Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. Henderson Real Estate Law Attorney | Las Vegas NV Business & Commercial Law Lawyer | North Las Vegas City Nevada Litigation Attorney 2021-09-22T17:03:44Z https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/feed/atom/ WordPress On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[Estate planning moves any late-in-life parent should consider]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50373 2021-09-22T17:03:44Z 2021-09-22T17:03:44Z Guardian, will, trust and 529 plan Ideally, you should have had an estate plan created already. If not, this is the time to get one. Having a will or a trust remain solid choices with an estate plan as you attempt to build a significant amount of assets for your child. Here are some of the financial options to consider for late-in-life parents:
  • Name a legal guardian for your child in your will. This is a crucial thing to do as you want a safety net in place in case you die before your child turns 18. That selected guardian may be the child’s other parent or trusted friends and relatives.
  • Set up a trust. Overseen by a trustee, the trust will ensure that your child does not inherit every asset before she turns 18. That trustee should be reliable. And it is a good idea to name someone who is not the guardian to serve as trustee.
  • When assembling a will, you also can create a trust within the will. Such a tool is known as a testamentary trust. The trustee provides the money to your child as she needs it. You can even decide at what age your child will inherit these assets. Such a move may prevent her from making financial mistakes as a young adult.
  • Ensure that your children are the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies and retirement plans. Understand that the beneficiary designations named for traditional and Roth IRAs, 401(k)s and life insurance policies override any decision made in a will.
  • Keep making investments in your retirement plans. Not only will you have a better financial foundation as you age, but your child will also thank you, too, because she likely will not have to provide you with financial support if you become disabled.
  • Ideally, soon after your child is born, set up a 529 plan, which provides funds for your child’s college costs. Make regular investments in it, too.
As a late-in-life parent, you may occasionally be mistaken as your child’s grandparent. Just smile, knowing that you enjoy your delayed parenthood and that you have the beginnings of a solid financial foundation for your family.]]>
On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[Overlooked assets in estate planning]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50371 2021-09-03T20:57:43Z 2021-09-03T20:57:43Z Loans, pets and digital assets Sometimes, assumptions surface regarding certain assets, but a final answer never gets recorded. Whether these assets are of sentimental or significant value, you need to address every one of them. Here are some of the assets that occasionally get overlooked in estate planning:
  • Loans made to family members: You could afford it, and you had a generous streak. That is why you provided large, interest-free loans to your adult children who may have faced life challenges. The list may include loans for mortgages, medical debt, credit card debt, car repairs and start-up business ventures. Do you forgive the loans or subtract the loan amount from their inheritance? Do not ignore this.
  • The family pets: This list may include dogs, cats, horses, snakes, parrots and animals with special needs. All along, they have been considered part of the family, so now you must determine who will take care of them after you die. Your will should include specific instructions and set aside money for care of the pets and medical costs.
  • Digital assets: Online bank accounts, social medial accounts, cryptocurrencies and photographs are digital assets. The technological landscape really has changed in the last 25 years. You want to make sure to name someone who will manage them after you die.
  • Shipping-related costs: Your beneficiaries may have inherited large physical assets. How do they transport this furniture, fine art or even book collections thousands of miles away? Make sure to set aside money to help pay for such costs.
You want to make the final decisions regarding your estate. Please make sure to address every asset and determine where they will go.]]>
On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[What if an executor or trustee abuses their power?]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50368 2021-09-02T14:27:13Z 2021-09-02T14:27:13Z An administrator’s duty The administrator of the estate has complete control and possession of a deceased’s assets and property. Administrators have this power because they are in charge of managing and distributing the estate between the estate’s beneficiaries. However, distributing the estate is not their only duty. Among the administrator’s duties, some actions require the court’s prior approval. Some of the things that the administrator can do without giving notice of it to the court are:
  • Transfer property under certain circumstances
  • Pay taxes and assessments with the property
  • Pay expenses incurred in the collection, care and administration of the estate
  • Sell property
  • Make repairs and improvements to real and personal property of the estate
The administrator must inform the court about other actions related to the estate, especially if the actions in question benefit them in any way. For example, an action that can benefit an administrator is if they sold or transferred some of the deceased’s property to themselves.

Breach of duties

The administrator must act in the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries. If the administrator makes inappropriate decisions with the estate or fails to inform the court about specific actions, those with an interest in the estate can ask the court to remove them from their duties. Those with an interest in the estate can be the beneficiaries or a creditor.

Removal of an administrator

After an interested person asks the court to remove the administrator, the court will determine if they had a reasonable cause to ask for the administrator’s removal. If the court finds a good reason, they will make an order revoking the full authority of the administrator. This provision in the law allows beneficiaries to fight back when an administrator takes advantage of their position. After all, the deceased had trusted them with their estate, and they must face the consequences if they break that trust.]]>
On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[The parallel lines of asset planning and estate planning]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50365 2021-08-20T21:06:03Z 2021-08-20T21:06:03Z asset protection planning is creating ways that prevent creditors from getting their hands on your assets. A trust is an effective tool. You must understand, though, that preparedness is a crucial factor in asset protection. Well before creditors come into the picture, smell vulnerable assets and attack, you must research and implement an asset protection plan.

