Reno Wills Lawyer

Overview of Wills in Nevada

A will is often the centerpiece of an estate plan. Without a will, your property will be given away according to the laws of intestacy in the state where you are domiciled at the time of death. Having a will not only allows you to direct the disposition of your assets as you choose, but it also streamlines the probate administration of your estate by allowing you to name an executor instead of leaving it up to the court to decide.

This article will provide you with answers to common questions about Wills in Nevada. If you are considering whether a will is right for you, contact our knowledgeable estate planning attorney to schedule a free consultation. A Reno wills lawyer at our firm is ready to help you get started.

What Is a Last Will and Testament?

The term “Last Will and Testament” is used to describe the legal document that communicates your final wishes. These wishes usually pertain to two issues: the person(s) you want to receive your property after your death, and if you have young children, the person(s) you want to raise them after you’re gone. A third common issue is to appoint the person who you want to be in charge of your estate and carrying out the instructions of your will, otherwise known as the executor or personal representative.”

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

If you die without leaving a Will in Reno, your money and other property will go through the probate process and ultimately get distributed according to the “laws of intestate succession.” These laws divide all your property between your closest family members according to a set formula and completely exclude friends, charities, and more distant family members.

These laws may not reflect your wishes for who should get what property after your death. If you are married and have no children, Nevada law may require your spouse to share your property with your parents. If you are unmarried, then your partner will receive nothing.

Perhaps more importantly, the laws of intestate succession do not deal with the question of who will take care of your minor children if both parents die or the surviving parent is unavailable. This leaves it up to the court and social services to appoint a guardian without any input from you.

What Happens if I Have a Will?

With a Will, your estate will still go through the probate process, but instead of following the laws of intestate succession, the judge in the Probate Court will follow your Will. This means that your wishes will control the distribution of property and appointment of guardians for your children, not a set of predetermined rules or the discretion of a judge.

How Is a Will Created?

A will is created in Reno by following the strict guidelines provided in Chapter 133 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. These requirements are strictly enforced, and any will that does not comply perfectly is not considered valid. In general, a Will must be in writing, signed by the person creating it (called the “Testator”), and witnessed by two other people. These two witnesses must also sign the Will in the presence of the Testator.

For step-by-step instructions, read How to Make a Will.

Do I Need to Have a Minimum Amount of Assets to Create a Will?

No. You should have a will whether you are worth $1 or $1 million, especially if you have kids. The guardianship issue of dying without a will should be reason enough for every parent to get a will. Of course, the more wealth that you have, the more important it is to use more sophisticated estate planning tools than just a Will.

Where Is the Best Place to Store a Will?

Your Will should be easy to locate after your death. Store your Will in a fireproof metal box, cabinet, or safe. Do not store your Will in a bank safety deposit box. Your bank will limit access to your safety deposit box and won’t allow anyone to access it without a court order. Make sure the person you appoint as a personal representative knows where your original will is kept. A will that cannot be found has no effect. A seasoned wills lawyer in Reno could help advise the best location for your Will.

Get Help With Your Will from a Reno Attorney

Many undesired consequences can be avoided by having a will and other careful estate planning. An updated and carefully developed estate plan goes a long way toward making an already difficult time much easier for your family and ensuring that those you care about have as secure a future as possible. We will be happy to work with you to understand your goals and concerns and ensure an effective plan is in place to achieve your goals and give you peace of mind.

Contact our Reno wills lawyer today, or use the menu to the right for more information on our specific estate planning services.