slayer rule, probate, NRS, Nevada

The Slayer Rule in the News

A couple of weeks ago, we all lost one of the great musicians of American history 1)and a personal hero of mine.  Although his greatness and legacy cannot be tarnished, there has been an unfortunate development with reference to the distribution of his estate.  2)This is not a discussion of the specifics of that case, but a general discussion of the law.  Beneficiaries of his estate have stated publicly that other potential beneficiaries murdered the deceased whose estate is now in question.  Although I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances, this may be an opportune time to discuss, hypothetically, what happens if a beneficiary of an estate murders the grantor (the original owner of the estate assets).


The slayer rule

The law regarding the hypothetical above goes back a long way.  In 1886, the U.S. Supreme Court first established what is called the “Slayer Rule.” 3)Mutual Life v. Armstrong 117 U.S. 591, 600.  In 19th century language, the court stated that is against the interests of public policy for a murderer to profit from his crime.  The law caught on in popularity; as of now, forty-eight states have some version of a slayer rule.

In Nevada, Chapter 41B of the Nevada Revised Statutes codifies the principles of the ‘Slayer Rule’4)See Holliday v. McMullen, 104 Nev. 294, 296, 756 P.2d 1179, 1179 (1988) for a common law example of Nevada’s slayer rule; it states in pertinent part:


  NRS 41B.200  General rule; killer cannot profit or benefit from wrong; anti-lapse statute and right of representation; contingent, residuary and other beneficiaries; common law.

      1.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this chapter apply to any appointment, nomination, power, right, property, interest or benefit that accrues or devolves to a killer of a decedent based upon the death of the decedent. If any such appointment, nomination, power, right, property, interest or benefit is not expressly covered by the provisions of this chapter, it must be treated in accordance with the principle that a killer cannot profit or benefit from his or her wrong.


Simple enough, the law states that the “killer cannot profit or benefit” from the crime.  But does the murderer need to be convicted of the crime before above statute applies? Not necessarily.


The plot thickens with respect to the slayer rule

Am I claiming then that if a beneficiary is accused of murder then he or she will lose interest in the estate? No.  The answer is a bit more nuanced.  Later in Chapter 41B, there is clarification on this point:

  NRS 41B.260  Civil action: Parties; burden of proof; evidence; stay of proceedings; limitation on time for commencement.

      1.  For the purposes of this chapter, an interested person may bring a civil action alleging that a person was a culpable actor in the felonious and intentional killing of a decedent. An interested person may bring such a civil action whether or not any person who is alleged to be a killer in the civil action or any other person is or has been, in a separate criminal action, charged with or convicted or acquitted of being:

      (a) A culpable actor in the felonious and intentional killing of the decedent; or

      (b) A culpable actor in any other offense arising out of the facts surrounding the killing of the decedent.

      2.  If an interested person brings a civil action pursuant to this section, the court shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether a person who is alleged to be a killer of the decedent was a culpable actor in the felonious and intentional killing of the decedent. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a person who is alleged to be a killer of the decedent was a culpable actor in the felonious and intentional killing of the decedent:

      (a) The finding of the court conclusively establishes for the purposes of this chapter that the person feloniously and intentionally killed the decedent; and

      (b) The person shall be deemed to be a killer of the decedent.

      3.  If, in a separate criminal action, a person is charged with being a culpable actor in the felonious and intentional killing of a decedent or with any other offense arising out of the facts surrounding the killing of the decedent and:

      (a) The person is acquitted of the charge;

      (b) The charge is dismissed; or

      (c) A verdict or judgment is not reached or entered on the charge for any reason, evidence concerning any such matter is not admissible in a civil action brought pursuant to this section.

      4.  Upon its own motion or the motion of an interested person, the court may, in whole or in part, stay the proceedings in a civil action brought pursuant to this section during the pendency of any separate criminal action that has been brought against a person who is alleged to be a killer in the civil action. The provisions of this subsection do not limit the power of the court to stay the proceedings in the civil action for any other reason.


