Last Will and Testament

Drafting your Last Will and Testament is a major responsibility and requires a professional touch. Call the Wood Law Group for information and assistance.

Is a Will Important?

When an individual dies without having a will, they are said to die intestate (meaning without a will for their estate.) In this case, the court would be left to determine how the assets are distributed and who is awarded the assets and property.

Court decisions can take months or years in the absence of a legal will. To avoid such a long and painful process for their loved ones, many people hire an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas to prepare a last will and testament and act as their personal representative.


What Is a Will?


A last will is a legal document setting forth your final wishes and instructions regarding how to pass on your assets and property to designated beneficiaries and discharge your debts after your death.

Also included in a last will and testament are provisions for dependents and the management of accounts.

Why is the Last Will Important?

Probate in Nevada uses the decedent’s last will and testament to close your estate according to your wishes. Making a will is important for parents of minor children because it allows you to appoint a guardian for your children.

The benefits of making a will include:

  • Avoiding potential disputes about who is entitled to your assets

  • Confusions about what assets and property you have

  • Ensuring your surviving spouse and surviving family members receive your assets according to your estate plan rather than that of the State

Types of Wills and Testaments

There are several types of wills. However, the primary types of wills used by most people are the following:

Last Will and Testament

A last will is the most common type of will. The document appoints a personal representative to act on your behalf and names beneficiaries to receive your remaining assets upon your death.


Living Will

Living Wills are also referred to as Health Care Directives, which outline your health care preferences if you’re alive but incapacitated. When incapacitated, it is impossible for you to consent to treatment. Thus, healthcare professionals will refer to your living will to determine the treatments you may or may not want.


Testamentary (Living) Trust

In a testamentary trust, your assets are placed into a predetermined trust account that your beneficiaries can access after your passing. A trustee will be responsible for managing your assets and trust account after your passing.  

Living trusts do not need to pass through probate, which lowers the cost and the time it will take to distribute your assets after death. 

Requirement of a Valid Last Will and Testament Legal

The probate judge will carry out the instructions within your last will as long it meets three conditions. In the event that it does not, you will leave with an intestate estate, which will also follow its default procedures. Three conditions make a will valid in the United States:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind
  2. The will must be in writing and signed
  3. the will should be notarized


Writing Your Last Will and Testament


Here are six steps to writing a last will and testament:

  1. Identify your assets: Make a list of all valuables and to which beneficiary you will give the assets
  2. Appoint a personal representative (executor): Choose a trusted individual who can manage your affairs, pay your bills, and distribute your real estate to your beneficiaries. It’s often recommended that the executor is not a beneficiary but a lawyer. The role of the executor of your estate is to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death, according to your instructions. You can also name a backup executor or a co-executor.
  3. Choose your beneficiaries: List the people or organizations you wish to inherit your estate once your debts are settled.
  4. Provide for children and pets: Choosing a caretaker for your pets and a legal guardian for your children is crucial. Include any instructions for specific levels of care and allocation of funds. In order to safeguard the estate of the testator until your surviving children are eligible to inherit, you can name a guardian or executor.
  5. Sign: By law, the maker of the will and two witnesses must sign the will before a notary public.
  6. Securely store your will: Only the signed original copy can be probated, so the will should be stored safely, such as in a safe deposit box at a financial institution. A copy could be kept in the Will writer’s home files or with the estate lawyer.

Items You Should Not Include In Your Will

Certain things should not be included in your will since they are detrimental. Some of these include:

Joint Tenancy of Real Estate

Regardless of what the will says, the jointly held property automatically grants the other party the right of survivorship when one person dies.


Beneficiary Life Insurance Policy

Like joint tenancy real estate, insurers automatically distribute life insurance proceeds to the beneficiary upon your death.


Retirement Plans, 401Ks, Pensions, IRAs.

Proceeds from retirement plans, such as pensions, IRAs, or 401(k)s, are separate from the probate estate and pass automatically to the beneficiary.


Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements generally take place soon after you pass. However, the distribution of your estate can take place several months later. A better arrangement would be to draw up an advance healthcare directive and specify your funeral plans and way to deal with funeral expenses.


Incapacitation Arrangements

A will isn’t the appropriate document to take care of your wishes of how things should be handled if you are no longer capable of handling your affairs and making decisions. An attorney can help you prepare legal documents, such as a power of attorney for such matters.

How Much Does a Last Will and Testament Cost?

The fee to create a last will and testament varies depending on the size and complexity of your estate. Generally, attorneys expect reasonable compensation for the time and effort they spend on your estate.

Some individuals may feel they do not have enough assets to justify the cost of drawing up a last will, have no heirs, or could be too ill to go through the process. In such cases, an attorney can prepare a letter of testamentary without probate. Such a letter allows you to designate an executor for your estate to settle debts, sell the personal property and distribute assets upon your death.


Call Wood Law Group for Assistance With Drafting Your Will

A will can be drafted by anyone, but having a lawyer review it can help ensure that it will hold up in probate court. The probate process relies on a legally sound will to contain important financial, medical, and sometimes landowner information.

Therefore, creating a legal will is of utmost importance. A Nevada probate lawyer will ensure that your will is valid and that all your assets, liabilities, and beneficiaries are properly handled.

Call Wood Law Group to schedule a consultation and start your estate planning journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are You Legally Required to Have a Will?

No. However, most people aren’t comfortable leaving the state of their assets and the guardianship of their children to chance.


Can I Make Changes to the Will?

Yes. At any time during your lifetime, you can amend or make changes to your will for:

  • A life change, such as having a child

  • A change in circumstances, such as moving to a new state, or

  • An unexpected event, such as the beneficiary’s death