The Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC represents injured workers and provides estate planning and probate services throughout the Carson Valley, and in Carson City, Gardnerville, Minden, Stateline, and Lyon County Nevada.

Here, attorney Natalia Vander Laan answers Frequently Asked Questions. But every legal situation is unique. For a thorough evaluation of your legal situation and answers to your specific questions, contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss how Ms. Vander Laan can help. 


Do I need a Will?

You are not required to complete a Will. However, by completing a Will, you have a plan for the distribution of your assets when you die. A Will can also contain provisions for who will care for your minor children after you die. You can also identify the executor of your estate: the person who will be responsible for managing your affairs after your passing.

What happens if I die without a Will?

A person who dies without a Will died intestate. Nevada has enacted laws that specify how your assets will be transferred in the event you die without a Will. However, by relying on the laws of intestacy, family members may receive estate assets in a manner different than what you would prefer. 

What should I do if a family member died?

Losing a family member can be difficult. First, take time to grieve. If your loved one had minor children or pets, make arrangements to make sure they are cared for. When you are ready to move forward, start by obtaining certified copies of the death certificate. Notify family members. If your loved one was receiving benefits like a pension, retirement benefits, or had a life insurance policy, notify the appropriate provider. Then contact a probate attorney to help you have the Will admitted to probate and to have the estate administered.

What does probate mean?

Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. Your estate must pass through probate regardless of whether or not you have a Last Will and Testament.

If you have a Will, a judge will review your Will to ensure that it is valid and properly executed. Then your executor will administer the estate according to the instructions in your Will. This includes who will have custody of and care for your children, paying any applicable estate taxes, and distributing your assets. A probate lawyer can help the executor administer your estate.

If you die without a Will, the probate court will appoint an estate administrator and follow Nevada laws of intestacy to distribute your assets.

What is a Living Will and Advance Directives?

A Living Will and Advance Directives allow you to make your wishes known regarding the end of your life, especially as it relates to extra-ordinary life-saving measures and medical care and treatment you do or do not wish to receive.

Is a power of attorney valid after the death of a family member?

No. A Property Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and other Advance Directives cease to be valid once a person dies. When a person dies, their Last Will and Testament and any applicable trusts govern, if they had one. If not, their estate will proceed under the laws of intestacy. 

How can an attorney help with probate?

An experienced Nevada probate attorney can answer your questions and assist you and your family with estate administration and the probate process. An attorney can assist with an inventory of the estate assets, notifying heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, administering a trust, paying applicable taxes, and distributing estate assets. 

Estate Planning

Why do I need an estate plan?

Estate planning allows you to control how your property is transferred to the people and organizations you care about most. Your estate plan provides instructions on how to transfer your property, including who will receive your property, what they will receive, and when they will receive it. An effective estate plan accomplishes these goals as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the least amount of money spent on taxes, legal fees, and court costs. 

What is an estate?

Your estate is all the property you own at the time of your death. Your estate may include real property, like houses and investment properties, as well as personal property such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment accounts, as well as jewelry, automobiles, and other items.

How can a lawyer help with my Will and estate plan?

A lawyer can help by drafting a Will and other estate planning documents, like a trust, a Property Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and other Advance Directives. A lawyer will also provide advice on how to title your assets to minimize your estate tax liability and ensure a smooth administration of your estate.

What documents are included in an estate plan?

A basic estate plan includes a Last Will and Testament or a Trust and associated documents, an Estate Planning Letter, a Property Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Living Will, an Affidavit Authorizing Burial or Cremation and Request to Nominate Guardian. These documents give you control over how you will spend your final days, describe how your property will be transferred upon your death, and ensure that your wishes will be carried out if you are unable to carry them out on your own.

Your estate planning attorney may recommend a Trust or a Will. A Trust is similar to a Will in that it specifies how your property will be transferred, but a Trust offers additional privacy and increased flexibility to accommodate more complex estate planning situations.       

Do I need a trust as part of my estate plan?

Not every estate plan needs a trust. However, a trust can be an extremely beneficial estate planning tool and is often recommended, especially when real estate is part of the estate, when there are multiple heirs, and when minors or special needs dependents are involved.

A trust is similar to a Last Will and Testament in that it specifies how your property will be distributed, but it offers more flexibility and can be used to address more complex estate planning situations. A trust can also be used to manage and transfer assets and minimize tax liability while a person is still alive.


The Vander Laan Law Firm: Protecting What Matters Most

With offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada attorney Natalia Vander Laan cares deeply about her clients and helps them achieve peace of mind.

Learn more about what sets the Vander Laan Law Firm apart from other attorneys in Carson Valley, get to know Natalia Vander Laan, and contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help.