Who Gets My Assets If I DieThe statistics that are compiled to get a feel for the estate planning preparedness of American adults are not encouraging. Sometimes a particular publication will start to track the progress of a certain phenomenon over a number of years, and Caring.com has focused on this subject.

They have published a survey for 2020 that is eye-opening, and not in a good way. In 2017 when they started doing their research, they found that 42 percent of American adults had estate plans in place. This year, the number is just 32 percent, and lack of preparedness is not confined to young people.

Just over 27 percent of respondents that were between the ages of 35 and 54 had wills or trust, and the parents of dependent children are typically in this age group. If you want to take chances when no one is depending on you, that’s one thing, but parents are in a different category.

You would certainly think that most people that are 55 years of age and older have addressed this responsibility, but this is simply not the case. Only 47.9 percent of individuals in this age group have wills or trusts.

Intestate Succession

If you are going through life without an estate plan like most people and you never take action before it’s too late, you would die intestate. Under the circumstances, the probate court would step in to supervise the estate administration process.

They would appoint a personal representative to act as the administrator. This is a role that is similar to that of the executor that would be named in a last will.

Final debts would be paid during probate, and the court would ultimately order the distribution of the assets under the intestate succession rules of the state of Nevada.

If there are children but no spouse, siblings, or parents for living, the children would inherit the entire intestate estate. The surviving spouse would inherit the estate if there are no living parents or children.

Parents would be the sole inheritors if there is no surviving spouse and there are no siblings or children. The siblings are the inheritors if there are no children, no parents, and no surviving spouse.

When there is a spouse and one child, the spouse would assume ownership of all community property and half of the separate property, and the child would get the other half the separate property.

In a situation where there is a spouse in more than one child, a spouse would get the entirety of the community property and one-third of the separate property. The children would divide the rest equally.

If a spouse and parents survive a decedent, the spouse would inherit all of the community property and half of the separate property, and the parents would inherit the remainder.

Asset Transfers Not Subject to Intestacy Laws

Who Will Get My Things If I Die Without A WillThe asset transfers that are subject to the intestate laws are transfers that would have been subject probate if there was a will. Some types of asset transfers are in a different category.

Life insurance proceeds and inherited individual retirement accounts would go to the beneficiaries that were selected by the decedent. The same thing is true with payable on death accounts and property that is held in joint tenancy.

Avoid Intestacy!

There is no reason to take any chances with your legacy. We know that people assume that they will always have time to take care of it later on, but for far too many fate intercedes.

When you take the right steps to preserve your legacy for the benefit of your family, you can go forward with peace of mind.

If you’re ready to get started, you can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 775-823-9455.

estateThey say that the only two certainties of life are death and taxes, and everyone is well aware of the April 15th date that approaches all too rapidly. With few exceptions, most people are diligent about making preparations for tax day. Yet, for some unknown reason, the majority of the same folks totally ignore the other inevitability that we will all face at some point in time.

A while back, a website that is focused on legal matters did some research to get a feel for the estate planning preparedness of Americans. The results were quite surprising, but not in a good way. Overall, 57% of the adults in our country are going through life without any estate planning documents at all.

When you look at this figure, you would naturally assume that people that are younger are going to bolster the statistic, and they do to some extent. A rather eye-popping 92% of individuals under the age of 35 are rolling the dice without a will or a trust or any type of postmortem asset transfer plan.

You can say that people in this age group are rarely going to pass away, and generally speaking, this is true. However, accidents happen every day, and younger individuals are stricken by catastrophic illnesses. It is rather arrogant to assume that you will never be “one of the statistics.”

When you are talking about people in their mid-20s to mid-30s, a significant percentage of them are parents of dependent children. Anyone that is responsible for the well-being of minors should certainly cover all their bases with regard to any eventuality that can come down the pike.

The statistics continue to tell a sad tale when you look at the older age groups. Only 44% of baby boomers, which are people between 45 and 64, have estate plans in place. A mind-boggling 22% of senior citizens over the age of 65 have done nothing to prepare for the inevitable.


If you pass away without any estate planning documents, the condition of intestacy would exist. Interested parties would inform the probate court, and the court would supervise the intestate estate process. A personal representative would be named to serve as the administrator; this role is similar to that of an executor.

There are numerous different circumstances that can come into play that would impact the situation, and the exact details vary on a case-by-case basis. Depending on your true wishes, your family dynamic, and the nature of your assets, the outcome can be disastrous.

When final debts have been paid and the court has made all its determinations, the remaining assets would be distributed in accordance with the intestate succession laws of the state of Nevada.

In fairness, it is possible that this would wind up being consistent with what you would have done, but it is very unlikely. And even if it is, there would be a lot of totally unnecessary expenditures and time consumption during the probate process.

Take Action Today!

