Williams Starbuck probate attorneys can work with you to draft a will or living trust, provide guidance on powers of attorney, and also serve as an executor of your estate if you so wish.  Call us if you are in need of probate advice!

It’s no wonder estate planning and life insurance go hand-in-hand. They both protect your family financially in the event of your death. If you don’t have life insurance or haven’t planned for the distribution of your estate, your family could face a lot of expenses and confusion after you’re gone. So here’s how to care for them with estate planning and life insurance in Las Vegas. 

How Estate Planning Protects Your Family

Estate planning involves creating legal documents that declare how to distribute your estate after you die. Most Las Vegas residents use their assets to benefit loved ones posthumously. You might see this as a simple gift to family or friends, but proper estate planning can protect them too. 

First, estate law can get very confusing if you do not have a legal will. The courts will have to follow intestate laws to distribute your estate, and your family may not like the outcome. Many families get into heated and expensive legal battles as a result. By creating a will, you leave no doubt about who gets what. 

A will can also designate caregivers for minor children or pets in the event of your untimely death. You know what’s best for them and deserve a say in their future. If you do not make those plans now, the courts must decide who will care for your children or animals without your input. 

You might also consider creating a trust. A trust does not go through probate like assets in a will do, so your beneficiaries will get the money from the trust sooner. This is vital if you have family members who depend on you financially. They will also avoid the general headache and expenses of the probate process


How Life Insurance Helps Las Vegas Families 

When you work with an estate planning attorney, the question of life insurance will come up. Life insurance is a financial asset. When you die, your insurance provider will pay out the amount on the policy to your named beneficiaries. 

If you do not already have life insurance, your attorney will encourage you to get some. Life insurance in Las Vegas can financially protect your family in several ways: 

  • Unlike assets like a house or retirement account, an insurance policy gives your family fast, liquid cash. 
  • Insurance money does not go through probate, giving your dependents vital funds soon after your death.
  • With readily available insurance money, your family can cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, and estate taxes without digging into their own pockets.
  • You can use the insurance money to equalize your estate. Suppose one of your beneficiaries wants to keep physical property like your house while others only want the money it is worth. In that case, you can calculate the monetary value of their shares of the house and bequeath that amount from your life insurance and leave the house to the first beneficiary. 

Williams Starbuck Is Here to Help With Life Insurance And Estate Planning In Las Vegas

As you can see, estate planning and life insurance in Las Vegas can get confusing. Work with the experienced attorneys at Williams Starbuck to best protect your family. We focus on your goals for estate planning and guide you through the entire process. Get started today contact us at 1-702-660-9847 or send us a message to request a free consultation. 

Probate is the court-supervised administration of your estate or will after you die. The probate process involves many steps that take time and involves probate fees as well. All of this can cause a big headache for your grieving family, so it’s no wonder many Las Vegas residents want to avoid probate. 

Luckily, if you take the right steps during estate planning, you can plan for the distribution of your estate and still avoid probate in Las Vegas. Here’s how. 

Work With An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The first step in avoiding probate in Las Vegas is to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. They can examine your unique situation and discuss your options for avoiding probate. Together, you can decide what makes the most sense for you and your family. Your attorney can also assist your loved ones if they have questions or concerns about the distribution of your estate after you pass away. 

Avoid Probate In Las Vegas With A Living Trust

If you create a last will and testament to distribute your assets after death, it will still be subject to probate and probate fees. Instead, you can establish a living trust. A living trust puts your estate “in trust” and names a trustee to manage it. Because your assets have already been “distributed” into the trust, probate is unnecessary. Upon your death, the trustee distributes your assets to your designated beneficiaries without going through the courts.

Name Beneficiaries On Your Financial Accounts

If you’re worried about family members not having access to money upon your death, be sure to name them as beneficiaries on your various financial accounts. These “payable on death” accounts include 

  • Bank accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • 401K plans
  • IRA accounts
  • Pension plans
  • Stocks and bonds

Take the time to request and fill out your financial institutions’ payable-on-death forms. The people you name on the forms will receive those assets immediately after your passing without going through probate. You’ll save them a lot of frustration and ensure they have the necessary funds.  

