What is Estate Planning?
Why is estate planning important?
What is probate?
Who should have a Properly Drafted Estate Plan?
When should you start planning?
Revocable Living Trust
Living Wills, Power of Attorneys and HIPPA Authorizations
Articles of Interest

8 ways to leave a mess for your heirs

Learn from Heath Ledger's mistake


Call our office to schedule an appointment so we can assist you in your estate planning.
(702) 444-3713

What Is Estate Planning?

An individual’s estate consists of all property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever situated.

Estate Planning is the process of managing the individual’s estate while alive then disposing of the estate to maximize the goals of the estate owner. It allows an individual to have control over their estate while they are alive, to leave the assets in the estate to whomever they want, when they want, and how they want in a manner that achieves paying the least amount in estate taxes, attorney fees, and court costs.

Good estate planning is more than a simple will. Depending on the individuals needs it could involves setting up a revocable living trust, charitable trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, HIPPA authorizations, advanced medical directives, business entity formation and other creative estate planning arrangements.

The various goals of estate planning include making sure the greatest amount of the estate passes to the estate owner's intended beneficiaries, avoiding or minimizing probate court involvement, providing for and designating guardians for minor children, providing for and designating caregivers for pets, and planning for incapacity.

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

Without a proper estate plan in place you could end up on life support for many years while your in a vegetative state, your assets could go to an individual that you do not want to have your assets, or your minor children could end up with a guardian that if you were alive you would never let that person watch your children much less raise them.

If you do not have a trust or if it has been more than five years since you set up a trust and you want to save your family thousands of dollars, possibly more, mental pain and suffering, and time then contact an me immediately.

What is probate?

Probate is a very costly and time consuming process. When an individual passes away they can no longer sign for themselves. If the persons home needs to be sold a judge has to step into the shoes of the deceased individual and sign off on their home, as well as all their assets. Since all of the individual’s assets must go through this court process it takes a long period of time. The average probate lasts 2 year and is very expensive. Our office can help you through the confusing probate process.

Why have your estate pay an attorney tens of thousands of dollars after you pass away?

In addition, an attorney will need to be hired to assist the executor of the estate through this court process. The attorney is entitled to fees based on time spent on the case, a percentage of the entire estate, and for extraordinary services rendered. Your estate will pay an attorney significantly more money after you die to go through probate then you would if you paid an attorney to do a proper estate plan. In addition to avoiding probate, a proper estate plan will include a living will which allows you to choose whether you want to be kept on life support and/or a feeding tube.

Do you want the State to determine who will receive your assets?

If you do not choose who you want to leave your assets to, and maybe even more importantly who you don’t want your assets to go to, the State will do it for you. A large component of estate planning is choices. You can make your own choices or leave it up to the State to choose for you. The State Statutes determine who receives your assets and what percent they receive. By choosing not to do an estate plan you are in effect choosing to have the State make those chooses for you.

Are you required to leave your assets to family members or children?

No, you are not required to leave your money or assets to anyone; you can leave them to whomever you want. If you have children and want to leave your assets to them you can, if you don’t want your children to have your assets you can do that too. If you want to leave your assets for a friend that is OK too, or maybe you want to leave your assets to charity. The choice is yours if you plan properly!

When should you start planning?

The only time you can prepare and implement an estate plan is while you are alive and have legal capacity to enter into a contract. Otherwise the plan can be challenged by those who assert you lacked capacity at the time the documents were created and if successful the estate plan will not be enforced.

Since we do not know what tomorrow will bring it is best to start your estate planning immediately. Your estate plan can be revocable and amendable to change as your life changes. Therefore, you do not need to worry that you cannot change what you put in writing today. You need to be able to change your estate plan as your estate grows your needs and wants change or your family dynamics change. We strongly recommend that your estate planning documents be reviewed at least every 3 to 5 years to make sure they are current with your wishes and the law. (See Health Ledger story above.)

It is estimated that between 50 and 70% of individuals die without a will.

The greatest gifts we can receive it to learn from the mistakes of others. Don’t leave your legacy in the hands of others.

Who should have a Properly Drafted Estate Plan?

You should have an estate plan if any of the following apply to you

You have more than $20,000 in assets
You are a parent of a minor child or have an adult child living with a disability (physical, mental, or drug/alcohol abuse)
You have a pet
You want to choose who receives your property after your death
You want to decide what happens to you should you ever end up on life support or become disabled.

There are many types of documents that are included in a proper estate plan. Below is a list of the different documents and how they can assist you and your family in your time of need or in death.

Anyone can fill out an off-the-shelf or online last will and testament, but a will alone will not avoid probate. A will cannot include provisions for your disability or your pet. This must be done with a Revocable Living Trust.

Revocable Living Trust
As a Nevada and Washington estate planning law firm, we are knowledgeable in the federal and state tax laws regarding transfer of wealth. No two trusts are the same. We design a trust that addresses your family’s particular needs and your wishes.

If you have a child that is disabled, whether it is due to medical problems or drug/alcohol abuse, we can develop a Special Needs Trust that provides proper care for your child without loosing any state funded assistance.

If you have a child that is under the age of 18, we can design a trust for the child to provide for their health, education, support, and maintenance without giving the child access to your entire estate before he is financially savvy enough to handle your hard earned money.

Will I lose control of my assets if I set up a Trust?

No. Control is a very big issue for many individuals and it is understandable. You will have more control over your assets in a Trust than you would if you did not set up a Trust. Trusts are a great tool for families that may have children from a previous marriage and it is important to care for the second spouse while alive but protect your assets for your children from a previous marriage.

Do you have a plan in place in the event you become disabled?

Who will make your mortgage payment while you are in rehab?

Who will manage your day to day affairs?

Will your medical wishes be honored?

Most of us don’t plan on dying anytime soon but one thing we all forget about is what happens if we become disabled. You may only need temporary help paying your monthly bills while you are in rehab suffering from a stroke or car accident or you may need long term help should you ever become disabled and are no longer able to manage your daily activities. A proper estate plan will set a system in place should you ever become disabled and need assistance.

Medical Power of Attorney & HIPPA Authorizations
Our estate plans are comprehensive. We strive to make sure you have as much protection as possible and your concerns are addressed.

A Medical Power of Attorney, also known as a living will, allows you to determine what you do and do not want performed on your behalf (remain on life support or have a feeding tube). This allows you to make your own decision today, when you are capable of doing so, for a time when you are no longer unable to make those decisions.

A health care power of attorney designates an individual you choose to make healthcare decisions for you when you are incapacitated.

HIPPA authorizations allows individuals you name to receive information from doctors, hospitals, and nurses about your medical condition/diagnosis when you are not able to give permission yourself.

We also offer advanced estate planning which includes:

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)