Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dave Ramsey Luncheon

Jeff Burr had the pleasure of sitting with talk show host Dave Ramsey during his luncheon held on May 7, 2015 at Brio at Town Square.  The firm was also one of the sponsors of the luncheon and want to thank Mr. Ramsey for a fantastic event.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Donor Advised Funds: A Flexible Approach to Charitable Giving

Donor-Advised Funds (“DAFs”) have become one of the most popular charitable giving vehicles in the United States over recent years due to the simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving they make possible.
DAFs are basically accounts set up at a financial institution or charity that allows donors to make a grant and receive an immediate tax benefit in the form of an income tax deduction.  Once the fund is set up with you as the advisor, the contribution is placed into an account where it can be invested and grow tax free. At any time thereafter you can select the legally recognized charities to make grants and contributions to.
Several other benefits of a DAF include:

·         Little or no initial costs, start up fees and costs are often covered by the sponsoring organization and the fund can be established immediately.

·         The tax deduction limit is fifty percent (50%) of adjusted gross income, as opposed to only thirty percent (30%) for private foundations.

·         All annual tax reporting is handled by the Donor Advised Fund, there is nothing for the individual to report.

·         The valuation of the gift is generally fair market value.

·         You as the donor may recommend grants and investments, however the DAF sponsor or fund administrator has legal control and makes all the final decisions.

·         There is no minimum required payout per year, as opposed to the minimum five percent (5%) required payout per year for private foundations.

·         Donors may name advisors to recommend grants and investments and successors to those advisors.

If you are interested in creating a Donor Advised Fund or have other questions about maximizing your charitable giving, please feel free to contact our office.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AFRs for May 2015

The AFRs Annual Semi-annual Quarterly Monthly
are as follows
Short-term 0.43% 0.43% 0.43% 0.43%
Mid-term 1.53% 1.52% 1.52% 1.52%
Long-term 2.30% 2.29% 2.28% 2.28%

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Confidentiality-Another Reason For Avoiding Probate Via a Revocable Trust

The main component of the estate plan for most people is a revocable living trust that they establish during their lifetime. A properly drawn and funded revocable living trust will enable the surviving spouse and family members to avoid probate, the formal court supervision of an estate proceeding.  The most common reason given for wanting to avoid probate is the cost of a probate proceeding.  Since the court supervises the probate process from start to finish, significant administrative costs and fees are incurred.  These would include fees of the personal representative, fees of the attorney, filing fees and court costs.  However, what, if any, other reasons are there for wanting to avoid probate?

Another major reason to avoid the probate process is confidentiality.  An estate file is a matter of public record.  A review of someone’s estate file will reveal the terms of the Last Will And Testament of the decedent including:

·         who the beneficiaries are (and are not … such as disinherited children),

·         an inventory of the assets and their estimated value on the date of death,

·         any claims of creditors,

·         an accounting of the income and disbursements during administration,

·         the fees of the personal representative and attorney,

·         any litigation contesting the validity of the Will, and

·         the proposed distribution of the estate assets to the beneficiaries, among other information.

Although one can seek an Order sealing an estate file, obtaining such an Order is difficult and is somewhat unusual in estates in recent years.   

Contrast the non-confidentiality of a probate proceeding with the confidentiality of a trust administration.  A court does not supervise a trust administration.  Accordingly, there are no filings with the clerk that become a matter of public record.  Under Nevada law, the Will of a decedent is required to be lodged with the Clerk and becomes a matter of public record; however, the dispositive provisions of a Will in a revocable living trust situation merely provide that any estate asset is “poured over” into the trust. The trust agreement itself is not made a matter of public record.  For a court in Nevada to become involved with a trust administration, the court has to formally agree to assume jurisdiction of a trust via court order.  Courts in Nevada have more than enough to do, and do not want to assume jurisdiction of a trust unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.  Examples of this would be for the court to construe the terms of a trust agreement that are ambiguous and open to more than one interpretation, misconduct by a trustee, and a challenge to the validity of the terms of the trust agreement.

In summary, a primary reason for utilizing a revocable living trust in order to avoid the probate process is to maintain the confidentiality of one’s estate plan.    

