Las Vegas Estate Planning Attorneys
Tailored Legal Services in Boulder City, Green Valley, Henderson, and the Surrounding Areas
It is very normal to not want to think about death. The reality is it happens to everyone, and although it may be difficult to face, there is great peace of mind that comes from knowing you are prepared, no matter what happens. Making important decisions now can prevent your loved ones from having to make difficult choices when they should be focused on grieving.
At Crosby & Fox, we want to help you secure the peace of mind you deserve by helping you proactively prepare for the future. Our Las Vegas estate planning lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience and can assist you with implementing the tools appropriate to your situation. Whether you are new to estate planning or need to update existing documents, our multilingual team can provide comprehensive and compassionate guidance.
Your last will and testament is a legal document that describes what you want to do with your assets once you are gone. If you have minor children, you can also indicate who you wish to care for them should you pass away unexpectedly. If you pass away without a will, your estate will be subject to Nevada’s intestacy laws, and your property will in most cases be divided amongst your immediate surviving relatives. Drafting and validating a will ensures that relevant parties and the probate court know what your final wishes are.
A will may be appropriate when there is a small to moderate amount of assets to distribute. Larger estates that wish to avoid some of the consequences of probate may wish to instead implement a trust. We can help you prepare your will and take steps to ensure your instructions are carried out.
A trust is a legal document that holds the interest of all assets placed “in” the trust. A trustee oversees these assets as the trust directs. While you are alive, you can act as the trustee of a “living trust” and can in most cases do whatever you want or need to do with the trust assets. When you pass away, your specified “successor trustee” will be legally responsible for carrying out the trust’s instructions. If you have minor children, for example, the trust might direct the successor trustee to use trust assets to care for them until they reach a certain age.
When implemented correctly, a trust can help you minimize the role of the probate process. Final wishes included in the trust’s instructions can typically be carried out more efficiently and without court involvement. Our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys can evaluate your goals and advise whether a trust is right for you. We can help you create the trust, draft enforceable instructions, and transfer assets as needed.
Probate is the court process through which an estate is settled after someone passes away. Estate settlement involves paying all remaining debts and distributing assets. If a will exists, the court will confirm the legitimacy of the document and appoint an administrator to handle the deceased’s property and affairs. Typically, the preferred administrator named in your will is chosen to do this job. When no valid will can be found, the court will distribute assets pursuant to state law.
The probate process can be expensive, contentious, and time-consuming. Implementing a will or trust can make probate more efficient or in some cases help you avoid it altogether. If you have a family member who has recently passed – with or without a will or trust – our team at Crosby & Fox can assist with all elements of probate and estate administration.
Other Planning Documents
Depending on your situation, there may be additional documents you should consider incorporating into your estate plan. You may wish to draft advance health care directives to specify what types of treatment you want to receive (or not receive) if you are incapacitated and unable to make your wishes known. You may also want to appoint powers of attorney who can make financial and/or medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. We will work to understand your unique needs and advise which estate planning tools may be right for you.
Updating Your Estate Plan
You must periodically review and make changes to your estate plan as your circumstances evolve. Generally, it is a good idea to update your estate plan after a major life event, such as a new child, a marriage, or a divorce. You should still review your estate plan every ten years or so even if you are confident not much has changed.
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