Irrevocable trusts remain solid options

Here are some ways to create an effective asset protection plan:
  • Place your estate in an irrevocable trust managed by a trustee. Assets in an irrevocable trust no longer belong to you, they belong to the trust. As result, the trust protects these assets from creditors. The same cannot be said for a revocable trust in which your personal assets remain in your control. Creditors can go after these assets and readily will.
  • Set up a spendthrift trust, which also is an irrevocable trust. Creditors clamoring for unpaid medical bills, utility bills and taxes cannot get this money. Such a trust also protects the assets from its beneficiaries who may not be adept at handling money or just have some questionable spending and personal habits. Trustees dole out the assets in small increments to beneficiaries rather than giving them a large sum.
You want to protect your family’s financial interests. Start by doing so through asset protection planning, which is a good way to begin doing that. You want your assets shielded from creditors if you become physically and mentally incapacitated as well as after you die.]]>
by Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[Some reasons why estate litigation occurs]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50363 2021-08-02T23:21:07Z 2021-08-02T23:21:07Z Breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence Here are some of the reasons why estate litigation occurs:
  • Abuse by the executor: The executor has many duties in settling the estate but, sometimes, this person neglects his or her duties or flat out commits crimes such as theft or forgery. This is an example of breach of fiduciary duty. Get that executor replaced and pursue litigation.
  • Signs of undue influence: Perhaps your parent is being abused and intimidated by your brother who is supposed to be caring for her. Such domineering behavior from your sibling may lead to him influencing your mother in the details within the will. This is a prime example of elder abuse, too.
  • Lack of mental capacity: Perhaps the testator – the person who writes and signs the will -- did so while suffering from a mental illness or even showed early signs of dementia. This could lead to an invalid will.
  • Creditors pursuing actions: This group may include companies and individuals owed money by the estate. They may file lawsuits seeking payments if the executor has neglected to pay them.
  • The division of assets: There have been many instances in which a person left out of a will has legitimate claims to secure certain assets.
Challenging a will is often something that people feel uncomfortable doing but often is the necessary thing to do. In certain circumstances, estate litigation clarifies matters within a will, especially when suspicious dealings surface.]]>
by Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[The important traits you want in an executor]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50361 2021-07-23T21:50:17Z 2021-07-23T21:50:17Z Responsible, available and patient Just what are some of the crucial traits to have in an executor? There are many, and they include:
  • Good financial standing: You want someone who understands investments and money, has a comfortable relationship with credit and has not filed for bankruptcy. This person should have a keen financial savviness that surrounds him or her.
  • Responsible: An organized, effective and level-headed executor knows how to communicate with beneficiaries, make the right – and, sometimes, difficult – decisions and can quickly take charge of estate matters.
  • Patient and confident: Your executor must deal with many different personalities, including beneficiaries (who may not get along) as well as attorneys and accountants. This person must be ready to eagerly role up his or her sleeves and confidently perform these duties.
  • Availability: Settling an estate may take up to a year or more, depending on its size. You want someone in this role focused on the duties such as settling the estate, paying outstanding bills and taxes and knows what government agencies to contact to obtain a death certificate.
Before making this important decision, please make sure to discuss with any prospective candidate whether he or she is willing to take on this role. That person can expect many challenges and many duties while earning your gratefulness.  ]]>
On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[How can business owners benefit from a Nevada Asset Protection Trust?]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50358 2021-07-23T14:26:35Z 2021-07-23T14:22:48Z What is a NAPT? A NAPT is an irrevocable trust in which the trust creator (the settlor) can also be the trust beneficiary. Once your assets are within the trust, creditors can’t gain access to them. You can transfer many business assets like intellectual property, inventory, equipment, real estate, and cash to the trust. Only 17 states allow this type of trust, and Nevada is one of the two states with no statutory exception creditors. This means that the trust will be protected from all kinds of creditors, including a divorcing spouse or child support, alimony and tort creditors.

Investment control

One of the best features of NAPTs is you can still have indirect control of your assets even if they are irrevocable trusts. This works because, in NAPTs, you cannot make distributions of your assets without the approval of another person, called the distribution trustee. You can receive the assets because you can appoint yourself as a beneficiary of the trust. Still, you can’t control the distributions, which is why creditors can’t claim the assets. However, as the settlor, you can change the terms of the trust and deny any distributions. Another Benefit of NAPTs is that they are exempt from all Nevada personal and corporate income tax.

Limitations

Creditors cannot access your assets after you transfer them to the NAPT. However, there is a limitation that you must keep in mind. Your assets will only get protection from future creditors after two years that you made the transfer. This means that you cannot transfer your assets right after someone threatens to sue or sues you or your business. If you already have existing creditors, they can challenge your transfer within the two years of the transfer or six months after they found out about it, whichever is later. If you transfer your assets in a way that violates the law, the court can accuse you of fraud.