Subsection 1 states that a beneficiary may lose interest in the estate if he or she has been “charged with or convicted or acquitted” of murder of the estate’s grantor.  Subsection 1(b) expands the possibilities further to include a “culpable actor…arising out of the facts surrounding the killing.” As you can see, charged with and acquitted, are standards far less strenuous than a conviction.

Subsection 2 establishes that a court shall use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard 5)meaning the event occurred more likely than not in determining if Chapter 41B shall be applied to exclude the murdering beneficiary from the will.  If you are attempting to think of an example of when a murderer could be acquitted, but still found culpable by a preponderance of the evidence, think of a certain Heisman Trophy winner currently in a Nevada prison.

Subsection 4 allows the court to pause the proceedings if the judge cannot make a preponderance determination at present time to allow the criminal proceedings to continue, in hopes that more evidence may come to light.

These probate challenges are as sensitive as they are complicated.  With a large enough estate, a 41B slayer rule challenge could contest a serious amount of money.


1 and a personal hero of mine
2 This is not a discussion of the specifics of that case, but a general discussion of the law
3 Mutual Life v. Armstrong 117 U.S. 591, 600
4 See Holliday v. McMullen, 104 Nev. 294, 296, 756 P.2d 1179, 1179 (1988) for a common law example of Nevada’s slayer rule
5 meaning the event occurred more likely than not
no contest, will provision, estate planning

What a "No Contest" Provision of a Will Really Means

Occasionally, I receive phone calls from individuals who are dealing with problems with the executor of the loved one’s estate. Sometimes the executor is refusing to divide the deceased’s personal possessions fairly; sometimes the executor is refusing to communicate with the individual or to share information about the deceased’s estate; and sometimes, in a worst case scenario, the executor is blatantly refusing to follow the deceased’s last will and testament. Often, the individual informs me that she hadn’t yet called an attorney because the executor had told her that if she did so she would be “contesting the will” and the executor would make sure she receives nothing from the estate. “Is that true?” she asks. “Can he really cut me out of the will?”


What is a No Contest Provision?

First, it is important to know that Nevada law does allow a testator (a person who creates a will) to include a “no contest” provision in the person’s will. Specifically, the law states that the testator may make a gift in a will “conditional … upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of one or more specified events.” NRS 133.065(1). In other words, the testator can require that if the beneficiary ever claims that the will is invalid for some reason (i.e., “contests” the will) then that beneficiary would lose any gift given to the beneficiary in the will. In fact, Nevada law specifically states that “a no-contest clause in a will must be enforced by the court.” NRS 137.005(1).

Unfortunately, uninformed and sometimes malicious executors too often use the “no contest” provision in the will improperly as a way to scare beneficiaries into not raising valid questions regarding the executor’s handling of the estate. Such scare tactics may be employed by uninformed executors who feel that they are “just doing what dad told me to do before he died,” even though it wasn’t written into the will. In worst case scenarios, these scare tactics are used to cover the executor’s tracks of wrongdoing and sometimes actual theft of estate assets.


How to Raise Concerns

Fortunately, Nevada law protects beneficiaries who have legitimate concerns about what is happening with their loved one’s estate and allows the beneficiaries to raise legitimate concerns without being considered to be “contesting the will”.

First, a beneficiary will not be considered to be contesting the will if the beneficiary “seeks only to enforce the terms of the will.” NRS 137.005(3)(a). For instance, if the will states that a beneficiary is supposed to receive dad’s car, but the executor insists that dad told him to give the car to the beneficiary’s sister, the beneficiary can bring an action in court to ask the court to enforce the gift of the car to the beneficiary.