Designate Joint Ownerships

Another option for avoiding probate in Las Vegas is to hold property jointly. Joint property is legally owned by more than one person. When you die, that property automatically goes to the other owner(s) without going through probate. This most often applies to real estate. If you want a loved one to inherit your house or vacation property, you might consider designating them as joint owners now so that the property does not go through probate later. 

Talk To The Attorneys At Williams Starbuck To Learn More About Avoiding Probate In Las Vegas

You want the best for your family now and after you’re gone. The experienced attorneys at Williams Starbuck can help. We’ll discuss your options for avoiding probate and draw up the legal documents when you have a plan. Get started today by calling us at 1-720-660-9847 or send us a message to schedule a free consultation.

There are several parts to creating an estate plan in Las Vegas, one of them being a living trust. Common factors that prompt someone to create a trust include privacy, tax benefits, avoiding probate, and caring for family members with special needs. Estate planning also lets you dictate how your assets will pass on to future generations after your death. See below for some key suggestions on how a living trust can help your family.

Avoiding Probate

One of the primary reasons for creating an estate plan is to avoid probate. Unlike a will, a fully funded living trust will avoid probate, typically a lengthy and costly court-supervised process. Probate includes locating and determining the value of the deceased’s assets, paying off any outstanding bills and taxes, and then distributing the remaining value of the estate to the deceased’s rightful beneficiaries or heirs.

Avoiding probate is often a top reason for estate planning, and there is no surprise as to why. First, probate can be a costly way to transfer your assets upon death. Second, it is very time-consuming for your family. It can take from six to nine months (or even longer) to complete the probate process. Complications, such as a contested will or an inability to find clear records of all of the deceased’s assets and debts, can extend this timeline. Finally, probate proceedings are a matter of public record so when your estate goes through this process, there is no privacy.

Reducing Taxes

While a living trust can help you avoid probate, it can also provide you with tax savings, especially if your estate is subject to death taxes (also known as estate and gift taxes). Of course, there are many types of trusts. One way to think about the variety is to consider a toolbox. For example, there are numerous kinds of screwdrivers, hammers, power tools, and so on. Each tool has an intended use. Trusts are no different. When you work with us, we’ll make sure to align the type of trust with the tax-saving needs and other goals of your family.

Seek Professional Help

It is important to understand that a trust only controls assets that are in the trust. In other words, you must place these assets in the trust – commonly referred to as “funding” the trust. Moreover, because our lives are always changing (marriage, childbirth, home purchase, etc.) and so are tax laws, it is essential to continually update and monitor the funding of your trust over your lifetime.

For these reasons, you will want to work closely with your estate planning attorney to make sure your assets are properly aligned with your trust. This will not only help you get organized, but it will also make things easier for your heirs when you pass away. You don’t have to go it alone. We are here to help you and your family. Call us at 1-720-660-9847 today to learn more about how a living trust can help your family.

A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. Estate planning in Las Vegas is similar in that they need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your life so they can do what you want them to do.

Outdated estate plans – like outdated resumes – simply don’t work.

Take a Moment to Reflect

Think back for a moment – think of all the changes in your life. What’s changed since you signed your will, trust, and other estate planning documents? If something has changed that affects you, your trusted helpers, or your beneficiaries, your estate plan probably needs to reflect that change.

Here are examples of changes that are significant enough to warrant an estate plan review and, likely, updates:

  • Birth
  • Adoption
  • Marriage
  • Divorce or separation
  • Death
  • Addictions
  • Incapacity/disability
  • Health challenges
  • Financial status changes – good or bad
  • Tax law changes
  • Move to a new state
  • Family circumstances changes – good or bad
  • Business circumstances changes – good or bad


Call us at 1-720-660-9847 to get your estate planning review on the calendar. If you’re like most people, if it’s on the calendar, you’ll make it happen.

Just as you update your resume on a regular basis and just like you meet with the doctor, dentist, CPA, or financial advisor on a regular basis, you need to meet with us on a regular basis as well.

We’ll make sure your estate plan reflects your current needs and those of the people you love. Updating is the best way to make sure your estate plan will actually do what you want it to do.

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a rich history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. You first will pick a trustee, executor, and agent under a power of attorney when you create your estate plan in Las Vegas.

When you do this, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave. Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your estate plan work far better.


A revocable living trust is often the center of a well-designed estate plan because it is simply the best strategy for achieving most individuals’ goals. In many revocable living trusts, you will serve as the initial trustee and will continue to manage the trust assets as you had in the past.

