Can a Witness be Compelled to Appear in Probate Court?

 

 

 

How to Require a Witness to Appear in Probate Court

Transcript:

Hello, my name is Jonathan Barlow. I’m a probate and trust attorney in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. In particular over the course of my career I have handled many trust and estate disputes so disputed matters, litigation matters within the probate and trust context.

It often comes up that we become aware as we’re trying to resolve this dispute, as we’re trying to get the court to have a trial on it and determine what should happen, we often become aware that there is a person somewhere who has information, a witness, who has information that would be helpful for us in our disputed case.

If that’s your situation, you come to me and say, “We’ve got to get this testimony of Joe. Joe knows what happened in that situation. He could tell us what happened.”

There are two things that I could do to help you get that testimony and make sure that the court hears that testimony.

 

How I Compel A Witness to Testify

The question is, can we make Joe come to court and testify as a witness? Is there a legal process that we can force Joe to come into court as a witness?

First, if Joe is in the state of Nevada and our case is happening here in Nevada, yes. I can give a subpoena to him, have a subpoena served on him. It’s a legal document, a legal command to Joe that says, “Joe, you are commanded by the state of Nevada to appear at a certain place at a certain time to give testimony.”

That’s usually in a trial. We can have a subpoena served on him. He is legally required to come to court to give his testimony. Now Joe can choose to ignore that and not show up and that’s a risk that could happen. However if he does that he’s going to be in contempt of court, he could face jail time and a civil penalty, so usually people don’t ignore those subpoenas.

 

What if the Witness Doesn’t Live in Nevada?

Now the second situation that often comes up though, which is a little bit sticker is, what if Joe is in New York? How can we get him from New York into Nevada?

We’ve got to have this information from Joe. In this situation, a lot of law firms get bogged down and they get tripped up on this and they say, “Well, we can’t do it. We can’t bring Joe into Nevada.”

That’s true, but we can’t stop there and we don’t stop there.

It’s true, there is no legal process to force Joe to come from New York to Nevada to give his testimony. However, there is a way to get his testimony, preserve it so that we can use it in trial, and to support your case.

What we do is we start again with that basic Nevada subpoena and the Nevada subpoena says, “Joe, you’ve got to give us testimony.”

We take that Nevada subpoena, we go to New York. We’d go open a case in New York actually and have the New York courts take the Nevada subpoena and out of that, create a New York based subpoena where the state of New York says, “Joe,” just the same thing as in Nevada, “Joe, you are commanded to appear at a certain place and a certain time within the state of New York to give testimony.”

 

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I as the attorney can either fly out there to be there in person which is most effective. It can be done over the phone if the parties agree.

I’ll go out there to New York. Joe arrives, he’s put under oath just as if he is in a court of law, sitting there at trial, he takes an oath to tell the truth.

We have a court reporter there who’s taking down every word that’s being said just as if we’re sitting in a court. I get the opportunity to ask him questions. He’s under oath to tell the truth and answer those questions. We get the opportunity to preserve his testimony through what’s called a deposition. That’s that deposition process.

Now we bring that deposition back to Nevada and we get to the point of having our trial. We call Joe and say, “Hey Joe. We’d really appreciate you coming out to Nevada to come to the trial and give your testimony.” Joe says, “Not going to do it. Not coming out there. Not going to take the time nor the expense to do that.”

 

The Value of a Witness Deposition

We’re not up a creek. In that situation, we can go in and ask the court to allow us to have permission to use Joe’s deposition, to use the video from that deposition or to simply have the transcript, the document read, the answers and questions read, into court at the trial. That’s treated just as if Joe was sitting there in court at trial giving his testimony.

That’s a way to preserve his testimony even though he’s all the way out on the other side of the country and even though we can’t legally command him to Nevada to give that testimony.

You’re not out of luck if we’ve got to get this testimony from other people and we here at Clear Counsel know how to do that process and we’ve gone through that process of going to other states to get those subpoenaed issued in the other states to get that testimony.

We’ve flown to other states to take that testimony and use it in trials successfully to preserve their testimony.

If you’re in that situation, where you’re wondering about getting this evidence or testimony or we need this information from a witness, we here at Clear Counsel would be glad to talk to you about that.

We do a free consultation to review your case, to review the disputes that you’re having and help you plan a way to resolve those disputes and preserve testimony from witnesses whether they’re in Nevada or out of New York.

I encourage you to give me a call and let’s have that free consultation today.

