In and beyond Nevada, the estate planning process is available to any adult age 18 or over, who can demonstrate soundness of mind. You do not have to be past retirement age, own a business or have amassed great wealth to benefit from executing an estate plan. A primary document in most plans is a last will and testament. While there are many benefits to signing a will, there are also several consequences to not having one in place when you die.
If you do not create an estate plan or sign a last will and testament before you die, your estate becomes intestate. Whatever assets you have must still go through probate and distribution. However, if you didn’t list beneficiaries or leave instructions for distribution, a probate court judge will make these decisions on behalf of the state. This means that the court might distribute your assets in a way that would not have aligned with your preferences.
Accounts that are exempt from Nevada intestate succession laws
Just because you may not have executed a last will and testament does not necessarily mean you did not designate beneficiaries to inherit certain assets after you die. For example, you might have a retirement account or life insurance policy or property that you have placed in a living trust. You may have listed one or more beneficiaries to these assets.
If your estate becomes intestate due to not having signed a will before you died, assets remaining in these types of accounts are not subject to Nevada intestate succession laws. This means that the beneficiaries you have listed would still receive the assets, while a probate court judge would determine how to distribute any assets existing outside of these accounts.
Nevada is a community property state
If you were to file for divorce in Nevada, your spouse would have a right to a 50/50 split of all marital property. Because the state operates under community property guidelines, this may affect the distribution of assets that are passing through probate in connection with intestate laws. It is still possible to have separate ownership of property in a community property state.
For instance, you might have acquired certain assets before you were married. Such assets are not subject to community property divisions. Property jointly owned versus separately owned property may have a significant impact on the probate process regarding intestacy. It’s best to thoroughly research Nevada laws to determine if incorporating a last will and testament can help you accomplish your estate planning goals.