Last Will and Testament
Generally speaking, a last will and testament is a legal document that defines what will happen to your possessions and assets after you die. Most commonly, the document defines who or what organizations will be entitled to your belongings and your assets, as well as how those assets should be distributed. Additionally, if you have dependents, the last will and testament will define who is to take custodianship over those dependents. Finally, a last will and testament will also name an executor, who is the person that will be responsible for seeing that all of the provisions of the will are seen through.
In the state of Nevada, any person who is 18 years old or older is permitted to have a last will and testament, provided that they are of “sound mind.” For the will to be legal, it must be typed out, signed by the person whose will it is, and also signed by two individuals that witness that person’s signing. In the event that the person drawing up the will cannot sign for his or herself, he or she can elect another person to sign in his or her place. However, that person cannot be considered one of the witnesses to the will’s signing.
Further it’s worth noting that the state of Nevada allows for wills to be “self-proving”, something that allows the will to be expeditiously executed after a person’s death. Simply, a “self-proving” will removes the need of the court to verify the authenticity of the will’s witnesses. In order to make a will “self-proving”, an affidavit testifying to the authenticity of the will must be signed in the presence of a notary public at the same time the will is signed by the individual who’s will it is and the witnesses. When, after a person’s death, the will is presented to a probate court, the affidavit should be presented along with the will.
Why Do You Need a Last Will and Testament?
Without a last will and testament, you are essentially leaving the distribution of your possessions and assets up to the courts. Generally speaking, your possessions and assets will be divided between the relatives that are closest to you, beginning with your immediate family and moving outward. In the event that you do not have any living relatives, the state itself will gain ownership over your assets.
Whatever determination the court makes with respect to distributing your assets, it is important to note that any beneficiaries you might have will be completely at the court’s mercy. The laws in Nevada do not provide any legal recourse for your beneficiaries to challenge the probate court’s decisions.
For the above reason, it’s important that you have a last will and testament. While any individual can draw up one on his or her own, it’s highly advisable that such a document be drafted under the supervision of an experienced Nevada estate planning attorney, such as the ones at Clear Counsel. This will ensure that this important document holds water in the state’s probate courts.
Related Practice Areas
- Revocable Living Trust
- Power of Attorney
- Special Needs Trusts
- Living Will and Healtcare Power of Attorney
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