-Attorney John R. Mugan


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Updating your Estate Plan Includes Updating Your Ancillary Documents

As your life circumstances change through marriage, children, grandchildren, moving, divorce or other events, your estate plan should be reviewed and updated to reflect your current situation and wishes.
Many clients realize when their situation or circumstances change that the central part of their estate plan (typically a trust or a will) needs to be updated, but forget about the other documents they prepared as part of their comprehensive plan. Other such documents may include a Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney and/or Directive to Physicians, often referred to as a “Living Will”.  Oftentimes the same person is nominated to serve as, for example, the Successor Trustee and the Attorney in Fact under a Financial Power of Attorney.  If a client changes their successor trustee because that person is no longer a good choice but forgets to also update their Power of Attorney designation, their intentions and wishes may be thwarted as the person they intended to completely remove from their plan is actually still an integral part of it.  In addition to modifying the person or people nominated in a Financial or Health Care Power of Attorney, your wishes regarding end of life decisions might also change. Thus, one’s Directive to Physicians should also be revisited every few years to assure that those are still your wishes.  These documents should also be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the law governing Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives.
Below is a brief description of several of the ancillary documents that should be a part of your estate plan which ought to be periodically reviewed on a regular basis along with your will or trust to ensure your estate plan is current and reflects your intent.
1.         Financial Power of Attorney - A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to act on your behalf regarding your financial affairs in the event of incapacity or unavailability.  If you become incapacitated, this document gives another person full legal authority to sign on your behalf and manage your assets and financial affairs.
2.         Health Care Power of Attorney – A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself, as well as when you are terminally ill.  This power only becomes effective upon your incapacity.  It contains a statement of your desires and generally speaking gives broad powers of health care decisions to whomever you have named as agent in your Health Care Power of Attorney.
3.         Directive to Physicians (Living Will)- This document lets family members know what type of care you do or do not want to receive should you become unable to make rational decisions due to incapacity.  The Directive to Physicians states that if you have an incurable or irreversible condition that, without the administration of life-sustaining treatments, will cause death within a relatively short time in the opinion of your treating physician, your attending physician is authorized to withhold or withdraw treatment that only prolongs the process of dying and is not necessary for your comfort or to alleviate pain. 
In summary, please don’t forget to review these important documents on occasions when you feel that changes in life have impacted your estate plan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Jurisdiction is the power of a legal body (a court) to hear and make a judgment or ruling on a case.   The Nevada Probate Courts are only able to hear and adjudicate probate cases that come within its jurisdiction.  The Nevada Probate Court’s jurisdiction is set forth in NRS 136.010:

  1. Wills may be proved and letters granted in the county where the decedent was a resident at the time of death, whether death occurred in that county or elsewhere, and the district court of that county has exclusive jurisdiction of the settlement of such estates, whether the estate is in one or more counties.
  2. The estate of a nonresident decedent may be settled by the district court of any county in which any part of the estate is located. The district court to which application is first made has exclusive jurisdiction of the settlement of estates of nonresidents.

In other words, the Nevada Probate Court may hear and make rulings on cases where (1) the Decedent was a resident of Nevada at the date of death or (2) the Decedent was a non-resident but owns property located within the State of Nevada.
Three simple examples illustrate the Nevada Probate Court’s jurisdiction: 

  1. Decedent A was a resident of Colorado and owned a vacation home in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Nevada Probate Court has jurisdiction over Decedent A’s probate because the Decedent owned real property in Nevada.
  2. Decedent B is a resident of Nevada at the date of Death.  The Nevada Probate Court has jurisdiction over Decedent B’s probate because Decedent B was a Nevada resident.
  3. Decedent C is a resident of Texas and has no assets in the state of Nevada.  However, Decedent C’s children are Nevada residents.  The Nevada Probate Court does not have jurisdiction over Decedent C’s probate because Decedent C was not a Nevada resident and did not own and property in the state of Nevada.

Should you have any questions regarding the Nevada Probate Court’s jurisdiction, feel free to contact our office.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

AFR's for April

The Section 7520 rate is 2.0%
The AFRs Annual Semi-annual Quarterly Monthly
are as follows
Short-term 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48%
Mid-term 1.70% 1.69% 1.69% 1.68%
Long-term 2.47% 2.45% 2.44% 2.44%