One of the questions that was asked in the survey that we have been looking at is somewhat humorous, but it is instructive at the same time. Right around one third of people said they would rather have a root canal, give up sex for a month, or do their taxes than engage in the estate planning process.

We can say with absolute certainty that the real experience is nothing to dread, and we go the extra mile to make our clients feel comfortable on every level. The reality is, estate planning is one of the core responsibilities of adulthood, and there is no point in running away from it.

Personalized attention is the key to a well-constructed estate plan, because there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This is exactly what you get when you make a connection with our firm. If you are ready to do just that, you can call us at 775-823-9455 to set up a consultation.

You can alternately send us a message through our contact page and we will get back in touch with you promptly.

estate planning tipsAs estate planning attorneys, we sometimes hear from a client that wants us to provide damage control. The individual does not know where to turn, because their last surviving parent passed away without any estate planning documents in place. There are things that we can do in many cases to mitigate the damage, but this is a tough situation that could have been avoided.

They say that the only two certainties of life are death and taxes. With this in mind, everyone is prepared to file their tax returns on or before the 15th of April. For some unknown reason, many of the same people do not even consider the matter of estate planning. They are avoiding something that is absolutely inevitable, and their family members pay the price in the end.

Studies have been conducted periodically to gauge the estate planning preparedness of adults in the United States. LexisNexis probed into the situation, and they found that 55 percent of Americans do not have wills or any other estate planning documents in place. The figure is lower among older Americans, but still, many people in their 50s and 60s have been totally remiss.

If you pass away without an estate plan, the condition of intestacy will exist. The court will step in to name a personal representative to act as the estate administrator. Subsequently, the final debts will be paid out of the estate’s resources, and the remainder will be distributed in accordance with the intestate succession laws of the state of Nevada.

It is likely that you would not approve of the way your assets are distributed if you die intestate. For example, if you pass away with a surviving spouse and a parent still living, your spouse would not inherit everything. Your surviving spouse would inherit all community property, but just half of your separate property. Everything else would go to your parent.

Action Is Required

As you can see, you must put a proper estate plan in place so that your true wishes will be carried out after you are gone. A last will is a possibility, but when you understand the facts, you will see that a revocable living trust is preferable in many ways.

If you use a last will as your vehicle of asset transfer, it would be admitted to probate. The court would be involved, and your loved ones that are named in the will would have to wait out a long, drawn out process. It typically takes about eight months to a year for a simple case to pass through probate, and no inheritances are distributed during this interim.

You probably do not want to see a lot of money go out the window that could have gone into the pockets of your loved one. If you feel this way, you may want to look for an alternative to a last will. Numerous expenses pile up during the probate process, including a court filing fee, the executor’s remuneration, attorney fees, appraisal charges, liquidation expenses including commissions, and incidentals.

These drawbacks are completely avoided if you utilize a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. You can act as the trustee and beneficiary while you are living, and you name successors to assume these roles after you pass away. In the trust declaration, you leave behind instructions to the trustee with regard to the way that you want the assets to be transferred after you are gone.

You have the ability to instruct the trustee to distribute assets incrementally; you are not required to allow for lump sum distributions. This is another advantage that a living trust provides over a last will. To prolong the viability of the trust, you could allow for a certain amount be distributed every month so the principle can continue to earn income and replenishes the trust.

When the time comes, the trustee would follow your instructions and handle all of the estate administration tasks. The process of probate would not be a factor.

Let’s Get Acquainted!

If you do not have an estate plan in place, or if your existing estate plan has not been updated in a long time, you should definitely come into our office for a consultation. We will get to know you, gain an understanding of your situation, and make the appropriate recommendations. You can send us a message to request an appointment, and if you like to speak with us over the phone, our number is 775-823-9455.

When you die without a will you are said to have died intestate. Under these circumstances the probate court must sort things out utilizing the laws of the state of Nevada.
If you are married and you have no children your spouse would inherit your property, and conversely if you had children but you weren't married your descendents would be your heirs according to intestacy rules. If you die with a spouse and children, the rules vary depending upon the number of children you have.  If you weren't married and didn't have any children your next closest relative would be in line for an inheritance.
The above is understandable, but what would happen if someone who did not have any family died intestate? A very interesting case is playing itself out in New York at the present time, and it answers the question.
In 2012 a multimillionaire former real estate developer named Roman Blum passed away at the age of 97. During his lifetime he had amassed a fortune that is valued at right around $40 million.
Though he had been advised to take action not long before he passed away Blum died without a will or a trust directing his preferences regarding the transfer of his financial assets.
Nobody has come forward claiming to be a relative, and the state has not been able to find anyone. Efforts to locate Blum's next of kin will continue, but there is a three-year rule in New York. Under their escheat rules the state will assume ownership of the assets left behind by Blum if no rightful heir can be identified within three years of his passing.

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