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Estate planning mistakes that may affect Nevada families

Whenever it comes time to think about the fate of funds, assets and how to take care of one's family, it can be difficult to know where to begin or how to approach a unique situation. The fate of a few celebrity estate plans in recent years has shown people in Nevada what they should avoid doing as much as what they may want to do when it comes to creating their own estate plans. While estate planning is unique to each person, some mistakes can affect anyone if they do not take steps to avoid them.

One mistake noted in the estate plan for actor Philip Seymour Hoffman notes that he didn't leave a trust for his children. He left money intended for his kids to their mother, to whom he was never married. Because he left it to her outright and not in the form of a trust, his estate is now in the probate process. This can be costly and time-consuming.

Another confusing stipulation was noted in the estate plan of writer Michael Crichton. He had an adult child from a first marriage and a pregnant second wife when he passed away. He had a stipulation in his will that no future children would inherit anything from him. His pregnant wife has since had to fight in court to get any kind of inheritance for their child together. He may have wanted to update his estate planning, but no one can be sure what he would have wanted for his new child.

After a person passes, the Nevada family left behind may be left with more questions than answers if the estate planning process wasn't done with forethought or wasn't updated when it should have been. There may be a set period of time when a person may want to review and update any estate planning details, or certainly after life-changing events. A legal professional may help outline options and advise as to when to update or formulate stipulations that are deemed important.

Source:, "Lessons Celebrities Can Teach Retirees About Estate Planning", Thomas and Robert Fross, Sept. 16, 2014

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