Your successor trustee will be responsible for making sure your wealth is passed on and managed in accordance with your wishes after your death or during your incapacity. Like each of the following individuals involved in your estate planning, it’s best to have a trusted person or financial institution carry out this vitally important role.

It’s important to make the language in your trust as clear as possible so that your trustee knows exactly how to handle various situations that can arise is asset distribution. Lastly, your trustee will only control the assets contained within the trust — not the rest of your estate, the reason why completely funding your living trust is crucial.

Powers of Attorney

Your power of attorney is the document in your estate plan that appoints individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. There are a few different types of powers of attorney, each with their own specific provisions. There is quite a wide range of situations covered by various powers of attorney, and we can help you decide which types you’ll need based on your current situation and future goals. Here are two common types to cover in your estate plan:

Financial Powers of Attorney

Financial powers of attorney grant individuals the ability to take financial actions on your behalf such as purchasing life insurance or withdrawing money from your accounts to cover your expenses. A person who acts under the authority given in a power of attorney is generally called an agent. Regarding financial decisions, an institution like a trust company, can also be named. Keep in mind that trust companies will charge a fee for this service.

Health Care Powers of Attorney

Health care powers of attorney cover a wide range of specific actions that can be taken regarding an individual’s medical needs such as making decisions about the types of care you receive or who will be providing the care.


Your executor is the person who will see your assets through probate, if necessary, and carry out your wishes based on your last will and testament. Depending on your preferences, this may be the same person or institution as your trustee. You might also see this position designated as personal representative, but it means the same thing.

Some individuals chose to go with a paid executor. This is usually someone who doesn’t stand to gain anything from your will, and is often the best choice if your estate is large and will be divided among many beneficiaries. Of course, family or friends can also serve, but it’s important to consider the amount of work involved before placing this burden on your family or friends.

Being an executor can be hard work and may have court-ordered deadlines, so it’s crucial to pick someone you know will be up for the job. They will probably need to hire a CPA to help sort out your taxes and a lawyer to assist in the process. Of course, if there’s a dispute, attorneys, appraisers, mediators, or other professionals will undoubtedly need to be involved.

Choosing a spouse or someone else intimately involved in your life can be convenient because they may already be familiar with your assets and have an easier time making sure your wishes are carried out.  However, because of the time involved and the nature of some assets, they may not be up to the task at the time.


Get in Touch With Us Today

Let us help you make the process of how you pick your trustee, executor, and agent under a power of attorney as smooth as possible. Once you have these choices in place, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your estate plan is in good hands no matter what life brings.  Call us at 1-720-660-9847  to make an appointment today.

In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible.

That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases it may even work to an advantage.

Let’s look briefly at the pros and cons of going through probate.

The Pros of Probate

For some estates, especially those in which no will was left, the system works to make sure all assets are distributed according to state law.

Here are some potential advantages of probating an estate:

  • Provides a trustworthy procedure for redistributing the property of the deceased if no will was left.
  • Validates and enforces the intentions of the deceased if a will exists.
  • Ensures taxes and claimed debts are paid on the estate, so there’s a finality to the deceased person’s affairs, rather than an uncertain, lingering feeling for the beneficiaries.
  • If the deceased was in debt, probate gives only a brief window for creditors to file a claim, which can result in more debt forgiveness.
  • Probate can be advantageous for distributing smaller estates in which estate planning was unaffordable.


The Cons of Probate

While probate is intended to work fairly to facilitate the transfer of property after someone dies, consider bypassing the process for these reasons:

  • Probate is a matter of public record, which means personal family and financial information become public knowledge.
  • There may be considerable costs, including court, attorney, and executor fees, all of which get deducted from the value of the estate.
  • Can be time-consuming, holding up distribution of the assets for months, and sometimes, years.
  • Probate can be complicated and stressful for your executor and your beneficiaries.

The Bottom line

While probate is a default mechanism that ultimately works to enforce the fair distribution of even small estates, it can create undue costs and delays. For that reason, many people prefer to use strategies to keep their property out of probate when they die.

A skilled estate planning attorney can develop a strategy to help you avoid probate and make life easier for the next generation. For more information about your options,  call us at 1-720-660-9847 to schedule a free consultation.