Hello and welcome to trusted the podcast where we talk about all things involving Trust Attorney Las Vegas. I’m Blake Johnson and Nevada estate planning attorney. In your host. Today we are going to be talking about wills or is there formally known your last will and testament. Now, according to Arp, 60% of Americans have no will or estate plan. I also found an investment news. They said that if you have a kid under 18, only 36% of Americans have a will. Uh, interestingly enough, in that same study, 58% of Republicans do have wills versus 38% of Democrats that do have wills. Um, so don’t let what your political affiliation has to do with your ability to go and get a planning done. But just an interesting side note for you. So once again, that was from investment news. Now that same study, when they asked participants why they did not have an estate plan or a will or a trust or anything like that, the top two responses they got was, I just haven’t gotten around to it.
Pretty typical, right? We just put it off. Or number two, I don’t have enough assets to leave anyone. So today I want to address those two excuses and why they’re really not a valid excuse and why you should do a will and then how I’m going to give you a simple way to temporarily do what will for yourself tonight. So you don’t have any excuses. You can’t put it off, you can do it tonight. Um, but like I said, that’s a temporary fix until you can get into an attorney to get it done. So if you’ve listened to my podcast on trust, then you know that I’ve said before that will’s just guarantee that your assets go through probate court. Uh, and that’s not what we want and in most situations, okay, cause it’s costly. You know, we’re talking about at least 5% of your total estate value to attorney’s fees and court costs.
And it ties up the assets for a minimum of six months, usually much longer than that. So Blake, let’s say I have a trust. Why do I need a will? It’s a great question. So the first reason is that the, if you have a trust, the will is a backup and says if you forget to put your assets into the trust. So, um, you know, you open a new bank account and you didn’t do it in the name of the trust and they die and there’s, you know, $50,000 in that savings account, what happens to it? Well that has to go through probate, but your will says, I want to put back into my trust. So it’s governed by the trust terms and nobody knows exactly who gets the money. Okay. Becomes a will is when it goes through probate court is a public document versus a trust is a private document and never gets recorded anywhere.
Um, interestingly enough, a will is a kind of like an option while you’re living, it doesn’t have any validity. Uh, the will is only effective after your death. So, um, you know, you compare that to a trust. A trust is an ongoing document from the second you signed that document. It’s a governing document over the assets that are titled in the name of that trust. When you set up a business that’s a living document has an operating agreement that governs how it’s operated, but the will is kind of like an option. So when Trust Attorney Las Vegas stocks you have, you either purchase a stock where you can have the op, you can purchase an option to buy the stock. And that’s kind of what the will is saying. Hey, if I don’t change my mind, if I don’t execute something different, this is what’s going to happen when I die.
But I could revoke it at any time. I can change the terms of my will at any time. And um, you know, I could set up a trust and then the will wouldn’t be affected at all. Uh, so really different than any other document that we’ve talked about so far. So the, the next thing I want to talk about is the most important reason that you would do a will. And this is regardless whether you have a trust or not. And that’s because the will is the place where you name who the guardian of your minor children is going to be. So reason you want to do that is if you died with nothing in place, let’s say even if you didn’t have any assets. Okay. Do you want the government or a judge to decide who gets to take care of your kids? Let’s say, you know, you have a sibling you haven’t heard from in years.
They hear that you died, that you had kids and they come and they make a petition to the court and say, Hey, look, I’m family. I, I want to take the kids and care for him. If nobody else comes forward and says anything, or even if it’s a friend that does, guess what? The court’s going to tend to lean towards family. And so that’s silly. You don’t nothing about, now has your kid’s not a great situation. Um, you know, you want to be able to choose the person who has the same values that you do. A person who’s going to, you know, raise your kids the same way as far as health standards goes. Uh, as far as eating habits, you know, playing sports, being involved in music, what kind of vacations they go on, what kind of restrictions they have on for video games.
All those things go into who’s going to be the guardian of your minor children. Like I said, that is put into your will. So I’d say at minimum you want to put who your primary person is. The next you want to put who your backup is. If you want to put a third or a fourth options for that guardian of your minor children, you know, do it. It does not hurt to have more names. That just means that if you know the person who’s first is still living, they take care of kids, um, and they don’t have to do a whole lot to prove that other than that they’re that person and that this was your last will. So number one most important reason to do a will is if you have minor children or if your guardian for minor grandchildren, you need to do a will to be able to say who you want to be.