Second, a beneficiary will not be considered to be contesting the will if the beneficiary “seeks only to enforce the [beneficiary’s] legal rights in the probate proceeding.” NRS 137.005(3)(b). A common problem in probate proceedings is an executor that refuses to provide a required inventory or accounting of the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries. If a beneficiary files an action in court asking the court to require the executor to report and account for the assets of the estate, the beneficiary is not contesting the will by asking for the accounting that the beneficiary is legally entitled to receive.

Third, a beneficiary will not be considered to be contesting the will if the beneficiary “seeks only to obtain a court ruling with respect to the construction or legal effect of the will.” NRS 137.005(3)(c). Sometimes there are provisions in a will that simply are not clear because the will was poorly written. A beneficiary is entitled to ask the court to interpret the will and determine what the will means without being at risk of having contested the will.

Fourth, and most importantly, Nevada law protects beneficiaries even if the beneficiary actually does file a court action asking the court to invalidate a will if the action is filed in “good faith” and with “probable cause that would have led a reasonable person, properly informed and advised, to conclude that the will is invalid.” NRS 137.005(4).

The Nevada Supreme Court protected a beneficiary from a no-contest clause even though the beneficiary asked the court to invalidate a will because the beneficiary had a good faith belief and probable cause to believe that the testator was legally incompetent at the time that the will was signed. The Supreme Court refused to enforce the will’s no contest clause even though the beneficiary lost his challenge of the validity of the will when the court determined that the testator actually did have proper mental capacity to sign the will. Hannam v. Brown, 956 P.2d 794, 114 Nev. 350 (1998).


Do not be Intimidated

If you are a beneficiary of a will and the executor (or anyone else) has told you that you are contesting the will and you are going to lose your inheritance if you continue, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced probate attorney. The worst thing you can do is to give in to these improper scare tactics by not consulting an attorney. More often than not, you will be protected in seeking to enforce your rights under the will and under Nevada law while it is the executor that faces serious problems with the court for employing these scare tactics to hide improper and sometimes illegal actions by the executor.

Pet trust, estate planning, dog trust

Is a Pet Trust Right for You?


According to news reports, hundreds of thousands of pets each year are left homeless after their owner dies without specifying how the pet should be cared for.  Certainly, this omission is not a product of pet owners not loving their little, fury family members. Often, it is because pet owners overlooked the matter during estate planning.  Do not let this happen to you! More than forty-five states permit pet trusts (including Nevada), making this a great option for you and your family.


Elements of a Pet Trust

A pet trust requires these four elements:

The trustee: The person responsible for the trust.  It is best to select a trustee that will be vigilant in ensuring that the money is being spent responsibly.

The caretaker: The person assigned by the trust to care for your animal(s).  The trustee and the caretaker can be the same person; however, it is advisable for each position to be separate person (for increased accountability, see below).  It is best to designate a second caregiver just in case the first person is unable to care for your pet.  To be even more thorough, you may want to designate an organization, like the SPCA, to care for your pet in case the caretakers selected are unable to carry out their functions.

The pet(s): You will want to be specific in stating if the trust applies to one or all of your animals.  If you want more than one animal included, it is best to describe each and not use broad phrases like “all my pets.”

The remainder beneficiary: The person that will inherit the remaining amount of money once the pet has passed away.  A pet trust may not be extended to cover the living expenses of the offspring of your pet, so this is an important element.


How Much Money Needs to Be Allocated?

To determine how much money needs to left in the trust, you will need two estimates:

  1. The approximate life-span of your pet.
  2. The amount of money it costs each year to care for your pet.

An animal healthcare provider can assist you in estimating these amounts, although it is fairly probable that you know better than anyone exactly what your pet’s dietary needs are.  Once you have an estimate of each of these amounts, just multiply to determine the total.   It is best to be conservative in your estimates as you do not want your pet’s living expenses to be underfunded.


A Pet Trust Creates a Binding Obligation

If you were to leave instructions with a family member or friend stating how to care for your pet, there would be no legal recourse to ensure that your pet receives the care you desire.  However, with a pet trust, you are creating a legal obligation for the caretaker to follow the terms dictated by the trust.  If the caretaker does not abide by these terms, he or she may be taken to court, where a judge might enforce the terms of the trust, or transfer responsibility of your pet to the other caretaker listed in the trust.


