This holiday season I want to thank all of you who have allowed me to help create estate plans to protect you and your families. It has been my honor to assist you.

For those of you who haven’t yet sat down to think about your estate plan, this newsletter is for you. You may think you don’t have enough money or you aren’t old enough to think about estate planning. I have news for you: estate planning is for everyone. Taking time to design a proper estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones.

People I meet who don’t have an estate plan say the same things. “I don’t have enough money to need a will.” “I’m not married yet and don’t have kids, so I don’t need a trust.” “I’m too young to need powers of attorney.” “I’m invincible – I’ll never get sick or die.”

Estate planning is not only for the wealthy. Under Nevada law, a full blown probate has to be initiated when a person has $200,000 worth of assets or more in their estate. Your “estate” consists of all the property you own: your house, rental properties, bank accounts, personal property (household goods & collectibles), investments, cars, and benefits from life insurance or retirement plans (although these last two generally pass by designation of a beneficiary rather than through probate). Factoring in all of these assets, it’s easy to see how your estate could surpass this $200,000 level and require probate. Creating a trust as part of your estate plan can help you avoid probate – which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Even single people without kids need some level of estate planning. At a minimum, every adult should have powers of attorney. There are two types of powers of attorney. A health care power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are ever so sick you can’t make decisions on your own. Similarly, a financial power of attorney allows you to name an agent to act on your behalf for financial and legal decisions. Creating these powers of attorney protects if you ever become very sick and unable to make your own decisions.

Young families with kids especially need estate planning. Many parents haven’t yet amassed a lot of assets but they often have valuable life insurance policies to protect their kids. If they were to die without an estate plan, the proceeds of the life insurance could end up going through probate and court supervised guardianships would have to be set up for the kids to benefit from the insurance money. Creating a revocable trust and other basic estate planning documents can help avoid all this hassle if the “worst case scenario” ever occurred.

No one has a crystal ball to know when illness, injury or death will occur. My philosophy is that it’s best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Estate planning is for everyone regardless of age, wealth or health.

Are you ready to give your loved ones the gift of an estate plan? I invite you to give me a call (725 777 3000) or email (ktyler@gtg.legal). My warmest wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

Cordially, Kristin Tyler