Wills & Trusts

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Protecting Your Real Estate Investments with an Irrevocable Trust

What are the benefits of forming irrevocable trusts to protect my assets?

For high net worth individuals, especially those with significant real estate investments, irrevocable trusts have long served as a vital estate planning tool.  One significant benefit of an irrevocable trust is that it will allow your assets to escape the federal estate tax.  However, with the elimination of the federal estate tax looming, some may be wondering whether irrevocable trusts still have value.
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Protecting Your Child with a Special Needs Trust

How can a special needs trust financially assist my child with special needs?

Nearly one in five people or roughly 50 million people across the United States have some form of disability, with an estimated 24 million being severely limited.  Having a disabled child can be challenging, but also comes with immense rewards.  The parents of disabled children face unique issues in ensuring their children receive the care they need, including ongoing medical care.  One of the best ways that the parents or guardians of disabled children can guarantee their children receive the greatest care is by creating a Read more . . .

Monday, February 27, 2017

Why a Will Can’t Wait

Why is it so important for me to have a will?

None of us wants to contemplate death, which is likely the reason that fewer than half of all Americans have a will.  Estate planning can be a difficult topic to tackle and many people simply put it off, at times until it is too late.  Creating a will is critically important for the preservation of your property and your legacy.  

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Customizing Your Will for Your Particular Offspring

Is is ever appropriate to treat your children differently from one another in your estate plan?

Although we all know that it is important to be careful to treat your children fairly as you craft your estate plan, we should also be aware that fair (“equitable”) treatment is not necessary “equal” treatment. In fact, there are times when treating two children equally is patently unfair. For example, to give equal allowances to a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old would be unfair, since one has more expenses, more mature understanding, and more responsibilities. In the same way, leaving all of your children equal portions of your estate may be unfair to one who has special needs or one who is in a particularly difficult situation. In making decisions regarding equitable distribution of your estate to your children, it is essential that you discuss your plan with

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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Pitfalls of Invalid Wills

What are the reasons a will might be invalid?

Once you've taken the leap into estate planning by preparing a will, it is crucial to ensure the document is valid. Let's take a look at some common reasons why a will might be invalid.

Improper Execution

First, a will may be deemed invalid if it is not properly executed.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Ins and Outs of Funding a Trust

What does "funding a trust" entail?

The most basic estate planning tool is a will, which allows an individual to establish how his or her property will be distributed, and to name beneficiaries who will receive the estate assets. Because a will must be probated - a time consuming and costly process, another alternative is to create a revocable living trust.

What are the benefits of a revocable living trust?

The main benefit of a trust is that it takes ownership of your property while enabling you to act as the trustee and manage the trust assets during your lifetime. A trust also allows you to designate another individual to manage the trust assets in the event you become incapacitated. Lastly, a well though-out trust will also name a successor trustee to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries when you die, and bypass the probate process.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Perils of Will Contests

How can I avoid a will contest?

The most basic tool in estate planning is a Last Will and Testament or a will. This document allows you to establish how your assets will be distributed after death and name beneficiaries to receive those assets. Most importantly, a will is the only means for selecting guardians to care for minor children.

There are circumstances, however, when disputes arise among surviving family members that lead to a will contest. These disputes are often the result of changes to the distribution plan, a challenge to the person who has been named executor, or questions about the mental capacity of the testator.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review and Update Your Estate Plan after Certain Life Events

What updates should I make to my estate plan when my child leaves for college?

When your child lived at home, a proper estate plan would have designated guardians to care for your child should you be unable to. Now that your child is older, updating your estate plan to account for the next stage of life is in order. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help you decide whether you need to create a trust to protect your child’s inheritance from third parties, and whether to consider certain specialized types of estate planning..

First, we should discuss the importance of trust planning. Trusts may be the answer to many of the concerns you  have at this point in your child’s life. Will your child’s creditors be able to access their inheritance? Will your child be mature enough to manage an inheritance? Is an outright financial gift to your child advisable, or are there other more appropriate means of disbursing your assets? Will your child be financially supported until he or she becomes self-supporting? A trust attempts to solve these problems. An estate plan which includes a trust can benefit your child because the trust can be customized to suit your needs. Leaving your inheritance to a trust which then safeguards your child’s inheritance from creditors and your child’s youth is something you cannot easily do with a will alone.

The second important consideration at this time is how to plan for your child's estate. You may consider the unfortunate possibility that your child could become incapacitated and unable to make decisions, whether those decisions be health-related or otherwise. An important step you can take to plan for this possibility is to have your child execute a power of attorney. A power of attorney can be used to allow your child to dictate who should make what kinds of healthcare decisions on his or her behalf in case of an incapacitating illness or injury.  A power of attorney can also be used to dictate who will make financial decisions in such situations.

If you are considering altering your own estate plan or starting one for your child as they leave the nest, call the experienced attorneys at the Las Vegas, Nevada Stone Law Offices at 877-800-3424

Friday, August 14, 2015

What Happens When Someone Dies With Major Outstanding Debts?

My parents recently took out another mortgage on their home. What happens if this debt remains after they pass away? 

