Category: Estate Planning in Nevada

Most people already have assets that will avoid Probate after their death. The most basic of these are jointly titled assets and beneficiary designated documents like life insurance or retirement.  However, there are still other asset that are exposed and could easily be modified to become “Non-Probate” assets. The largest assets that are exposed to probate often include the real property, a business and non-retirement investment accounts.
A durable power of attorney ensures a person’s affairs are taken care of by someone they trust if they become mentally incapacitated and avoid a costly guardianship proceeding. A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to authorize another to manage their financial affairs. The person who grants the authority is known as the principal, while the one who has been granted the authority to act on behalf of the principal is known as the agent.
Having a will as the only estate planning tool may not be enough because wills do not address certain issues, such as planning for a health crisis in a person’s lifetime or saving a person’s family from probate. Most people require more planning than what a will provides in Reno. A comprehensive estate plan addresses lifetime issues and ensures a person’s desires are abided by, and the estate is protected without the hassle and expense of probate litigation.
Divorce often requires a complete reorganization of a person’s life. Reconsidering previous decisions regarding estate planning is an often overlooked part of the separation process. Before the divorce, a couple may have curated an estate plan that integrated life insurance policies, trusts, wills, and retirement accounts or plans. In a time of separating lifelong assets, individuals need to consider several factors when revisiting estate planning upon divorce finalization.
First, if there is a business involved in the divorce, it is important to strongly consider hiring an expert. A business valuation is nothing more than getting someone with the right background to say what the business is worth and why. Generally, it is distilled down to a report that can be introduced into evidence in a case. A lawyer cannot guess and without knowledge, everyone is shooting in the dark wondering what that business is worth. In community property states like Nevada, the business is usually a community asset subject to equal division at divorce. Often, one spouse is going to keep the business and the other is not – but that other spouse that is walking away is entitled to know what the business is worth to address what is fair for that spouse’s interest. Even if only one spouse “worked” the business, if it was started during the marriage, the business is likely community property.
A “Transfer on Death” Deed, or more accurately a “Deed Upon Death” as it is referred to in NRS 111.671, is a way to transfer property to your designated beneficiary. Rather than relying on a traditional will or revocable living trust to pass your real property, a transfer-on-death deed can be created in advance, signed by the property owner, and, designates who the property will go to upon the owner’s death.


For a compassionate estate planning attorney who puts your family first, call Surratt Law Practice at:

Our Lawyers

Kimberly M. Surratt
Melissa L. Exline
Travis H. Clark
Abigail L. Jaquette