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Flexible wording may be crucial in a Nevada estate

A recent out-of-state probate court decision has brought to light many of the changing laws that govern estate formation. What is worth noting for Nevada residents is the importance of keeping an estate current with the constantly changing tax laws that surround the distribution of assets. This upkeep can be crucial to minimizing the taxes that estate distributions can be subjected to.

Finding the amount that can be distributed to the children of an estate that is free of tax is known as the "formula clause." After this figure is determined, the rest of the estate's value is distributed to the marital trust. Currently, the formula clause allows up to $5 million to be distributed to each child. However, the complication from the formula clause arises from the regularly changing federal tax laws that govern the amount set forth in the formula clause.

Due to this uncertainty, many individuals are turning away from the formula clause. Instead, many estates are now using more flexible language in order to give the estate more room to be modified based on changing tax rates. Many have also placed an increased emphasis on regularly reviewing the estate assets each year, which has been reported to be especially important for high value estates.

There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration when a Nevada citizen is determining how to form their estate. By keeping up with the changing laws and by constantly revisiting the estate's assets to ensure they are protected, a lot of uncertainty can be avoided. In the end this maintenance will ensure that the intended beneficiaries of the estate are protected and that they will be able to maximize their benefit upon the death of the grantor.

Source: Reuters, "Dramatic estate tax battle delivers fresh lessons," Amy Feldman, July 31, 2012

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