The person who to raise them. Now, the other reason we’re going to do a will, if you haven’t done any other estate planning, is to to dictate terms as far as when your kids get the money. And the default is if you don’t do any plannings, they get it as as they turn 18 now, I don’t know about you, but as an 18 year old I was, you know, responsible. But you know, if I got $1 million from a life insurance policy from my parents, that would not have been good. You know, no matter what the kid is like, $1 million can ruin, ruin a kid because they all send sudden have freedom and flexibility. They didn’t know they’re not ready for that. They haven’t learned how to manage money at that point. So within the will, you can do what’s called a testament Terry trust. It says the terms of, you know, how your kid gets the money.
Now ideally you would want to do the living trust to avoid the whole probate process, but that is an option as to do it through your, your last will and testament. So moral of the story is don’t put off your will and your trust any longer. It’s more efficient. It’s definitely less costly and it’s definitely the best situation for you and your kids to have a plan in place to dictate what you want. And, um, you know, I’m actually hurting myself from my business perspective by telling you these things because I make way more money off of a probate. You know, even let’s say it’s only a, the only asset is a house worth $200,000. I am going to make, uh, you know, I usually charge somewhere between five and $8,000 to do that versus, you know, typical fee here in Nevada for a living trust is somewhere in the 1500 to $2,500 range.
So, you know, look at the numbers that make sense to plan ahead and to get that done. So, um, now the second statement we talked about earlier from that study from investment news, I do not have enough assets. Well, as I already mentioned before, if you have minor kids, you need to do a wheel to specify who, who’s going to get them. You know, whether you have assets or not, who’s going to raise them is probably more important. So that right there takes care of it. Now if you have a thing, you know, a term life insurance policy, it’s going to pay out a few die. You know, there’s no cash value now, but that is an asset and that’s going to pay out to the, to the kids. So, you know, once again through the will or I, ideally through the trust, you can dictate when the kids get that money, what it needs to be used for until they’re ready and mature enough to be able to handle that money.
Now let me give you another example of where having a will, uh, comes, comes in really handy. So I had a client, um, had, uh, had set everything up right, had everything in their trust and uh, he’d passed away and all those assets were good. And what had happened is his aunt had died about three months before. And so he, he was going to inherit some money from her. It was a significant amount of money. Now, um, because he died before the money was paid out and it wasn’t in his trust name. We had to do probate for that asset. Uh, even though it was cash, they couldn’t make it out to his name cause he was deceased. They couldn’t make it out to the trust cause that wasn’t listed in the beneficiary of her will. And um, so we had to go through probate court.
Now if we hadn’t had that will in place that said that it went into his trust. If we just did default state law, it would have gone half to his kids cause it’s anything inherited his separate property. Um, actually two thirds to his kids and only a third to his cause it was from a different marriage. So, you know, really interesting situation. Um, but because we had done the planning, had the will in place, it fixed all that and it all went to spouse, which is what he wanted to have happen. So you know, we never know what’s going to happen. Plan ahead. Do your, we’ll do your trust, your power of attorneys, all those things. It makes sense to get it done ahead of time. Now, as I said before, I’m going to give you, uh, a short term fix that you can do tonight to fix a, to, to fix your problems so that you have something in place.
I guess the short term, you ideally still want to go to an attorney and get something done that’s professional, but most states, not all, but most states have something called a holographic will. And what that means is it’s 100% in your handwriting. So if you go home tonight and you write on a piece of paper, you know, I, I Blake, I revoke, I declare this to be my last will and testament and I revoke all prior wills and codicils. I’m married to, you know, my spouse. Uh, we have two kids and we name so-and-so is the guardian of those kids. If my wife survives me, I want her to get on my whole state. If she doesn’t, everything goes to my kids. And it’s to be held in trust for their benefit, uh, until age 30 when they can get the money prior to that, they can be used for their health, education and support.
And then I signed at the bottom, I dated at the top. That is considered a valid will. Once again, that’s a holographic will. Main Trust Attorney Las Vegas requirements are, it must be in your own handwriting and 100%. You can’t type it out and then sign at the bottom. You have to write out every word you need, a dated at the top sign at the bottom. Ideally you’d name who would handle the estate. That person is sometimes referred to as a personal representative or an executor. Um, you name who the guardian of your minor children are. You do not need witnesses. You do not need a notary. And this is, you know, only if your state is not complicated. Um, or you, it’s a temporary fix until you can go in and see someone. So he used to have something in place. So if you have not done any planning, go home tonight, get this done so you have something in place. And then go see a qualified estate planning attorney. So that’s wills in a nutshell. Thank you for listening. This is Blake Johnson in Nevada state planning attorney and your host for the trusted podcast. Goodbye.