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writing your own will

How to Write Your Will While Stuck at Home During the Corona Virus Pandemic

The current Corona Virus pandemic has caused all of us, to some degree, to recognize that our time on earth can be fleeting. I know that I have felt an increased desire to have those I love close to me, and to know that they are, and will be okay.

Maybe you have previously thought about preparing a will, and now you are worried that you will not be able to see an attorney to help review and prepare the document. Do not despair, Nevada, and many other states, allow for what is called a Holographic Will that you can prepare on your own while in lock down.

How to write a valid holographic will

To prepare a valid holographic will in the State of Nevada requires:

• You are over the age of eighteen and are of sound mind;
• All materials terms – the important parts – must be written in your handwriting; and
• The document must be signed and dated (NRS 133.090).

So grab a sheet of paper, or anything you can write on, and write down your desires and last wishes (though I’d suggest you save the toilet paper for other uses right now). Date it, sign it, and put it somewhere safe. There are better days to come, so let us be hopeful and do what we can right now. Stay safe out there.

Can Clear Counsel Law Group help with my will?

Clear Counsel Law Group is not currently taking in-person meetings, but we are available for phone calls and video conferences to discuss your estate planning needs.

Taylor L. Waite
702-476-5900
taylor@clearcounsel.com

Clear Counsel Law Group’s plans for Covid-19

Dear Clients and Friends of Clear Counsel Law Group,

We write to provide an update on Clear Counsel Law Group’s plans to continue operations in light of Governor Sisalak’s announcement last night that all non-essential businesses should close for 30 days. Please be assured that we will continue operating the firm and that our attorneys and staff remain available by telephone and email and will continue to work on your case as normal. However, we have made some adjustments to our office environment to be part of the solution.

 

Our staff and attorneys will be working remotely during the next 30 days.

Since the beginning of Clear Counsel Law Group, we have had a commitment to technology that will allow our attorneys and staff to seamlessly transition to remote working situations. Our client files are securely stored online and accessible to our attorneys and staff anywhere they go. Of course, there will be some adjustments as we make this temporary adjustment, but we are confident that we will be able to continue to provide services to you without any significant interruption.

 

We have implemented a closed-door office policy.

This means that we will not accept any walk-ins or in-person meetings at this time. If you currently have an appointment for an in-person meeting, you will be contacted by the staff member or attorney on your matter to reschedule. We have the ability to conduct videoconferences as needed, and, of course, phone calls are always welcome and will be the preferred method of meeting with you at this time.

 

Deliver documents to us via email or fax. Our fax number is (702) 924-0709.

If you are unable to email or fax the documents, you may drop off the documents in a drop box that will be at our front desk. Please ensure that the documents you drop are enclosed in a sealed envelope with the name of the attorney or staff member to whom the documents should be directed.

 

Please continue to call or email as normal.

Our phones will still be ringing and will be answered as normal and we will still be checking and responding to our emails as normal. Email is the preferred method of communication at this time, though phone calls are welcome as well.

 

We continue to closely monitor developments with the courts.

The District Court in Las Vegas has already announced significant changes to its operations and to court hearings. We presume that additional temporary changes will continue to be made. We will do all that we can within the limits allowed by the courts to continue to pursue your matter in court. If any changes affect your matter specifically, we will contact you to let you know.

 

We are grateful that you have trusted us with your legal matter. We will continue to give your matter the high quality of service that we expect from ourselves. If you have any questions or concerns about how your matter will be affected, please do not hesitate to contact your attorney or staff member here and we will gladly talk with you about your matter.

 

Jonathan Barlow

Managing Partner

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Updated: December 2019.

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wrongful death in nevada

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Las Vegas, Nevada

The impact of having a loved one die before their time is devastating. The knowledge that their death occurred because of someone’s negligence makes it even more difficult to deal with the unexpected tragedy. States differ in how residents can make a wrongful death claim and what dictates when someone else was negligently responsible. In Nevada, anyone who feels that they have a valid claim should contact a personal injury attorney to learn their options for getting compensation.

The Free Dictionary defines wrongful death as the taking of a life due to another person’s willful or negligent act by one or more persons. When a person’s death occurs under these circumstances, the beneficiaries who relied on the victim’s income to support them can file a claim to get compensation. The limits of compensation and the determination of who is allowed to file a claim are determined by the state.

