Have you thought about what would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated and no longer able to work, run your finances, or care for your children? Who would step in to fill your shoes? Have you left adequate instructions to ensure that your family can continue with their way of life? These questions are as complex as they are essential.
The Las Vegas estate planning attorneys at Mills & Anderson Law Group provide individuals and families from all economic backgrounds with sound advice on how to prepare for their financial future.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of setting time aside today to plan for what tomorrow may bring. For many, estate planning focuses on what will happen to your assets after you die; however, estate planning encompasses a much broader range of issues. From ensuring your loved ones have the resources they need once you’re gone, to arranging for the care of minor children, to designating individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so—Las Vegas estate planning lawyers can help.
What Should My Estate Plan Include?
Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and everyone’s estate plan should be unique to their particular situation. However, there are a few basic instruments incorporated into most estate plans.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament, or a “will” for short, is a document in which you outline how you want your property distributed upon your death. Additionally, you can name guardians for any minor children or adult children living with disabilities in a will. You can also name a personal representative in your will to oversee the administration of your estate.
A trust is a legal relationship consisting of three or more parties. In a basic trust, the grantor or settlor establishes the trust and names a trustee to oversee the administration of the assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Trustees have a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries, meaning they must act in the beneficiaries’ best interest. Trusts come in many different types, ranging from flexible revocable trusts to irrevocable trusts that can be used to reduce estate taxes and protect assets from the threat of litigation.
Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document in which you give another person the right to make important decisions on your behalf. Powers of attorney fall into two categories: financial and healthcare. A financial power of attorney grants another the authority to make financial decisions if you are unable to do so. An example of this is opening a bank account in your name. A healthcare power of attorney allows another to make medical decisions if you cannot communicate your desires. Powers of attorney are often set up so that they do not go into effect until the person assigning the rights becomes incapacitated.
Of course, these are just a few of the most common estate planning tools in Nevada; there are many others. However, most estate plans contain at least basic elements. An experienced Las Vegas estate planning attorney at Mills & Anderson Law Group can help address your specific concerns and develop a custom-tailored estate plan to meet your family’s unique needs.
Common Concerns Las Vegas Estate Planning Attorneys Can Address
There is a common misconception that estate planning is something that you don’t need to worry about until you approach retirement. However, that’s not the case at all. There are many situations—foreseeable and unforeseeable—that are made much easier if you have an estate plan in place.
Let’s look at some of the concerns an estate planning attorney can address.
Estate Tax Planning
Nevada does not have an estate tax or an inheritance tax. This means that the State of Nevada does not assess any tax on your estate nor on the assets your beneficiaries inherit. However, the federal estate tax still applies to all Nevada estates valued at more than the current estate tax exemption.
The estate tax exemption changes; as of 2022, it is set at $12.06 million for an individual and $24.12 million for a married couple. However, there are estate tax planning strategies that can reduce the taxable value of an estate.
Many people desire to leave something to their favorite charitable organizations. The state and federal governments want to encourage charitable gifts and allow donors to get certain benefits. This means that your decision to leave money to charity can provide you with a variety of benefits during your lifetime and provide benefits to your heirs after your death.
Asset Protection Planning
Certain professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs face the constant threat of litigation. Additionally, individuals with significant family holdings may fear what would happen in the event of a divorce or bankruptcy. By developing an asset protection plan, you may be able to place valuable assets beyond the reach of creditors in the event of a lawsuit, divorce, or bankruptcy.
Special Needs Planning
Those with special needs often rely heavily on government benefits. However, if someone on Social Security or Medicaid inherits a large sum of money, it can affect their benefit eligibility. At the same time, families want to ensure that their loved ones have the financial support they need well into the future.
Thus, for families with a member who has special needs, it is essential to devise a plan that provides resources for their loved one to use without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid. One option is to create a third-party special needs trust which allows the named trustee to disburse funds to pay for expenses not covered by Social Security or Medicaid.
Business Succession Planning
Owning a business is more than a job for most business owners; it’s a lifestyle. Thus, it is essential to determine who will take over the business when the owner either retires or can no longer run the business. However, this is a complex undertaking, as it often involves the valuation of the business, finding a potential buyer, and devising a buy/sell agreement. There are also matters of funding that must be considered.
The Las Vegas estate planning lawyers at Mills & Anderson have experience developing business succession plans that take all contingencies into account.
For high-net-worth individuals and families, the importance of estate planning is even more pronounced. Just as you work with a wealth management company to protect and grow your assets while you are alive, a Las Vegas estate planning attorney can help you continue your family’s goals after you are gone.
It’s best to do your estate planning before the need for a particular document or estate planning instrument comes up. Often, by the time you realize you need to open a trust or apply for Medicaid benefits, the best options are no longer available. Thus, it is best to reach out to an estate planning lawyer well before the need arises. However, even if your situation is not ideal, there are still options, and the skilled Las Vegas estate planning lawyers at Mills & Anderson can help you identify them.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Nevada?
If you die without a will in Nevada, your loved ones will still inherit your assets. However, in this situation, a court uses the Nevada intestate laws to determine where your estate assets end up. Nevada intestate laws are rigid rules that leave no discretion to judges or family members. Instead, they simply outline which family members are entitled to your estate based on their relation to you. While intestate laws ensure that your assets don’t end up with the state, they are generally considered a less-than-ideal backup plan.
Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Help with Long-Term Care Planning?
Yes, estate planning attorneys are a great resource for those looking to plan for the eventual need for long-term care. While most everyone will eventually become eligible for Medicare benefits, Medicare doesn’t cover most long-term care costs. Thus, families are left with two options: pay out-of-pocket or apply for Medicaid benefits. The problem arises when families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but do not have sufficient assets to pay for years of long-term care. An experienced estate planning lawyer can review your options and devise an effective plan to pay for long-term care.
Contact Mills & Anderson to Schedule a Consultation Today
If you do not yet have an estate plan in place, or it’s been years since you last updated your plan, reach out to Mills & Anderson for immediate assistance. At Mills & Anderson Law Group, we have many years of experience helping families through the estate planning process. We can ensure that your needs are met at every step of the way. We are prepared to answer your questions, familiarize you with the process, and immediately get started on creating a custom-tailored estate plan for you and your family. To learn more and schedule a consultation, you can reach us through our online contact form.