1. “Estate”, “assets”, and “property” are used interchangeably to refer to everything a person owns. Of course, the term “estate” can be modified to refer to only part of one’s entire estate. For example, “probate estate” refers to the property subject to administration in probate proceedings, and “taxable estate” usually refers to the property that is subject to the federal estate tax.
  2. Community property with a right of survivorship is recognized in Nevada, Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, and perhaps other states.
  3. In many states, including Nevada, the recipient of nonprobate transfers can be liable for a decedent’s debts and other obligations if the assets subject to probate are insufficient to pay those debts and obligations; however, a legal proceeding similar to a lawsuit required to enforce that liability.
  4. During each calendar year, each taxpayer can exclude certain gifts from the imposition of the gift tax. There is an “annual exclusion” applicable to gifts made to each donee (recipient) during each calendar year. This amount is $14,000 for gifts in 2013 through 2017 and is subject to cost of living increases. Other exclusions that have no dollar limitation include: (1) tuition you pay directly to the educational institution for someone else; (2) medical expenses you pay directly to the health-care institution for someone else; (3) gifts to your spouse; and (4) gifts to a charitable organization for its use. The “applicable exclusion” that is available for taxable transfers during life and at death will not be affected except as to gifts that exceed these exclusions. Gifts that exceed the annual exclusions and the lifetime “applicable exclusion” will trigger a gift tax.
  5. Internal Revenue Code § 2010(c) provides for an “applicable exclusion”, which is the cumulative amount that can pass free of gift and/or estate tax. The applicable exclusion is$5,430,000 for 2015, $5,450,000 in 2016, and $5,490,000 in 2017. For the applicable exclusion in prior years, see Tax Related Estate Planning.
  6. The maximum rate imposed for federal estate tax purposes is currently 40%. For the rates in prior years, see Tax Related Estate Planning.
  7. The federal generation-skipping transfer tax (“GST tax”) is imposed at the highest rate imposed for federal estate tax purposes, which is shown in note 6. For 2011 and beyond, the GST exemption has been the same as the applicable exclusion for estate tax. (See note 5.)
  8. Up to $100,000 if the will beneficiary or heir is your spouse.
  9. “Creditor”, in this context, refers to any person or entity to whom a person owes a financial obligation, such as a lender, a plaintiff in a lawsuit, a party to a contract, a lessor, a vendor, a service provider, or a governmental entity that is owed taxes, assessments, or fees.
  10. An “existing obligation” includes obligations arising from an event that has already occurred, whether or not a claim or lawsuit relating to that even has been formally asserted or filed. For example, if you were involved in an automobile accident that was your fault, as to any transfer of assets after the accident, all claims resulting from that accident are “existing obligations” even before those injured or harmed in the accident file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
  11. “Fraudulent transfers” include transfers that render a person insolvent or that are intended to hinder, defraud, or delay an existing creditor. Except as to an existing creditor without knowledge of a transfer to the spendthrift trust, there is a two-year deadline during which a creditor must allege a fraudulent transfer.
  12. To assist preparing a thorough list, consider downloading our Asset Inventory Checklist.