Should You Create a Living Trust?

Yes! And here are five good reasons why:


  1. Control

With a revocable living trust, you will retain control over your assets while alive and after you are deceased.  Other estate-planning documents, such as wills, only come into effect once you are deceased.  With a living trust, you control your assets now and in the future.  If, unfortunately, something were to happen to you that left you in a state where you could no longer control your own affairs (sickness for example), the living trust would direct a trustee (of your choosing) to speak and act on your behalf.  Without the living trust, there may be complicated court proceedings to determine who will be in control of your livelihood and affairs.  Worse, a court may appoint a person you do not want to control your health, assets, and affairs.


  1. Saving Money

Less of your hard-earned money will go toward paying court and attorney fees.  The state charges a fee for having to settle estates through the probate courts (there are additional fees as well).  You can avoid paying these higher fees by planning ahead and working with a trusted attorney to establish a living trust for a fraction of the cost.


  1. No Delays

Distribution of the estate assets to your beneficiaries (those heirs you have left the assets to) will occur upon your death without delay.  If you decide to use a will, (or worse, allow the state probate system to settle your estate), to distribute your assets, it could take as long as two years for the beneficiaries to receive their assets.  Again, by using a living trust, you can avoid the wait-time that usually occurs while the courts settle your affairs.  If you have a will, for example, that is disputed, there is no telling how long the court proceedings may take to settle the estate; those whom you care about most will have to wait in limbo without access to any of the assets until the courts have worked through the matter.


  1. Investment Flexibility

The trustee (the person you designate to take care of your affairs) will have the maximum flexibility to take the necessary action with your assets.  If there are potential investment opportunities that will increase the value of your portfolio, the trustee will have the necessary authority to buy or sell assets to get the most out of your money.  Other estate documents do not provide the same flexibility and you may lose potential money-making opportunities just because your estate document will not permit the trustee to make a timely investment.


  1. Easily Make Changes

A living trust provides you with the maximum flexibility to make desired changes to your estate plan.  If you decide you want to add or remove assets, or determine that you no longer desire your assets to be held in the trust, this can easily be done.  To amend or revoke a will, (or other estate instruments), is a more complicated process.  There is no telling what challenges life may throw your way next, the living trust will be your best tool to meet those challenges and secure what matters most.


What Does an Executor Do?

One of the things that you will need to learn about when it comes to estate planning would be the role of the executor. When you write out a will, you will need to appoint someone to this position, so it is something you will need to consider very carefully. You will want to name the right person for the duty, and that means understanding what that job is in the first place.

The basic definition of an executor is someone who is responsible for probating the estate should something happen to you. There are essentially three duties that the executor you choose will be responsible for.

Identifying Assets

When the executor has taken the oath to be responsible for your estate, they will have access to your property and assets as well as any records covering these things. The executor will need to sort out this information and identify all assets, providing an inventory to the courts. Additionally, the executor will need to move all accounts out of your name and into the name of the estate.

Pay Expenses

In addition to identifying those assets, the executor will need to take over paying debts as well as taxes. If there was anything owed when something happened to you, then the executor will be responsible for ensuring that your estate pays these things. The debts will not become the personal responsibility of the executor, but will be a part of the estate instead.

Distribution of Assets

Finally, whatever assets are left after debts have been paid will need to be distributed according to your will. The executor has the responsibility of ensuring all the parameters of your will have been met and that assets go where they should based on what you wanted.

Choosing an Executor

Keep in mind that you want to choose someone you feel you could trust to work as an executor. The person you choose will have to devote some time and work to doing the job properly. Some of the other things you will want to consider when choosing an executor will include:

  • Picking someone you can trust, first and foremost
  • Considering someone good with finances
  • Thinking of someone who will be fair

You want someone you can depend on to handle things the way you would have wanted.