When someone is charged with the crime of murder and found innocent, it does not mean that they cannot be found guilty of wrongful death. As mentioned in an article in the LA Times, there are numerous celebrity cases where the individual has been found innocent of criminal charges only to be found liable for a person’s death in a civil case. One of the most familiar stories is that of O.J. Simpson in connection with the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman.

The Goal of Most Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Although many families would prefer to get just for their loved ones through criminal charges when the situation calls for it, the goal of most wrongful death lawsuits is to get compensation that is fair and just. The claim must be filed in court by a person who is allowed by the state of Nevada to legally represent the victim. Different circumstances can result in a person’s death. Those that are most common are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Premises Liability (often called “slip and fall” or “trip and fall”)
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Negligence of Any Kind

Once the representative of the victim wins the lawsuit, the offender is required to pay compensation if they are found guilty. The three types of compensation that they can receive are economic compensation, non-economic compensation and punitive damage. Economic compensation refers to the money acquired for medical expenses that the victim incurred prior to their death. They can also go towards the burial and funeral costs, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-economic compensation is for the psychological impact of the death on the family. These include pain and suffering, depression and grief, and loss of companionship. Although most people understand that financial compensation will not reduce the emotional impact of the loss, economic compensation will help reduce the financial burden the death has had on the family. Punitive damages can also be used to punish the person for causing the injury.

A good personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, NV can help you determine whether you have a valid wrongful death case and how you will need to go about pursuing it.

contesting a will

How to Contest a Will in Nevada

In the state of Nevada, a Last Will and Testament is presumed valid – even if it was written by the deceased person themselves on the back of a napkin just days before their passing. In fact, a valid holographic will only requires 3 things to be valid: that it be hand written, hand dated, and signed.

This, of course, leads to potential problems. What if the deceased didn’t have the mental capacity to make a will? What if he or she was coerced or influenced by somebody to the point that the will doesn’t actually represent their true desires?  That’s when the will must be contested.

woman writing a will

The challenge of contesting a will in Nevada

Proving any of those things will be a fight.

Contesting a will in Nevada is basically just another form of litigation. The contestant is in the role of the plaintiff, and the petitioner for the probate of the will is filling the role of the defendant. The regular rules of civil litigation also apply to will contests. Each party can gather information about the other side’s claims in the “discovery” process using the usual litigation tools of “interrogatories” and through depositions. There is going to be an evidentiary hearing, which is a lot like a trial.

The contestant has to make their case very well. As described above, the judge is going to have the default view that whatever will exists is valid. Therefore to prove the will is invalid, your case must prove one of the following:

  1. the will was not properly signed and witnessed,
  2. the testator lacked mental capacity, or
  3. there was coercion or undue influence by somebody and therefore the will is not representative of the testator’s true desire.

 

The process of contesting a will in Nevada

First, you must have “standing” to contest a will, meaning you have the legal right to bring your challenge to the court. Nevada has strong rules about who qualifies as an “interested person” in these cases and is therefore qualified as to their standing. Basically you have to have some kind of claim to the estate.

Once a will is contested, the probate court will probably appoint somebody to act as “Special Administrator” to administer the estate until the contest reaches resolution. The special administrator is not to distribute the estate until after the case resolves. The special administrator must be a Nevada resident, or a bank, or a trust company (or be associated with one of those as co-Administrator).

The litigation will proceed along established rules for Nevada. It is important to have an experienced Nevada probate law firm help you. Litigation is complex, and probate only makes it more complicated. A will being “unfair” is not good enough to get it thrown out. You will need a team to build your case and present your evidence in a way that the probate court will accept.

If you need to contest a will in Nevada, please call us today.

Power of Attorney For Mother

How Can I Get Power of Attorney For My Mother?

The question, “how can I get power of attorney” for a person is among the most frequent inquiries our estate planning department receives. Most people have a general idea of what a power of attorney is, however, relatively few understand how it is granted and when it can be granted. This article will discuss the two main types of power of attorney and what they cover, how someone can grant power of attorney to another person, and the importance of capacity during execution of the power of attorney.

What is Power of Attorney and What Authority Can it Grant?

