Barlow & Flake

What is Estate Planning?

Jonathan Barlow, Estate Attorney

Jonathan Barlow, Estate Attorney

To put it simply, Estate Planning is when you decide how you want your assets taken care of after you pass away.

Estate planning can be simple and straightforward, such as a will that simply asks that all your assets be given to a certain charity or person. On the other hand, some estates become tremendously complicated and require special consideration for your children, business partners, creditors, and so on. In many cases, people want to be sure that their assets are used to continue the work they’ve started, even after they’re gone. In all these situations, estate planning can help you ensure that things proceed just as you desire.

The two most common ways to do estate planning are with a will or a trust.


In the state of Nevada, a person can write their own will if they want. However, they must do it themselves, and they must have it signed by a witness. Such wills are called “holographic wills.” These documents will be honored as much as possible when the estate goes to probate court.

Wills don’t get an estate out of facing probate court, and even if you have a legal will, a judge might overrule some or all of your wishes. For example, if you were to indicate that you don’t want any of your estate used to pay your debts, the judge would likely ignore that desire.


Creating a trust is a powerful tool to not only protect your estate from probate court, but to ensure that your desires for your assets are carried forward long after your death. Trusts come in dozens of shapes and sizes, and can be made to suit the simple to the very complex estate planning situation.

Trusts can avoid probate, and help escape estate taxes. Well conceived trusts can save an estate millions of dollars at the time of a person’s passing.

When should I do Estate Planning?

You should do estate planning as soon as you can. If you’re just starting out a simple trust can provide years of protection for your family. If you’re in retirement, competent estate planning can protect your assets in case of huge medical expenses, and ensure your assets are distributed according to your will. In short, there’s no bad time to speak with a trusted estate attorney.

Talking with one of our estate attorneys is free. We can consult with you and decide what’s the best path for you and your family. Call us today.

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