When you write your will, it would be a good idea to ensure the executor is compensated for their time as well. You could choose to write them out of the will, but since you are putting your whole estate in their hands, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to do that.

It’s important that you understand the role of an executor. That way, you will find it much easier to make the right decisions for your own estate. So, when you speak with an attorney about your own estate planning, make sure you have taken the time to consider what an executor does and then, you will be able to choose the right person for the job.


Why You Need a Will

There are actually numerous different parts of estate planning, but arguably, the one basic thing you absolutely should do if you do nothing else would be putting together a last will and testament. This is considered very basic, and it is vitally important no matter your age. If you are unsure of why it is so important, here are a few reasons why everyone needs a will.

You Decide on Things

If you don’t have a will, then you will have absolutely no control over things that happen involving your estate and your belongings. Someone else will make the decisions, and things may not go the way that you would have wanted. By writing out your will, you are in control and you can be as specific as possible. That means you can decide on every little thing and ensure that all of your belongings in the estate go where you want them to.

Your Minor Children Will Be Cared For

If you have children, it becomes even more important that you have a will because this document will discuss what happens with those children. Without a will, the court will determine what happens with your children and that could include a family member or even foster care. Your will should include very specific details on where your children should go and who should take care of them if something happens to you.

This Will Avoid Lengthy Probate for Your Family

When there is no will present, your estate will go through the probate process and that can take a very long time. In fact, it could take years, and that could put a serious financial burden on your family. When you have a will that has been properly drawn up, you can avoid this very long process. Everything will be expedited and this will ensure your whole estate gets completed much quicker, which will save your surviving family members a big headache.

You Can Choose to Disinherit People

Finally, there may be cases when you wish to disinherit people. There could be different reasons for this, but what you must remember is that you won’t be able to do this if you don’t have a will. Without the document, you will have no control over who gets a part of your estate, and that could include people you didn’t want receiving anything. By choosing to put together a will, you will be able to pick and choose specifically who will receive part of your estate and who will not.

Having a will is the most basic element of estate planning. You should consider it vital even if you don’t do anything else. So, even if you don’t necessarily want to deal with the idea that something could happen to you, it is something that you must face. Ensure that you have the proper estate planning attorney to help you draw up this document as well. That way, you will know that everything is properly in place. Then, even if something bad were to happen, you will know that your family and estate is properly looked after.


Understanding Your Role as an Executor

Discovering that someone close to you has named you as the executor of their estate can be overwhelming, and downright frightening to some. If you know that, though flattered, you absolutely do not want the responsibility, you can always make the decision to decline to accept the role. The following information will give you a better understanding of being an executor, as well as what you will need to do.

Serving as Executor

Each state has its own laws regarding executorship, especially if you will have to go through the probate process in the court system. Most states disallow anyone with a felony conviction to take on the role, and there may be specific laws governing out of state executors as well. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements, you should consult an attorney or your local county office.

Your Role as Executor

It’s important to understand that most small estates do not require an executor, and you won’t need to handle funds, property, or assets that transfer to a beneficiary, or beneficiaries, according to the will. If you are named for a large estate, the following may be required of you:

• Attorney – While you don’t need a lawyer, if you are dealing with a significant estate, high estate taxes, or if you are concerned that there may be inheritors that will have disputes, you may want to hire one to help you with the process. You also have the option to hire the attorney to handle all of it for you if you would like to do so.
• The Will – You will need to file the will, and ask for confirmation that you are the representative of the estate from the probate court in the correct area.
• Notification – You will need to let beneficiaries know when the proceedings will occur, and inform creditors and government agencies of the death.
• Manage Assets – This means you will have to secure all assets pertaining to the estate, and determine whether anything will need to be sold.
• Banking – You will have to open an account for all monies that are received by the estate, such as dividends, pay, and other income.
• Handle Expenses – You will have to make sure that any mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, insurance premiums, and other expenses are paid as required.
• Handle Debts – You will have to make sure that creditors are aware of when the proceedings for probate are scheduled to allow them to make their claims.