Nevada law defines “Power of Attorney” as “a writing or other record that grants authority to acting the place of the principal.”[1] The principal is the “individual who grants authority to an agent in a power of attorney.”[2]

Nevada deals mainly with two types of power of attorney: Power of Attorney for Financial Matters and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions. Each power of attorney is important in its own sphere and a principal should ideally execute both.

The financial power of attorney allows the principal to appoint an agent to whom she can grant authority over several items including real property, personal property, bank accounts, and the personal maintenance of the principal. The principal can also elect whether to make the power of attorney effective immediately or upon the determination of doctor that the principal no longer has capacity.

The health care power of attorney allows the principal to appoint an agent she authorizes to make health care decisions on her behalf if she is otherwise unable to make those decisions herself. This power of attorney also allows the principal to declare her desires in regard to whether she wants life prolonging treatments commenced or continued.

Execution of Power of Attorney

Nevada law requires certain procedures to validly execute a power of attorney. The financial power of attorney and power of attorney for health care decisions both have their own set of requires for the actual execution of the power of attorney.

The financial power of attorney must be sign by the principal, or in the principal’s conscious presence by a person directed by the principal to sign the principal’s name. The signature is presumed to be valid if notarized.[3]

The health care power of attorney must be signed by the principal and the signature must either be notarized or witnessed by two adults who know the principal personally.[4] The witnesses also cannot be a health care provider or the appointed agent and the at least one witness must be a person who is not related to principal and has no interest in the principal’s estate.[5]

The Importance of Capacity

Besides proper execution, the statutes governing power of attorney also provide extra requirements for validity in certain situations to ensure that the principal is competent to execute the power of attorney. One of the most important aspects of establishing a power of attorney is that this is not an authority or position that a potential agent can actively seek out and obtain on their own; you cannot go and “get” power of attorney. Rather, this authority is granted to the agent by the principal of their own volition. A person lacking capacity cannot make this appointment.

Nevada law is careful to only allow competent persons with capacity to execute powers of attorney. The law is so concerned with a principal’s competency that it requires proof of competency in certain cases. The statutes for both the financial power of attorney and the health care power of attorney provide that, “if the principal resides in a hospital, residential facility for groups, facility for skilled nursing or home for individual residential care,” when the power of attorney is executed, the power of attorney must be accompanied by a certificate of competency from a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist declaring that the principal has the requisite capacity to execute the power of attorney.[6]

The Importance of Power of Attorney

A valid power of attorney is a vital part of any person’s estate planning. Unlike other parts of an estate plan which contemplate what happens after a person dies, powers of attorney take into account a person’s needs during their lifetime. In many cases, a valid power of attorney can prevent the need for a court-appointed guardianship. The cost of having the power of attorney correctly executed is well worth any person’s time and can certainly simplify matters when caring for a loved one in need of assistance.

[1] NRS 162A.090.

[2] NRS 162A.110.

[3] NRS 162A.220(1).

[4] NRS 162A.790(2).

[5] NRS 162A.790(3)-(4).

[6] NRS 162A.220(2); NRS 162A.790(5).

common motorcycle injuries

Common Motorcycle Injuries

Anybody who rides knows that careless drivers can cause a crash in an instant. But what are the most common motorcycle injuries? Is a motorcycle crash always going to cause severe injuries, or is there hope for a less intense “ride?” Here are the most common types of motorcycle injuries.

Head Injuries

common biker injuriesThe sad truth is that head injuries are the most common motorcycle injury. This is because so many riders choose to go without a helmet. There is some good news, however, which is that the National Highway Safety Center for Statistics estimates that thousands of riders’ lives were saved thanks to wearing a helmet. Like most states, Nevada has a motorcycle helmet law which requires helmets to be worn not just by riders, but by all passengers on a motorcycle.

As a side-note: if you were in a motorcycle crash and didn’t have a helmet, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re responsible for any head injuries. Don’t trust anybody who says otherwise. Talk to one of our motorcycle injury lawyers for REAL legal advice on this important subject.

Road Rash

Spend any time with riders, either in person or online, and you’ll quickly hear about road rash. Everybody knows that head injuries are serious and could affect you for your entire life. However, most non-motorcycle riders don’t know that the same is true with road rash. It’s far more than just a little scrape.