NAPT as a preventive measure

You may not have debts now. Fortunately, you won’t have them in the future, either. However, it would be in your best interest to create a NAPT and transfer your business assets to it so that you can protect them from any future creditors. That way, you won’t risk losing your property and other assets, which you will need to grow your business.]]>
by Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[When you can no longer trust a trustee …]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50355 2021-07-08T22:24:33Z 2021-07-08T22:24:33Z trust is properly managed. A trustee has the role of managing the trust, while controlling the distribution of its assets to beneficiaries. This person carries out the wishes of the trust’s creator, known as a donor or grantor. But, sometimes, the person in this role is fumbling his or her duties through incompetence and even breach of fiduciary duty.

Signs of trustee abuse

If you suspect that the trust is not properly managed, promptly act. You may try having the person removed as the trustee and take the necessary legal steps to make sure that the abuse no longer continues. Here are signs that a trustee is shirking his or her responsibilities:
  • Non-existent or the trickling of distributions to beneficiaries: Withholding distributions is a red flag, pointing to potential signs of abuse.
  • Poor, inadequate and sloppy record-keeping: There should be clear records of the money that enters the trust and investments made with money from the trust. If you request these records and the trustee balks or delays, this is a sign something is wrong.
  • Conflict of interest: The best interests of the trust should be top of mind for any trustee. Sometimes, trustees do not do this, deciding that they really have their own personal interests in mind by making personal investments or purchasing things for themselves.
  • Commingling the trust’s assets with the trustee’s assets: The assets from a trust should remain in that trust and never mixed in with assets owned by a trustee. This represents blatant abuse.
In this estate planning scenario, litigation is an option toward resolution. The root of the word “trustee” is trust. If that trust erodes, you must figure out how to overcome these problems caused by an incompetent or dishonest trustee.]]>
by Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[If a business break-up looms, consider certain factors]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50353 2021-06-28T19:39:42Z 2021-06-28T19:39:42Z Protect yourself, prepare for litigation As a business owner expecting your company to dissolve, you must understand and focus on some key factors that may include:
  • Be aware of any hints and signs that a business partner wants to move on. Ideally, you want to part on good terms. However, that may not always happen if tensions and accusations surface. Then litigation is a near certain outcome.
  • Ideally, a business break-up should be done quickly. Lengthy and unproductive negotiations in parting ways only complicate matters.
  • Have a thorough understanding of the partnership agreement. Review leases, contracts and loans. You do not want to be solely responsible for having to pay in such matters. Protect yourself
  • If you see ways to avoid litigation, consider buying out your business partner, selling the business to him or her or even working together one last time in selling the business.
  • Contact other professionals such as attorneys and accountants. They can assist you by helping protect your interests, determining the health of the business as well as crafting a dissolution agreement.
A shattered business partnership is not an ideal outcome. However, if this situation does occur, you must be prepared to pursue legal action in order to protect yourself and your company.]]>
On Behalf of Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C. <![CDATA[Who can legally challenge a will, and when can it be contested?]]> https://www.sterlingkerrlaw.com/?p=50350 2021-06-24T20:03:32Z 2021-06-24T20:03:32Z Who has the capacity to bring a will challenge? The above-cited overview of will challenges notes the Uniform Probate Code mandate that only “interested persons” may contest a will. Although argument can sometimes attach to that, it is mostly the case that interested parties comprise a relatively predictable demographic. Persons who proceed with will contests often fall into one of these camps:
  • beneficiaries (parties specified by a testator in a will who are entitled to receive something of value; common examples are a spouse and children and other relatives, although other persons/entities are also sometimes in the mix)
  • heirs (the most central of all will beneficiaries, noted by the above-linked source as relatives who would receive estate assets even if a person died without having executed a will)
The bottom line is that so-called legal “standing” to challenge a will can be conferred only on parties who would be affected personally and financially by its terms if probated. For that reason, some parties in addition to the above-bulleted individuals – such as creditors and charities – can sometimes also contest a will. What grounds exist for bringing a will challenge? Various issues can crop up that a court will deem sufficient to warrant a will challenge. Here are some examples:
  • fail to comply with state requirements imposed to ensure lawful execution (e.g., conformance with rules regarding formalities like the presence of witnesses and the testator’s affixed signature)
  • testator’s lack of capacity (mental competency is often an issue here)
  • undue influence (alleged coercion or manipulation by a third party that results in the loss of a testator’s free will)
  • fraudulent acts (maybe the signer had no idea that the document being executed was a will)
  • abuse of power (frequently a charge against a trustee or executor)
When litigation is necessary: securing proven legal help Many matters tied to estate planning in Nevada and elsewhere – especially matters like probate proceedings and will particulars – can be complex and with a ready potential for escalation and legal challenge. When conflict emerges in the probating of an estate, an affected party can turn for candid guidance and diligent representation to a proven estate planning legal team.]]>