Looking back on the year for estate planning news, there are lessons that can be learned from many high-profiles estates – both good and bad.  Some successful estate stories?  Joan Rivers had the proper end-of-life documents in place, and Robin William’s estate successfully avoided probate.  On the other hand, Phillip Seymour Hoffman paid $34 million in unnecessary estate taxes and uncertainty in Tom Clancy’s plans has led to an $80 million legal battle.  All of these celebrity estate planning examples can be boiled down into everyday considerations for everyday people – you can apply the following tips to your own situation. 

1)  Think about the people you want involved in your trust – family member, corporate trustee, or perhaps co-trustee roles?

The selection of your trustee(s) is very important – ultimately they are ones which will carry out your wishes expressed in the trust and be responsible for keeping accurate bookkeeping records, filing tax returns, prudently investing trust assets and reporting to trust beneficiaries.

2)  Planning for Changing Circumstances

Families are more mobile and fragmented than ever before.  Multiple marriages and children from prior relationships are common.  State laws which govern the disposition of assets for those that die without and estate plan do not reflect modern society – the result?  Often times loved ones are disinherited.  A proper estate plan prevents this from happening.

3)  The IRS is always a consideration

Tax considerations exist at all phases in life – including death.  A properly structured estate plan can minimize estate taxes and maximize your goals for family and charitable interests.

4)  Review regularly

The most important tip – review your estate plan.  not only do aspects of your life change, but the laws change too.  Are your charitable interest changing?  Did a named beneficiary pass away or become incapacitated? Did your successor trustee move away?   Is a beneficiary about to get a divorce?  All of these common changes in life can have a dramatic impact on your plan.  It should be reviewed regularly.

Nevada has some of the best trust laws in the USA, and many families outside of Nevada choose Nevada as a location for their family trust.  Nevada trust law better protects your assets for your family and charitable interests, and can be designed to last 100′s of years.  Most other states do not offer this amount of flexibility.  To learn more about Nevada Trusts call Greg Crawford in Reno at 775-297-4684.

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