Road rash can be severe enough to cause infection, nerve damage, and permanent scars across wide areas of the body. In extreme cases, sliding across the road during an accident can literally peel the skin off of an entire limb – a horrifying trauma called “degloving.”

Muscle Damage

Muscle damage ranks high on the list not only because of damage your soft tissues may incur during an accident, but because repetitive use of certain muscles can cause injury for those who ride frequently.

But during a motorcycle crash, your muscles are exposed to damage and injury. It can happen during the impact, if you fall a certain way, if you get pinned under something, or in any one of a thousand other ways.

In some cases, muscle damage can be treated by specialized doctors. Full use of the damaged tissues can be restored given enough time and treatment. However in many cases the damage can cause lifetime problems.

Biker’s Arm

Biker’s arm is the term used to describe what happens to the arm when it’s used to break a fall. You probably know what we’re talking about: You feel yourself falling or tipping over, and you very naturally want to break your fall by putting up your arms to protect your head.

During a motorcycle crash, motorcyclists will have that same instinct, even if there’s no way that your hands could possibly protect you. It’s just human instinct – built into us. So what happens? The rider finds himself flying through the air and raises his arms to protect himself from the impact. The end result is torn ligaments, broken bones, and damaged nerves.

Broken Legs

The legs of a motorcycle rider are exposed in ways that automobile drivers’ legs are not. This means damaged and broken legs happen far more often to riders during a motorcycle accident. A severe leg injury can snap bones which themselves cut into muscle, veins, and nerves. It is not uncommon for a rider with leg damage to be unable to ride ever again due to long-term complications related to a leg injury.

While protective gear may help mitigate some of the minor injuries legs commonly get – such as road rash – there’s really no good way to prevent legs from breaking. Don’t ever believe somebody who says it’s your own fault.

Your Injuries Are Not Your Fault.

When a crash occurs the insurance companies will try and get out of paying what they should by saying things like “you chose to ride a motorcycle – you assumed the higher risk.” or “You didn’t wear your protective gear that day.” or “you could have done something to make your injuries less.” This is nonsense. DO. NOT. LISTEN. TO. THEM.

You have the absolute right to safety and security on the roads. When another person violates those rights, it is NOT your fault that injuries occurred to you.

Our motorcycle crash lawyers will take a stand for your legal rights. Do not agree with the insurance companies. Do not say yes to them. You let us handle them and make it clear that they must keep their legal promises to you.

If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash, call us NOW. (702)-522-0696

las vegas real estate

Las Vegas Finally Picks Up After 2008

Clear Counsel Law Group is pleased to feature this blog post by our friend Margaretha Breytenbach who has helped many of our clients make responsible real estate decisions.

The Great Recession of 2008 became known as the 2008 financial crisis and it made way for the most widespread disruption to the US economy ever since the Great Depression is the 30’s. It started in 2007 when the US real estate market began falling apart and delinquencies of mortgages increased. By September and October of 2008, it created a nationwide financial disaster. The US government provided extraordinary assistance to financial institutions by flooding the market with money, adding liquidity and increasing government spending.

When the leverage credit market seized up, and the US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went flop during the summer, the government was distressed since these two are highly important in the US real estate market. Since the failure of those two institutions could cause the fall of the entire financial system, the US treasury injected $200Billion of funds as new capital in the form of stocks.

Jobs and Tourism

Las Vegas, being one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the US, became the epicenter of foreclosures. When there are only few people left spending their earnings in a casinos, hotels and bars, incomes get depleted, and mortgages go unpaid. The unemployment rate rose when business tried their best not to go underwater by cutting manpower. Many are yet to recover from it.

Many construction projects were put on hold when US citizens felt Vegas party trips were no longer a responsible use of income. Major constructions went bankrupt and halted their completion like the Summerlin shops and Cosmopolitan. Everyone in our tourism-driven community felt the pinch.

Why now is a Good Time to Invest in a Home?

Everyone almost gave up when we went so near rock bottom. Even the middle class has bankruptcy declarations; about 13,068 (individual and business) foreclosures were from the Clark County. It increased by 2010 to 25,000 but eventually recovered in the first quarters of 2015 to 4,566.

