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Things You Can’t Avoid While Writing a Will: Insights From Wood Law Group

Learn about the essential components of a Nevada will and how to secure your legacy effectively with Wood Law Group.

Understanding the Basics of a Will

 A will, formally known as a last will and testament, is a written directive or document that ensures that a person’s assets are distributed according to their specific wishes when they die. 

This powerful tool can also be used to name guardians for minor children, restrict or limit the accessibility of a beneficiary’s inheritance, and donate to charity, depending on the testator’s (will-maker) wishes.

Even though a will may not resolve or prevent every issue that arises after a person dies, it comes pretty close.  Its ability to eliminate inheritance disputes and simplify the estate administration process makes the will the foundation of many strong estate plans.

However, documenting your wishes for your estate and loved ones on paper is not enough. A will must comply with certain legal requirements; otherwise, it would be unenforceable, leaving your wishes unfulfilled. 

Our esteemed estate planning lawyers at the Wood Law Group are committed to helping Las Vegas residents create solid estate plans that can withstand future scrutiny. We can help you ensure your will is effective and functions as it should.

Below, we explain some of the essential legal conditions and considerations you may encounter while preparing your will. Read on to learn more. 

Legal Requirements for Wills in Nevada: Things You Can’t Avoid

Crafting a will is critical in securing your legacy and ensuring your estate is handled according to your wishes upon your passing.

Under Nevada law, wills must meet certain legal requirements. Non-compliance with those requirements could render the will invalid and ineffective, which would trigger the application of the state’s intestate succession and inheritance laws contrary to your wishes. 

Some of those requirements are as follows

Writing

A will in Nevada must be documented in written form to be valid. 

 The state recognizes traditional paper documents and electronic wills that are created digitally. However, oral wills are not recognized under Nevada law and cannot be enforced. So, if you were considering leaving instructions about the distribution of your assets orally, you may need to reconsider and create a written document to ensure that it can be executed as intended. 

Signature

 In Nevada, the testator must sign the will or, if unable, instruct someone to sign on their behalf in their presence. This act is not merely a formality; it is a personal seal of approval without which the will could be contested or deemed invalid, potentially undermining the foundation of your estate planning.

Your signature is, therefore, a testament to the authenticity of your will. 

Witnesses

For a will to be legally binding in Nevada, it must be attested by at least two competent adult witnesses in the testator’s presence. The witnesses must also sign their names on the will document to complete the attestation. 

However, there are exceptions to this requirement. According to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 133.090), holographic wills written entirely in the testator’s handwriting are valid whether or not they are witnessed.

Electronic wills, on the other hand, may be witnessed. But the need for witnessing may be eliminated if :

  • The electronic signature and seal of a notary public is placed on the digital document in the testator’s presence, and the testator electronically signs the will in the presence of the said notary public.
  • The digital will contains the testator’s authentication characteristics, such as their fingerprint or retinal scan.

These requirements are fundamental and cannot be avoided if you want to create a working will. If you need more clarification or are unsure how to meet those requirements, it would be wise to speak with an estate planning attorney to avoid any mistakes that could affect your entire estate plan.

Other Essential Considerations for Your Nevada Will

Besides the mandatory requirement for valid wills, you need to consider other details that could minimize the duration of the probate proceedings, ensure your beneficiaries’ interests are fully protected, and enhance the will’s effectiveness. They include the following:

Choosing an Executor

Even though it is not a statutory requirement for a valid will, Choosing an executor is a pivotal decision. This individual will manage your estate and ensure your will is executed according to your wishes.

It is crucial to select someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and willing to commit to the role’s responsibilities. However, Nevada has statutory restrictions on who can be appointed as an executor. It is important to consider those restrictions to ensure your choice is not invalidated when it matters. 

Guardianship Decisions 

Guardianship is a paramount consideration for those with minor children. Assigning a guardian in your will provides peace of mind, knowing your children will be cared for by a trusted person should the need arise. Weigh your options thoughtfully, evaluating the potential guardian’s values, stability, and relationship with your children.

    Making Specific Bequests 

    When distributing your assets in your will, it is important that you clearly identify the specific assets being gifted to each family member or beneficiary. For example, instead of giving “a car to your daughter,” it would be more appropriate to provide the car’s unique details and your daughter’s name to ensure there’s no confusion.

     Precision is crucial here to prevent future disputes and ensure that your estate is distributed in your preferred manner. Conveying clarity and precision requires significant legal drafting skills, so it is important to get professional legal help while preparing your will. 

    Deciding What Happens to the Residuary Estate

    Sometimes, after apportioning your estate to your beneficiaries, some parts of it may be left. It is important to consider what would happen to that part of your estate while drafting your will or during the general estate planning process to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. 

    Creating a Self-Proving Will 

    Before a will is admitted to probate, it must be proven to be the testator’s authentic last will and testament. Usually, proof is obtained by the testimony of the witnesses who signed the will. 

    However, a self-proving will is one that contains sufficient documentation ( affidavits from the attesting witnesses) to establish its own authenticity. Ensuring your will is self-proving can help shorten the probate process and spare your executor and family members additional steps during an already challenging time.

    How Wood Law Group Can Help

    Drafting an effective will requires careful thought and consideration to ensure your legacy is honored and your loved ones are provided for according to your true intentions.

     The risk of making irreversible mistakes in preparing a will looms large, but with the right legal guidance, you can avoid common pitfalls and settle your legacy with confidence.

    Our skilled attorneys at Wood Law Group can help create personalized wills that can withstand legal scrutiny in probate court and reflect your wishes for your estate and your loved ones. We’d be glad to guide you through the process and ensure that no crucial details that could affect the effectiveness of your will are overlooked.

    Let Wood Law Group Help With Your Last Will and Testament

    Creating a last will and testament may seem daunting; however, it’s also an opportunity to articulate a final, enduring message to your loved ones. 

    At the Wood Law Group, we are committed to ensuring that your wishes are expressed and legally enforceable. 

    We offer comprehensive estate planning services and can help you prepare a plan that documents your future health care wishes, manage your government benefits, or even avoid probate depending on your goals and needs.

    Our message is simple: don’t let the complexities of the estate planning process discourage you. We are here to help you navigate these waters and avoid common mistakes, offering experienced legal assistance and peace of mind.

    Contact us today to get started.