Wills in Nevada
February 3, 2017
A Last Will and Testament is perhaps the most recognized legal document in society. It is often the document people think of most when they begin thinking about creating an estate plan. Despite its popularity, a Will is often not a sufficient estate plan even for people with modest estates. Unfortunately, some people tend to think that all they need is a Will, when in reality they need more documents in place. Even worse, some people try to execute their Wills on their own through websites or standard forms, and without the assistance of an experienced attorney who practices in estate planning. We have seen too many times the dangerous consequences that occur when people fail to create a complete estate plan, or when people try and do it themselves.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which designates who will receive your assets when you pass away, how your assets will be distributed, and who will be responsible to carry out the terms of the Will. A properly drafted Will also includes a nomination of guardians for the person executing the Will, and for any minor children that person may have, among other things. Generally speaking, a Will becomes operative when the person who executed the Will passes away. In Nevada, there are various statutory requirements that must be met in order for the Will to be effective. If any of the requirements are not met, then it is likely the Will is going to be invalid in whole or in part when a person passes away.
Different types of wills
This is the type of will most people are familiar with. The Will should name the heirs, set forth how the heirs will receive the assets, name the person to carry out the terms of the Will, and include a nomination of guardianship, among other things. This type of will must go through a court process called probate in order for the assets of the deceased person to transfer to the heirs as named in the Will. Depending on the nature and value of the assets, probate can be very time consuming and expensive.
A Pour-Over Will is a type of Standard Will, but has different dispositive provisions. Rather than individually name the heirs who will inherit assets, this type of Will directs all assets to be paid to a trust that the person creates simultaneously with the Will. The advantage of doing this is that as long as the trust is used properly, there will be no probate needed to transfer the assets to the heirs. Usually a properly drafted Pour-Over Will and trust can be administered more efficiently and cost less than compared to a Standard Will.
A Living Will is a misnomer, as Living Wills operate differently than the Wills discussed above. Instead, a Living Will addresses a person’s desires as to the removal or continuance of life support in the event that person cannot make informed healthcare decisions. In Nevada, another name for a Living Will is a Declaration.
Should I Create a Will?
The answer to this question is yes. You should at least have a properly drafted Will in place. However, often times more than a Will is needed in order to have a complete estate plan. At Morris Estate Planning Attorneys we sit down with you and gather information about what you wish to accomplish, and we then educate you on the options that are available, and what estate planning tools will best achieve your goals. If you are wondering whether or not you need an attorney to draft your Will, the best practice is to have an experienced attorney do it. Without fail, every time we have seen a Will that was drafted without the assistance of an attorney, the Will is either invalid in whole or in part, or it does not truly reflect the wishes of the person who created it.