A Last Will and Testament and a trust are fundamental parts of a thoughtfully prepared estate plan. Through these documents, you will specify how your property will be transferred. Work with a knowledgeable and experienced wills and trusts attorney at the Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC to prepare your Last Will and Testament or trust as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Your Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to simply as a Will, is one of the foundational documents of any estate plan. A Will identifies broad categories of assets and explains how those assets will be transferred at the time of your death.
In your Will, you will name the executor of your estate. This is the person who will be responsible for handling your affairs after your death, and submitting your estate to probate.
You can also name a Guardian for any children you have who are under the age of 18.
Many people mistakenly believe that only wealthy people or people with complicated estates need a Will. But there are many reasons why everyone should have a Will.
If you die without a Will, you died intestate. Intestate is a fancy way of saying you died without a Will. When this happens, the laws of intestacy take over and specify how your property will be distributed at the time of your death. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, and any other property you own at the time of your death.
If you die in Nevada without a Will, your estate will be divided among your heirs according to the laws of intestate succession. Generally, this means that your property will pass to your spouse, if you have one. If you died without a spouse or your spouse died before you, your property will be divided evenly among your children, if you have any. If you were unmarried and had no children, your assets will pass to your parents. If you have no surviving parents at the time of your death, your assets will be divided evenly among your siblings.
Having a Will allows you to specify how your estate will be divided. A Will also makes it easier for your family to access your assets, and saves you money on estate taxes.
A Trust is similar to a Last Will and Testament in that it specifies how your property will be distributed. But a Trust offers more flexibility and can be used to address more complex estate planning situations.
A trust establishes a fiduciary relationship between the trust-maker (also known as the grantor, settlor, or trustor), and the trustee. The trustee holds the assets placed in the trust, and manages them for the benefit of a third party, known as the beneficiary. Oftentimes, the grantor, trustee, and beneficiary are the same person. Upon the grantor’s death or incapacity, a successor trustee manages the trust for the benefit of another beneficiary.
A trust protects the grantor’s assets, ensuring that they are handled and distributed according to the instructions of the grantor. A trust can also save time and money when transferring property, and provides the grantor with a more private way to transfer assets.
Unlike a Will, which must be approved by a probate court and is public record, assets transferred by trust remain private.
A trust can also be used to transfer assets before the grantor has died, while a Will only applies once the person who wrote the Will has died.
There are different types of trusts that are used to address different estate planning situations. However, most trusts fall into basic categories.
A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, benefits the grantor during his or her lifetime. Assets are transferred to the trust, and the grantor and trustee, and beneficiary are often the same person. When the grantor dies, the assets are transferred to the designated beneficiaries.
A testamentary trust is created through a person’s Last Will and Testament. Assets are only transferred to the trust when the grantor dies.
A revocable trust can be changed by the grantor during his or her lifetime.
An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it is established.
A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A testamentary trust can only be irrevocable.
Trusts can be used to address a wide variety of estate planning needs. Common types of trusts include:
Wills and trusts are both used to transfer assets. However, a Will only allows for the transfer of assets upon death. A trust can be used to manage and transfer assets while the grantor is still alive.
A trust transfers assets out of the grantor’s name, and can be used as an effective estate planning tool to minimize estate taxes.
Finally, assets placed in a trust are not transferred through probate. This allows the asset transfer to remain private, and the transfer will occur more quickly than assets passed through probate.
Everyone can benefit from comprehensive estate planning. Whether you are retired and planning how to pass your estate to the people and organizations you care about, or are a young couple who needs a plan to protect and care for young children, estate planning offers peace of mind in knowing that you have made your wishes known regarding how your assets will be transferred. You also gain peace of mind knowing that you are helping your family avoid a time-consuming and expensive intestacy process, and creating your legacy for future generations.
From her offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada, wills and trusts attorney Natalia Vander Laan helps her clients achieve peace of mind through comprehensive estate planning.
Learn 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 free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.
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