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

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

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.

 

Keepsakes

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
 
 

A couple of years ago a legislative measure was passed that has subsequently been named the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. This legislation re-unified gift/estate tax exclusions.
In 2011 the amount of the unified gift and estate tax exclusion was $5 million. This year the exclusion has risen to $5.12 million to account for inflation.
Throughout both 2011 and 2012 the maximum rate of the gift tax, the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax has been 35%.
As a result of the above, people who have resources that do not exceed $5.12 million have been more or less immune from taxes on such transfers to their loved ones.
However, things are changing in the very near future.
This tax relief act is going to expire at the end of 2012. If this expiration takes place without any new legislation being enacted the exclusion will go down to $1 million while the top rate rises to 55%.
Those who have resources in excess of $1 million may want to consider giving gifts during the 2012 calendar year. There is, of course, a very limited window of opportunity left because the end of the year is rapidly approaching.
The act of funding certain types of trusts such as dynasty trusts could be taxable under gift tax regulations. Aside from giving direct gifts, however, there are methods that could allow you to take advantage of this larger exclusion to fund an irrevocable trust for the benefit of loved ones. These methods may allow for discounting, so an even greater amount may qualify for the exclusion.
Giving shares in a family limited partnership  or family limited liability company may also be a possibility.
These methods are relatively sophisticated, so if you are serious about wealth preservation you would do well to discuss this temporary opportunity with a qualified Reno estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.

Back in July the actor Sherman Hemsley died at his home in El Paso, Texas at the age of 74. We reported on this a while back and there is now some updated news to share.
A court date wasset for Halloween day in El Paso. The probate court judge has required the individual challenging the estate, Richard Thornton of Philadelphia, to provide the results of a DNA test.
Thorton says that he is Sherman Hemsley's brother by blood. Hemsley left behind a last will leaving everything to Florida Enchinton, who was referred to as his "beloved partner" in the will. Reports indicate that she was also his manager.
Hemsley's body is still being held in an El Paso funeral home and no services can be held until the matter has been resolved by the court. These facts seems to disturb Enchinton more than anything. It should be noted that observers suggest that the value of Hemsley's estate is quite modest.
The probate process does indeed open the door for those who want to challenge the stated wishes of a deceased individual, and as you can see from this case it can be quite time-consuming.
There are however things that can be done to avoid probate and arrange for future asset transfers in a private, confidential, and direct manner.
If you would like to gain an understanding of probate avoidance strategies as you plan your own estate, don't hesitate to pick up the phone to set up an appointment to speak with a qualified Reno NV estate planning lawyer.

As local northern Nevada estate planning attorneys we take our commitment to the community seriously. Making sure that your wealth is preserved for future generations is extraordinarily important, and many people don't know much about legacy planning.
This venue on the Internet is one way to push out good information, but we also understand the importance of the human element. With this in mind we regularly offer Webinars that are quite informative, and entertaining. You can attend for free if you register in advance while there is still room.
The Webinars that we have coming up in October and November are listed below:
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Hampton Inn & Suites
Carson City, Nevada
2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Hyatt Place
Reno, Nevada
2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Holiday Inn
Sparks, Nevada
10:00 a.m to 12:00 Noon
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Hyatt Place
Reno, Nevada
2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Hampton Inn & Suites
Carson City, Nevada
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Hyatt Place
Reno, Nevada
2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Holiday Inn
Sparks, Nevada
10:00 a.m to 12:00 Noon
We will be covering a wide range of topics including wills and trusts, incapacity planning, advance health care directives, wealth preservation, legacy planning, and more.
If you are interested in registering to attend one of our Webinars simply give us a call at (775) 823-WILL (9455) or visit this page on our website: Reno/Sparks/Carson City Estate Planning Webinars.
Will be having some more Webinars in December if you cannot attend any of these dates.

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500 Damonte Ranch Parkway Suite 860,
Reno, NV 89521
Phone :  
(775) 823-9455
OFFICE HOURS:
Mon. - Fri. 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
1692 County Road Suite A,
Minden, NV 89423
Phone :  
(775) 823-9455
OFFICE HOURS:
By Appointment Only, Call For Details
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