Terms like “estate planning” and “trusts” may sound like issues only the extremely wealthy need to consider. In reality, however, this line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. For Nevada residents hoping to pass along assets to family and loved ones after death, revocable trusts may provide just the approach they are looking for.
If, upon death, an individual has not left any form of written instructions, the government will distribute that person’s estate in accordance with the law, regardless of what the individual’s wishes may have been. A will is a simple way to leave such a set of instructions, but one disadvantage of wills is that they have to go through probate, where they are made public and can be contested. Revocable trusts are a handy way to avoid some of these issues.
A revocable living trust is a legal contract an individual makes while he or she is alive that can be changed. While the person is still living, he or she is both the grantor (the creator of the trust) and the trustee (the individual who controls the assets), but the document would also have a trustee chosen by the grantor for after he or she dies, known as the contingent trustee. The contingent trustee can be anyone the individual’s wishes, from a spouse to an attorney, but would not be one of the beneficiaries (anyone who will benefit from the assets in the trust).
Revocable trusts allow individuals definitive control over their assets, both during life and after death. Trusts allow for conditions to be set, such as the common inclusion of a drug and alcohol use provision in trusts for minor children. Additionally, because trusts do not have to go through probate, they are not made public. This means that, even if creditors do find out about the individual’s death, these creditors will have a difficult time challenging the trust to make claims against the estate. Any residents of Nevada who wish to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes may want to consider discussing revocable trusts with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Source: accountingweb.com, “Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan, Part 1: The Basics“, Craig W. Smalley, March 17, 2017