November 30, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Over the course of your lifetime, you've likely accumulated a broad array of possessions. When your time comes, your property will be distributed to your heirs.
But will it go where you want it to? "Probate" is the court supervised administration of a person's "estate" (everything you own at the time of your death). If you die in the state of Nevada without a will
, you are said to have died "intestate." If you do have a will, a probate court will do its best to respect your wishes, albeit with a degree of discretion and interpretive power.
With or without a will, a death in the family can bring about significant strife over property. While family members sometimes argue over division of monetary wealth and other liquid assets, just as often, disputes arise over family heirlooms and particular pieces of property that have sentimental value. The best way to prevent this type of conflict is to put in place a well-balanced and thorough estate plan.
A trust can keep your loved ones out of court
An estate plan is not just important for wealthy individuals who intend to pass on millions in intergenerational wealth. Even relatively modest estates are often the subject of intense courtroom battles.
So what exactly can you do to keep conflict out of the equation when your heirs split up your estate? When you hear the term "estate planning," the first type of document that likely comes to mind is a will. A will describes your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. A will is only enforceable through the probate process, in which a judge will use it as a guide in dividing the estate. All heirs named in the will can participate in probate, and may present arguments to promote their view of how the estate should be divided.
Specificity in your will is one way to help prevent family conflict. But, the nature of the probate process itself can be adversarial; it is beneficial to minimize reliance on probate, or even eliminate the need for it altogether. In some circumstances, other legal instruments are more powerful than a will in heading off conflict.
A revocable trust
is essentially a contract you make that establishes an entity to which you transfer your assets. You can maintain control over the assets in your trust while you are living; when you die, the trust does not die with you. Rather, a trustee of your choosing (often some disinterested third party like a financial institution) administers the property in the trust under the guidelines you have established.
Perhaps the most important advantage of a trust is that property in a trust does not have to go through probate. This means your heirs will have a better chance of avoiding courtroom conflict.
Will, trust or both? Ask a Nevada estate planning attorney
Even if you do not have millions in the bank, a comprehensive estate plan is important to ensure that your loved ones do not bicker needlessly after you are gone. An estate planning attorney can tell you more about what legal tools are best for your unique situation. Talk to an attorney today to learn more.
Article provided by Barlow Flake LLP
Visit us at www.barlowflakelaw.com