and it is really up to each one of us to take personal responsibility for our own financial well-being.

Back in the late 1980s through to the early 1990s Peter Barton played the role of Dr. Scott Grainger on The Young and the Restless, a popular soap opera. Undoubtedly he had many fans during that era, but one of them would surprise him many years later.
Barton worked on a film called Hell Night in 1981 with fellow actor Kevin Brophy. They became friends while they were filming the movie, but they never knew that they were joined together in the mind of an Illinois man named Ray Fulk.
Fulk died last summer in possession of over $200,000 in cash and certificates of deposit. He also owned 160 acres of property that has been appraised at around $1 million.
In 1997 an attorney named Donald Behle was retained by Fulk to draw up an estate plan. He told the attorney that Peter Barton and Kevin Brophy were his friends, and he wanted to leave his entire estate to them after $5000 was set aside for an animal welfare group.
The actors never actually met Ray Fulk in person. Behle went through his client's papers and found out that Brophy and Barton had responded to letters sent to them by Fulk, who presumably was a fan of their work.
This is certainly an unconventional decision, but at the same time Fulk had no family and no close personal relationships and he had to leave his resources to someone.
You can do what you please with your estate, but if you are going to make decisions that could be brought into question you would do well to work with an estate planning attorney to state your final wishes in an ironclad manner.

A report was made available by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 stating that around 26% of minors under the age of 21 were living in single-parent households - an alarming statistic.
Everyone hopes to live a long and healthy life, and in fact the average lifespan at this time is 78 years. Of course, this is an average, not a guarantee. Everyday we read reports about young people dieing and leaving minor children behind.
We all recognize the fact that accidents take place every day that kill young people. Other young adults pass away as a result of catastrophic illnesses. It is just not going to happen to us, right?
When people who die at a young age leave behind minor children, it is seldom that they have taken the time or opportunity to properly provide for their welfare.
The children of single parents are vulnerable. All single parents absolutely must have an estate plan in place that names a guardian to care for the children.
We should also have sufficient life insurance to provide a financial underpinning for the children throughout their lives. To make sure that the funds are properly managed should this become necessary you could include a testamentary trust in your last will. You may want to consider a revocable living trust instead, so a court does not need to supervise the guardian with annual hearings.
To learn more about why estate planning is so important for the parents of dependent children please take a moment to download our free report and read it at your earliest convenience: Estate Planning for Parents of Young Children

There are certain responsibilities that you may not have addressed for one reason or another, and for many people estate planning is one of these.
When you are busy with your day-to-day life, time can get past you in a hurry, and some things are simply left undone.
Now that we are in a new year you may start to take stock of the things that you would like to accomplish during 2013. We would like to urge you to make estate planning a priority this year.  If you have an estate plan, make this the year you have it reviewed and updated.
All adults should have an estate plan in place that includes a method to  transfer assets, income replacement for the benefit of family members, and advance health care directives that would come into play in the event of a medical emergency.
Estate planning is not something that is only relevant for senior citizens. It is true that the average lifespan is 78 years, and many people live well beyond this average age.
There are, however, no guarantees for any of us. You may be a young adult with minor children in the home who are totally dependent on you. From that perspective it could be said that estate planning is as important for younger adults as it is for senior citizens who have grown children who are self-supporting.
It is quite simple to put an estate plan in place. All you have to do is contact us for a free estate planning consultation and we will do everything possible to assist you as you make preparations to ensure the security of those that you love.

Your estate represents everything that you have worked for throughout your life. And, passing along your legacy to your loved ones will be your final act of giving to those that you care about the most.
This is a very profound act, and it is important to go forward in an informed and intelligent manner when you are making preparations for the inevitable.
It in not unusual for many to lack an understanding of estate planning techniques.  Our firm has developed a series of special reports that we have prepared as part of our educational initiative. One of the reports that we are making available at the present time examines the probate process.
You may have heard the term "probate" without having a complete grasp on exactly what it is. If you download this report and take the time to review the information contained within it you will no longer look upon probate as a mystery.  To obtain a copy of the report click this link and complete the form that you will see to the right of the page:
Nevada Probate Report
Once you gain an understanding of the probate process you will see why it is important to work with a good estate planning lawyer when you are establishing your estate plan.  If you have questions, please contact us at (775) 823-9455 to set up a free consultation.

It is no secret that the gaming industry is very prominent here in the state of Nevada. Many families have been able to build wealth working within this industry, and it is a very important part of our state's economy.
However, far too many residents of our state are gambling with the future of their families.
Every day that you go without an estate plan, or with an estate plan that is not current, is a day during which you are rolling the dice.
Statistics tell us that almost no one under the age of 50 has all the appropriate estate planning documents in place. Even though the number having an estate plan in place is increased for those over age 50, the majority are still procrastinating. In addition, countless people who do have some type of estate plan in place have inadequate plans due to improper advice, changes in circumstances or changes in the law.
If you die without a last will or any other estate planning documents having been executed, the court will be in charge of deciding how your assets are distributed. This probate process could take a very long time, because the court will have to interpret the laws of "intestacy." These rules of succession may not be in line with how you would have wanted your assets divided among your family members.
Your family could also lose a great deal of money to the estate tax if you were to pass away without having taken any steps to gain tax efficiency.
Don't take risks; take action. Pick up the phone right now to set up a consultation with a licensed and experienced Washoe County estate planning attorney.

