(Republished from Vegas PBS Source Magazine; July 2013.)
Although a living trust is the estate planning and testamentary vehicle of choice for most people in Southern Nevada, for those who have modest size estates—such as where there is no real estate involved, and where the only assets are small bank accounts, home furnishings and heirlooms—a will may be the better choice.
A will is important, at a minimum, to designate the individual one would like to serve as executor of his or her estate, to divide the estate among the proper individuals and charities, to declare one’s heirs and make any desired disinheritances, and to leave cherished heirlooms and other personal effects to those persons who will most appreciate them.
A will is also used to designate how one’s remains are to be handled, and to make wishes known concerning burial, cremation and funeral plans. Many people also take the opportunity in their last will and testament to nominate a guardian for minor children, if any, and for themselves if necessary.
A few definitions and basic requirements for a will in the State of Nevada are as follows:
- The testator (person making the will) must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old. NRS 133.020
- Formal wills, as opposed to holographic wills, must be in writing and signed by the testator, and attested to by at least two competent witnesses, subscribing their names to the will in the presence of the testator. NRS 133.040. Notarizing the witnesses’ affidavits can be helpful in establishing that the witnesses truly witnessed the execution of the will. NRS 133.050
- A holographic will is one in which the signature, date, and material provisions of the will are written by the hand of the testator, whether witnessed or notarized. NRS 133.090
- Tangible personal property can be disposed of by a written statement of list left by the testator, so long as the list or statement is referenced in the will. It must also be signed, and dated, as well as be sufficiently clear in identifying the specific personal property and individuals who should respectively take such personal property. Real property and other property with titles, such as bank accounts or corporate stock, should not be included on the list, but rather handled within the body of the will. NRS 133.045
Vegas PBS offers free consultation with any of our Vegas PBS Planned Giving Council members regarding wills, trusts and other estate planning vehicles. These consultations are accompanied by discounted services, which Vegas PBS is pleased to offer our members. For more details, please contact Diana Morgan, Major Gifts Officer, at (702) 799-1010, ext. 5415, or at dmorgan@VegasPBS.org. In the meantime, thank you for your support of public television and our community.
About the author: Mr. Grant is a longtime estate planning and asset protection attorney, with offices in both Summerlin and Henderson. He is a member of the Vegas PBS Planned Giving Council and a partner at the law offices of Grant Morris Dodds.
If you would like to speak with Mr. Grant regarding your estate planning, please call 702-938-2244.