Contrary to popular belief, most debts do not die with the debtor. Creditors have a window of time to make a claim against the debtor’s estate, which must be honored by the executor and paid in full before beneficiaries can receive their inheritance. As an executor, it is vital to understand the breadth of estate administration laws as they pertain to payment of debts; otherwise, significant personal liability could ensue. As a testator, there are several options to consider when planning for the payment of debts upon your death. A competent estate administration and planning attorney can help guide you in the best direction given your unique circumstances and the particulars of your financial portfolio. 
Handling debts at death

Under Nevada Revised Statutes Section 147.040, a creditor has just 90 days to file a claim against an estate for payment of debts. This 90-day period begins either on the date the executor publishes public notice of death in a local newspaper, or upon the date the death notice is mailed directly to the creditor. 

If the creditor’s claim is for more than $250.00, it must be accompanied by an affidavit stating the amount due, and confirming that all payments already made have been credited to the account, and that there are no offsets available to help reduce the outstanding loan balance. If, as is the case in the example above, the debt is related to a mortgage or lien, the creditor must attach a certified copy of the mortgage or lien to the affidavit. 

If the executor or personal representative does not believe the debt is valid, he or she may reject the claim. The creditor has 30 days to file an action in court; otherwise, the debt is considered permanently waived. 

If you are named executor or personal representative of a Nevada estate, please do not hesitate to contact the estate planning attorneys at the Stone Law Offices today for assistance: (877) 800-3424. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

What to Expect When Probating a Multi-Jurisdictional Estate

I was named executor for my uncle, who has property not only in Nevada, but in several other states as well. How does this work? 

Serving as the personal representative or executor/executrix of a Nevada estate can quickly become an unexpectedly complex task. Oftentimes, these duties are bestowed upon families members or close friends who want nothing more than to do a thorough and timely job on behalf of their departed loved one. However, for a decedent with property scattered across the United States – or the globe – engaging in the ancillary probate process will likely require the involvement of an experienced Nevada probate attorney. 

Ancillary probate

If the deceased passed away leaving the majority of his or her property in the state of Nevada, the probate process should be commenced within that jurisdiction. To get started, the executor must appear at the County Clerk’s office within 30 days of the death of the testator (the person who made the will). If no will can be found, an adult Nevada resident (e.g., friend or family member) may appear and petition to serve as the personal representative. From there, the executor/representative will begin the process of inventorying the decedent’s real and personal property. 

All personal property (i.e., anything that is not land) is subject to probate proceedings in the state where the decedent died. Therefore, even if the decedent owned a piece of artwork or watercraft in another state, title transfer of those assets can be accomplished by a Nevada probate judge. 

Real property, on the other hand, will require proceedings known as “ancillary probate.” Every state maintains its own ancillary probate process, and will in most cases work remotely with the executor to accomplish a deed transfer pursuant to that state’s laws. During the course of the ancillary proceedings, the Nevada probate judge will also oversee the process to ensure the other jurisdiction is working in a timely manner. 

One way to avoid the hassle of ancillary probate proceedings for surviving loved ones is to place out-of-state property in trust, which will allow the property to pass seamlessly to the intended beneficiary upon the death of the grantor. For help with this, contact an experienced Nevada estate planning attorney today!

If you were recently named as an executor and would like to discuss your duties and obligations in this role, please contact the Las Vegas estate planning attorneys at the Stone Law Offices today: (877)800-3424. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Firestorm Erupts Following Death of Jazz Legend B.B. King

Are will contests common? What kinds of allegations are usually made by beneficiaries when objecting to a will? 

Sadly, will contests are an all-too-common component of the will probate process, particularly in high-profile families or surrounding high-net-worth estates. In today’s post, we explore the burgeoning issues surrounding the death of jazz icon B.B. King, who passed away in Las Vegas on May 15, 2015, was ultimately laid to rest in Mississippi following a festive memorial parade down Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Nonetheless, the party was abruptly drawn to a close as surviving family members quickly initiated objections to the structure of his Last Will and Testament – particularly highlighting Mr. King’s choice to name his long-time business manager as executor and manager of the entire estate. 

Basics of Objections by King Family 

Much of Mr. King’s estate is arranged in trust, and as such will not be revealed publicly. However, nearly all trusts are accompanied by a pour-over will, which governs the disposition of property inadvertently left out of the estate or acquired after death. This document, which becomes part of the public record through the probate process, names Mr. King’s business manager as the executor of his entire state – to the exclusion of his 11 surviving children and 35 grandchildren. 

At the heart of the objectors’ claims are the startling allegations of mistreatment and the allegedly intentional poisoning of Mr. King prior to his death. Further, high-profile attorneys for four of the King children have asserted that the business manager prevented family from visiting the ailing legend in his final days, as well as siphoned nearly $1 million from his bank accounts using a power of attorney. 

Following several hearings in Clark County court, Judge Gloria Sturman refused to allow the will contests to continue – stating that there was not enough evidence at the time to remove Mr. King’s chosen executor from the position. In a statement by the court, “[h]e worked his entire life to provide for his family….The thing he left for you is his amazing body of work. Somebody has got to make sure that his legacy is protected."

If you would like to create or update your estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact estate planning attorney Craig Stone at the Las Vegas Stone Law Offices today: 877-800-3424. 

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S. Craig Stone II of Stone Law Offices, Ltd. serves clients throughout Clark County, Southern NV, Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Carson City, Reno, Washoe County, and Nye County. Also serving clients with asset protection nationwide.

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