An alarming new study revealed that approximately 55% of adults in the United States do not have a will or any other plans for the distribution of their personal estate in place. This statistic raises the question of why people choose to skip out on creating such an important document. It's clear that most people understand the significance of having a will prior to their day of passing, but they refuse to prioritize creating one. Oftentimes, details pertaining to other aspects of death preparations, like funeral arrangements, and plans for a burial or cremation, are resolved before a will is conceived. Also, misconceptions from citizens claiming that a will is too costly, too confusing, or would take extended periods of time to create are common amongst citizens. But what many people fail to realize is that the absence of a will requires that the state distributes your property, possibly creating unnecessary issues among surviving family members.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document containing information regarding how an individual's property will be distributed after death. In order for a will to be legitimized in the eyes of the law, it should be put in writing and signed by two witnesses. In Nevada, a will does not have to be notarized for it to be considered legal.
Also, when a person dies without a will, their property and possessions will be distributed in accordance with state intestacy laws. The state of Nevada will only distribute possessions to a spouse and/or children. It will not grant children from estranged marriages or other family members outside of the immediate family any property. However, the creator of a will -- also called the testator -- can make ensure they receive possessions and property by including them in the will.
The Duty of Executors
In order for a will to be executed, the testator must choose an executor to make sure their wishes are properly carried out. Nevada law doesn't require that an executor is an attorney. Whomever the executor is, that individual has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate and is supposed to fulfill the wishes of the deceased honestly and diligently. Depending on the complexity of the will, an executor may have the duty of resolving the following issues:
- Wrapping up the deceased's affairs
- Setting up an account for the estate
- Finishing ongoing payments of the deceased
- Finding assets
- Contacting those named in the will to inherit property
- Paying off debt
- Ensuring the will is filed in probate court / or determining if probate court is necessary
- Ensuring that the property is properly distributed
Picking an executor that is responsible enough to carry out these duties is a benefit to an estate and can help ensure that things run smoothly. In addition, it is important for anyone taking on the role of executor to be aware that if they do not manage the estate properly, they can be held personally liable for their mismanagement.
Experienced Nevada Will Attorneys
The creation of a will and other estate planning tools will undoubtedly make the aftermath of your passing much less stressful for your family. The estate planning lawyers at Jacks Law Group are available to answer questions about wills and the Nevada estate laws in place that will help you carry out your wishes. Contact us today for a free consultation.