The market was slow in picking up the pieces left by this upheaval in the US housing bubble. However, the latest findings show that where it struck hardest, the recovery will also rise fastest. Las Vegas had made the largest jump in the number of renters to owners ratio from 39.5% (2006) to 49.4% (2014).

Home values are now recovering at a fast pace; more so due to the fact those tourists are again pouring back to the Strip. Businesses are booming. All temporized construction and plans are resumed. Las Vegas is reinvented and reinvigorated.

Born and Raised in South Africa, Margaretha has moved in the USA since 2004 after extensive travel through Europe. Well versed in the international market, she was also able to cater her Real Estate services to those from Canada, China and Europe. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, invest as a first time home buyer or a seasoned investor; it would be Margaretha’s honor to apply her strong negotiating skills to your transaction. She is motivated to build a strong business relationship with all her clients and can show you why she is the right person to market your home.“Top 100 Women in Real Estate in 2017” by MYVEGAS Magazine, Top 10 Real Estate Agents on Social Media by Property Sparks and currently the #1 Real Estate agent for 2018 with Urban Nest Realty.

Contact information:

Mobile: 702-813-1770

email: mbreytenbach@mac.com

photos after car accident

What to Photograph After an Auto Accident

In auto accident cases, seeing is definitely believing. Often, one picture can do more good or harm to a case than hours and hours of witness testimony. This is also true when negotiating with insurance adjusters. The more photographic evidence of car damage and bodily injury they receive, the more likely they are to offer higher amounts of money to settle your case. With the prevalence of smart phones and camera phones, there is no excuse for not taking photographs to document your auto accident. If you are ever in an accident, you should immediately take photographs of three things.

Photograph the Car That Hit You.

First, you should take photographs of the car that hit you. This should always be done FIRST because you never know how long the other driver will remain at the scene. It might feel a little awkward taking photographs of someone else’s car, but it is very important. If the other driver protests, tell him or her that your insurance company has instructed you to take pictures of the scene. Often, this will be your only chance to document the damage to the other car. The other driver’s insurance will not allow you or your attorney to view any of its own photos until after a lawsuit is filed. This is because in a rear-end accident, the front of the rear car almost always shows more damage than the rear of the front car. The front of a car has more things that can be broken (grill, lights, etc.) than the back of a car, which is usually just a solid plastic bumper. In addition, when the other driver’s insurance company does take pictures of the damage, they will usually have the car cleaned to remove any dirt streaks that may make the damage look worse. They will also take pictures from angles that minimize how bad the damage looks. Thus, you must protect your case by immediately taking pictures of the other driver’s car.

Photograph The Damage to Your Car.

Second, you should take pictures of the damage to your car. If possible (and not dangerous), do this at the scene. When you take the photos at the scene, this removes any argument from the other driver’s insurance company that you may have tampered with your car before taking the photos. The other driver’s insurance company will eventually schedule an “estimate”. This is their opportunity to assess the damage to your car before offering to make any repairs. At the time of the estimate, the representative for the other insurance
company will take multiple pictures. Again, these pictures will be taken from angles that minimize the damage that is shown. In fact, some estimators have been known to carry towels and other cleaning supplies with them so they can try to buff out as many scratches and streaks as possible before taking photos. If you have taken photos of your car at the scene, these photos will help show a jury that the insurance company is trying to trick them into believing there was less damage to your car than there actually was. Your photos will have more credibility because they were taken much more closely in time to the accident than whatever photos the other driver’s insurance company may take.

Take Photos of Your Injuries

Third, you should take photos of any injuries to your body. Visual representations of injuries are much more powerful than simple descriptions. If you notice any bruising or scratches caused by your accident, you should photograph them immediately. Often when we are negotiating with insurance adjusters we will push them to their highest offer and then send them a client’s injury photographs. This automatically triggers an increase in the amount of money (called “reserves” or “authority”) that the adjuster can offer. The insurance company never wants a jury to see injury photos because they prove that the impact of the accident was definitely strong enough to cause injury.

If you are ever in an auto accident, make the simple effort to photograph these three things as soon as possible. Doing so will often increase the amount of money you are awarded at the end of your case.

Clear Counsel Law group

Contact Info

1671 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Suite 200,
Henderson, NV 89012

+1 702 522 0696
info@clearcounsel.com

Daily: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment Only

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