Even if you are not a celebrity or self-made millionaire, failing to plan properly will leave a huge mess for your family.
Some ways to make sure that your family is not scrambling to find assets upon your passing or spending thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees to transfer those assets to your beneficiaries are:
1. Make sure you at least have a simple Will.
The Will tells a court who you would like your Executor to be, or person that you would like to manage and oversee the probate process. If you fail to nominate someone, the court will nominate someone for you. A Will also directs the court to distribute assets to your named beneficiaries in accordance with the terms you lay out. If you do not have a Will, the state substitutes its own estate plan for yours by distributing your assets according to the state’s intestacy statutes – which may inadvertently disinherit those who you actually wanted to leave your assets to.
2. Determine if a Living Trust is good for you.
Living Trusts enable you to bypass the court probate process entirely. They enable for a smooth transition of assets from you to your beneficiaries after you are gone. Another benefit of the Living Trust is that it can provide for means to take care of you if you are ever incapacitated.
3. Title your Assets Properly.
If you have a Living Trust, it is important to “fund” the Trust with your assets. This means that you must transfer title of bank accounts, investment accounts, real property and vehicles into the name of the Trust. Otherwise, your family will have to probate the assets left in your individual name. Life Insurance and Retirement Plans should have updated beneficiary designations, which can include your Trust.
4. Keep an Updated Asset Inventory.
One of the most difficult parts of distributing a person’s assets after they are gone is figuring out exactly what that person owned before they passed away. Keeping an updated asset inventory will enable your family to effectively take over without having to scramble to figure out if or where you held investment accounts, stock, real property, etc.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, investing in setting up an estate plan now with an experienced estate planning attorney will save your estate (and your family) money in the long run. So to prevent a mess for your family, even if you are not a celebrity or self-made millionaire, take the time now to meet with an estate planning attorney and determine the best estate plan for you.
You may have recently received a “Welcome Letter” from the Nevada Department of Taxation notifying you of the newly enacted Commerce Tax laws.
The Commerce Tax is a new tax levied annually on each business entity that (1) does business in Nevada, and (2) earned gross revenue in Nevada for the fiscal year that exceeds $4,000,000. However, even exempt entities or business entities whose gross revenues in a fiscal year do not exceed $4,000,000, will be required to take certain actions before the August 15th deadline.
Exempt entities must file the Exempt Status Entity Form using the Tax ID number provided in the Welcome Letter. You can submit the Exempt Status Entity Form to the Department of Taxation by mail or through the Nevada Tax Center system. After submitting the Exempt Status Entity Form, your exempt entity will be in compliance with the Commerce Tax laws and will be removed from further Commerce Tax related mailings.
The list of entities exempt from the Commerce Tax is limited to:
Natural person, unless such person is engaged in a business and files Schedule C, E (Part 1) or F with the federal tax return;
Non-profit organization pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code;
Business entity organized pursuant to NRS 82 or NRS 84;
Grantor trust, excluding a trust taxable as a business entity for federal tax purposes;
Estate of a natural person, excluding an estate taxable as a business entity for federal tax purposes;
Certain REITs – Real Estate Investment Trusts
REMIC – Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit
Entity, which only owns and manages intangible investments, such as stocks, bonds, patents, trademarks
Participant in an exhibition NOT required to obtain state business license (NRS 360.780)
Any person or entity which is prohibited from taxing pursuant to Constitution or law
Our office has been assisting many of our clients with this newly adopted Commerce Tax. If you have questions regarding how to file, or if you are exempt or non-exempt, we suggest contacting your attorney, accountant or calling the Department of Taxation.
Attorney Jason C. Walker
Even single member LLC’s should have operating agreements. The importance of an operating agreement seems obvious when unrelated parties are partners in an LLC; but the need seems less apparent when there is one member or if the member of the LLC is a husband and wife or a joint trust. Having an operating agreement is a tangible item that demonstrates the intent that the LLC be treated as a legitimate business. A creditor attempting to pierce, or reverse pierce, the veil of the LLC is likely to use the lack of an operating agreement to try to prevail in litigation.
The operating agreement should also be updated from time to time to reflect changes in ownership or management. For instance, in estate planning matters we often have clients assign their ownership of their LLC to a revocable trust or a Nevada On-Shore Trust (domestic asset protection trust). The resulting change in ownership or a change in the named manager should be updated in the operating agreement with an amendment to the operating agreement or a restatement of the operating agreement.