When you own a dog or a cat (or any other type of pet) as a senior citizen you gain a lot of benefits. The companionship that a pet can provide can be priceless to a person who may be experiencing a bit of loneliness. Pets provide hours of free entertainment, and they can help to keep you active as you endeavor to give your pet adequate exercise.
At the same time, you do have to concern yourself with the possibility of passing away while your pet is still alive. Many people wonder exactly how they should proceed to make sure that their pet is provided for, so we have prepared a report that answers your questions.
Our report is available to you for download absolutely free of charge. If you want to obtain answers to the questions you may have about pet planning simply click this link and complete the form:
Nevada Pet Trusts
Creating a pet trust for the benefit of your animal companion will give you peace of mind knowing that your friend will be cared for even after you are gone. There will be money set aside for your animal's care, and you can leave behind instructions with regard to exactly how you want the pet cared for after your passing.
If there is anything left over in the trust after the pet dies these funds would be inherited by a beneficiary that you name when you create the trust.
We encourage you to download the free pet planning report, learn about pet trusts, and ultimately take action for the well-being of your best friend on four legs.

Knowledge is power in every walk of life, and this certainly applies to the field of estate planning. When you learn all of the facts you understand why certain courses of action are necessary to preserve your wealth and optimize your financial position with the future in mind.
The above paragraph can seem like mere words on a computer screen. But in fact, individuals who do not understand all of the details often times make errors of commission or omission that are extremely costly.
Our firm is serious about spreading sound information throughout the greater Washoe County area.  To this end we have developed a series of informative reports covering a number of different aspects of estate planning.
One of our reports looks at the entire process of estate planning from an overview. If you would like to download this valuable report take a moment to fill in the form that you will see off to the right after clicking this link:
Northern Nevada Estate Planning Report
This report will give you a solid foundation of information to work with going forward. It touches upon wills, trusts, advance directives, asset protection, estate tax efficiency strategies, small business succession and much more.
After reading the report you may be motivated to take action for the well-being of those that you love. If you would like to schedule a free, no obligation consultation get in touch through the contact page on our website or over the phone. We can be reached at (775) 823-WILL.

At Anderson, Dorn & Rader, we feel a responsibility to do everything possible to make accurate estate planning information available to members of the greater Reno-Sparks community.
Many people don't take action because they don't understand why action is necessary, or where to start. When you become apprised of the facts you are likely going to be motivated to take the appropriate steps for the well-being of those that you love.
There are many ways that we endeavor to make information available including the ongoing informative posts that we consistently offer here on our firm's blog.
We have also developed quite a library of informative estate planning reports that can be downloaded and read at your convenience. Currently we are offering access to our report on living trusts.
Should you be interested in downloading our free report (that is informational in nature rather than being promotional) simply click this link: Nevada Living Trust Report
A living trust can be a very attractive alternative to a last will as a primary vehicle of asset transfer. This is largely because of the fact that these transfers can take place directly between the trustee and the beneficiaries absent the need for probate court supervision.
This free report will provide you with all the details regarding the benefits of living trusts. There is no substitute for sound information coming from a truly reliable source, and we urge you to take advantage of this valuable educational opportunity.
We are available to provide you with information about our free educational Webinars that include a free consultation if you have further questions after you read the report. To register or get more information, simply give us a call at (775) 823-9455 or get in touch through the contact page on our website.

A lot of people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning, and in fact the majority of Americans have not executed all the appropriate estate planning documents.
This pattern of procrastination is not confined to single individuals who have no children. Many parents who have minor children do not have an estate plan in place either, and this is absolutely unwise.
To lend a hand and provide information we have created the K.I.S.S. the Kids program.This acronym stands for "Keep the Inheritance Safe and Secure for the Kids."
We want people to understand just how important it is to make sure that their minor children are provided for financially, while avoiding foster care or protective custody. Also, parents need to understand that children cannot consent to medical procedures. If you happen to be away when a child needs medical attention, who is legally authorized to give consent?
As young people, we tend to procrastinate with regard to estate planning is because we feel we will have plenty of time to execute an estate plan "later on." Unfortunately, later on arrives too soon for many families and their planning is not in place.
The stark reality is that people of all ages pass away every day, and when you go through life without an estate plan you are taking a major risk. Sadly, you will not be the person who pays the price if the unthinkable was to take place. It is the children that you will be leaving behind that would suffer the consequences.
We invite you to visit our webpage that is dedicated to the K.I.S.S. the Kids program. To get there simply click this link: Anderson, Dorn & Rader Present “K.I.S.S. the Kids

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