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​Estate Planning in Nevada and California

There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Many Nevada and California residents are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning, their estate will be distributed after death according to state laws of intestacy. Of course, this usually will not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the state's law with your own.

An estate plan can accomplish, among other things, the following:

  • Specify who will receive your property on your death (if you don’t specify this, state laws will do it)
  • Name an executor for your estate (the person who oversees the administration of a probate estate)
  • If you establish a trust, name the trustee for your trust (the person who manages the trust assets)
  • Establish trusts for minor children (minors cannot manage property themselves) or for your spouse
  • Preserve your share of your assets for your children or other beneficiaries (for example, if your spouse survives you and remarries after your death, your estate plan can prevent your share of the estate from passing to your spouse’s new spouse)
  • Help minimize death and other transfer taxes
  • Provide some creditor protection for your children following your death (through use of spendthrift trusts)
  • Provide for the management of your assets if you become incapacitated and cannot manage them yourself
  • Designate who will receive your life insurance proceeds, retirement plan benefits, IRAs, or annuities on your death (those types of assets usually will not pass under your will)
  • Provide a vehicle for making lifetime gifts to your children through use of trusts or custodianship gifts