Every state, including Nevada, has what are called “intestacy” laws that govern who will inherit a person’s assets if he or she dies without a will. In fact, just because a couple is married does not mean that the surviving spouse will receive 100 percent of the property left behind by the deceased spouse. Many believe that the only way to properly provide for a spouse is through estate planning, which should not leave anything to chance.
Each state does allow for a surviving spouse to inherit, but usually only a certain percentage. The remainder could end up with other family members. Some of them could be relatives that are estranged or who do not have the same need as other family members do. Furthermore, minors are not allowed to own property, so anything that would be left to them will end up being held by someone else in trust until that child reaches the age of majority (ordinarily the age of 18).
Upon reaching the age of 18, the child will then be given the entire inheritance. In many cases, this could be a mistake. Some young adults might be able to handle the responsibility, but others may not. Therefore, it may be better to have documentation in place to protect them from themselves.
Estate planning can be tailored to each family’s unique circumstances. If an individual’s goal is to ensure that a spouse receives 100 percent of the assets, that can be arranged. If there are children involved, including minor children, they can also be left an inheritance that will help provide for them well into the future. Marriage provides Nevada couples with many legal protections, but creating an estate plan is still the best way to continue to protect a surviving spouse.
Source: washingtonblade.com, “Myths of estate planning“, Lawrence S. Jacobs, May 28, 2016