Your final job in your executor role will be to handle the disbursement of assets to the appropriate beneficiaries and claimants. When that is complete, you will then ask the courts to close the estate.

Being an executor can be somewhat demanding, and if it becomes too much you can resign by notifying the courts, and giving them a record of what you have accomplished so far. Keep in mind that you can always hand the reins over to a lawyer if you don’t feel comfortable resigning. With a proper understanding of the requirements or the help of a qualified Estate Planning Attorney, you should be able to discharge your duties as the executor.

Probate in Nevada

Is There an Easy Way to Avoid Probate in Nevada?


As anyone with any experience in estate planning will tell you, probate proceedings are a thing to be avoided at all costs.

Of course, they cannot always be avoided. Sometimes family members of a deceased individual find themselves in probate court, dealing with the associated costs and maddening bureaucracy.

These individuals will probably wish to find ways to get out of probate as quickly as possible. In the state of Nevada, unfortunately, there are not as many options for doing this as these individuals might wish.

If the estate that’s ended up in probate is sizeable, then you’re stuck in probate. However, the state of Nevada allows for certain legal shortcuts for those estates that are not especially large.

There are two categories of estates that can be considered in this manner, those that are $20,000 or less and those that are less than $200,000. We will handle them each separately.


Probate in Nevada for Estates Worth Less Than $20,000

For these estates, a simple affidavit will suffice for settling the estate and getting it out of the probate courts.

To do this, a person that believes they have a right to inherit property or assets from the d submits a document that is signed under oath to make such a claim.

In other words, they submit an affidavit to the probate court. It is important to note, though, that these affidavits cannot be submitted to claim real estate.

Also, not just anyone can submit such a claim.

These affidavits can only be filed by immediate family members, as well as siblings, grandchildren or parents. Finally, any assets or property that are inherited in this manner are subject to a 40-day waiting period.


Probate in Nevada for Estates Worth More Than $20,000

For estates that have more value than the above and include real estate, the executor can file a motion for a simplified probate proceeding. If the court approves, then a simplified, more expeditious probate proceeding will take place.

Also in some cases, the courts will permit that executor to divvy up the estate without the need for a probate proceeding. For estates that are valued at $100,000 or less, the probate courts may simply divide the estate’s assets between the deceased’s children and spouse.

If you find yourself dealing with an estate of this nature, it may be wise to consult an estate planning lawyer who can determine if a simplified probate proceeding is the best course of action.


We Can Make Probate in Nevada Easy for You

The best way to avoid probate all together is to have an ironclad plan for your estate. To do this, you will want to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney, experienced with probate in Nevada, like the ones in our office.

At Clear Counsel Law Group, we will be able to help you establish a last will and testament, create trusts, and pursue other options that will allow you to keep your estate out of the probate courts after your demise.

Ultimately, doing this will be to your beneficiaries’ benefit.

Not only will they not have to deal with litigation in a probate court, but they will also stand a better chance of receiving their inheritance without the government taking substantially more than its fair share through estate taxes.



Ways You Can Avoid Probate in the State of Nevada

If a person’s assets have not been adequately tended to when they die, those assets will most likely be divvied up in probate court. While this may seem standard, it’s actually a thing to be avoided. Probate proceedings tend to be fractious, not to mention costly and unending. Within the state of Nevada, there are a variety of things individuals can do to ensure that their assets are divided after their deaths without the need for probate proceedings. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common steps people take to accomplish this.

Establishing Joint Ownership

For property that is shared between two individuals, it is advisable to establish joint ownership in the state of Nevada. The reason for this is simple. In the event of one of the two parties demise, the jointly owned property will pass on to the other through right of survivorship. This necessarily obviates the need for property to change hands in probate court.
With respect to marriage, there is an important feature of this to note. Nevada is a community property state, and this means that any property that a couple amasses over their time together is considered by the state to be jointly held. Of course, spouses can choose to keep certain properties separately. Doing this, however, will require that effort be taken on both of their parts.

Creating a Living Trust

A trust is a legal entity that holds property on behalf of the person establishing the trust, known as the grantor. This property can include everything from financial assets to automobiles.
When you’re using a trust to pass along property and assets after your death, there are a few things that you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to designate someone to be the successor trustee, who is the person that will get control over the trust after your demise. Secondly, you’ll want the trust to be explicit as to how the assets contained within will be divvied up after your death.

Transfer- and Payable-on-Death Stipulations

Nevada allows certain assets and properties to be designated as payable--or transferable--on-death. For example, an individual can elect to add payable-on-death stipulations to their bank accounts. When that individual passes away, the person to whom the account has been designated as payable-on-death can come to claim the funds without having to receive them through probate.
Financial assets are not the only thing that can be passed along this way. Real estate, automobiles and securities can also be designated to be transferrable-on-death. For real estate, you can file a transfer-on-death deed with the state, and for automobiles you can file a transfer-on-death registration. For securities, you will need to consult your brokerage and fill out the necessary forms with them.

Other Ways to Avoid Probate in Nevada

There are, of course, a variety of other means by which a person can arrange their estate so that it does not end up in probate after his or her demise. In order to discover these ways and how they can be applied to your particular situation, you should consult with a highly qualified Nevada estate planning attorney, like the ones at Clear Counsel Law Group. They will be able to go over the full range of options that are available to you.


Don’t Wait to Plan Your Estate

Although we all know estate planning is important, most of us would prefer to put it off. However, it’s one of those things you simply need to get done or the repercussions could be severe for those most important to you. Let’s discuss some of the reasons you should get started today.

It’s Not Just for When You’re Deceased

No one wants to think about their own demise, which is one of the main reasons they put off planning their estate. It’s important to remember, though, that estate planning is not just about when you pass away.

What happens if you were to become incapacitated? A tragic event could leave you disabled too. With a drafted estate plan, you can rest assured that someone is available—someone you trust—to look after your affairs. Furthermore, they’ll have clear-cut instructions to follow for doing so.

Avoid Unnecessary Taxes

That being said, obviously, estate planning is central to planning for your passing. One of the major disadvantages every family faces when their loved one passes without an estate planned is taxes. Income and capital gains taxes can strip your savings, leaving far less left for your loved ones.

With a well-drafted plan, estate taxes can be greatly minimized or even avoided altogether.

Ensure Your Wishes Are Honored

Without an estate plan, you’ll be lucky if all of your wishes are properly honored when you’ve left this life. Once you’re gone, divorces in your family, lawsuits and creditors can all challenge who owns what you’ve left behind. Your spouse could also remarry someone with children, who would then have some entitlement to your money.

Once again, with a solid estate plan, you’ll have your wishes spelled. Challenging them will be difficult.

In fact, with a “no-contest” provision, your plan will be virtually bulletproof. Such a clause will most likely discourage anyone from challenging it.

Help Inexperienced Loved Ones

Just because your loved ones get your money as you planned does not mean they will use it as you would have liked. Some of your family members may not have experience with the amount you’re leaving them.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be around to guide them in using the money responsibly. Your estate can actually include instructions that the beneficiary has to follow. For example, you could leave some of it as a college fund or insist that it goes into an account that can’t be touched for a certain number of years.

You can even take things a step further and stipulate that certain funds can only be accessed by family members after they’ve completed certain milestones in their life. This will also protect your money from depletion if your heirs do make poor decisions.

With Clear Counsel Law Group, you don’t have to put your planning off to another day. Our firm was created by the joining of two others, giving us unrivaled experience in the area of estate planning. Call us today at 702-522-0696 and we’ll work with you to ensure your wishes are known and followed.

Clear Counsel Law group

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