 

Your Nevada Estate Plan Deserves To Be Drafted by a Nevada Attorney

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hi. My name is Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group, and I specialize in estate planning. Today I want to address a question that we get about whether or not it’s important to have a Nevada attorney, who is at a law firm in Nevada, prepare your estate planning documents.

What we have, sometimes, is there are out of state law firms that will do legal services. Sometimes people will go to a different state to get their wills drafted, or the power of attorney, or their trust documents drafted.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to come see a Nevada attorney whose main office is here in Nevada and who is familiar with Nevada laws.

In the entire arena of estate planning there is a lot of overlap between the different states. There really is, and that’s fine.

A house in California or Iowa needs to have certain designations that would help it pass, upon your passing. Whether you’re in any state Iowa, California, Nevada there’s certain concepts that apply across the board.

Because of that we have a situation where sometimes residents of one state will obtain estate planning documents from a firm that may only have a small outpost here, or they may go to a different state and get those documents.

 

You Need a Nevada Attorney to Update Your Estate Plan

However, I think that by doing that you’d be missing out on a big opportunity. With estate planning it’s important to go with an estate planning attorney that is where you are.

I would encourage Nevada residents to come to an estate planning attorney here, locally.

Here’s why, estate planning often isn’t just a one-shot situation.

At least good estate planning is a situation where every three to five years your estate planning attorney should follow up with you and say, “Hey, has anything changed in your life?” Is there a different marriage, maybe a different job, maybe you’ve sold houses or purchased a house. Maybe one of your siblings had or one of the people you had designated as a personal representative had passed away.

You want somebody who’s close to you geographically, and who’s close to you from a professional standpoint, who will be able to ask these questions and get these answers from you. That’s one advantage of having someone local. It’s going to be easier to have the type of relationship where you have more constant contact.

 

nevada attorney

 

As a Nevada Attorney, I Understand the Nuances of Nevada Law

Second to that, also, is there are differences in the law. Even there aren’t big difference in the law, there easily can be differences in the law when the Nevada legislature changes the law.

You’re going to want somebody who is tied in enough to Nevada’s revised statutes, that when there is a big change in the law something triggers in our mind that says, “Hey we should reach out to all of our estate planning clientele and let them know that this thing has changed.”

That’s another reason why you wouldn’t want to go with an attorney who merely has a Nevada license, or has a license in another state but isn’t really tied into the state. They’re not going to be aware of changes in the law that might effect your estate planning situation.

 

The Clear Counsel Difference

Clear Counsel, in contrast, if there is a change in the law we’re equipped to determine which clientele are going to be affected by that. We’ll send out a newsletter, or a letter, to all of our clients saying, “Hey, these are some changes in the law. Please contact us if you feel like this might apply to you.” That’s just another advantage of going with someone here locally.

That actually can be extrapolated into a more general sense of, we’re tied into the community.

For example, I’m an appointee on the senior citizens advisory commission for City of Henderson’s senior citizens. I know a lot about different resources in the community that are intended to benefit seniors.

I’m sitting here with a senior citizen from Henderson. Of course we’re talking about estate planning. Other things come up to.

We have somebody maybe move here from Michigan and they wonder what service opportunities are available. I know those types of things because I am locally tied into the community.

I can tell you, “Hey, it just so happens that the senior community center down here offers all of these different programs. Here’s somebody who you can get in touch with.”

That’s the type of overall generalized advantage that you can get from dealing with a local Nevada attorney who’s plugged into the community. Who’s aware of the laws, and who’s geographically available to talk about any changes that might happen with your estate plan.

If you’re here in Nevada, please reach out to us, Clear Counsel Law Group. We’ll meet with you. For a consultation we don’t charge at all. In the future you’ll be happy that you had somebody here locally who can help you out with different changing situations. Whether in the law, or in your own life.

Give us a call. I’m attorney Jordan Flake. You can reach us at (702) 476-5900.

Thank you.

 

Are You Sure You Can Rely on Your Form Estate Plan?

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake and I’m an estate planning attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group and one of the questions that we get from a lot of our clients is there are these companies out there that have form driven estate planning practices that will help you get a valid trust or will or power of attorney documents, but the real question is whether or not they’re effective.

I don’t want to mention these companies, but what they do is they basically provide you with the forms that will allow you to put in your name into the different spots in the form and what you will have at the end of the day is a valid legal document that essentially is customized to your situation or at least presumptively is customized to your situation.

I can’t mention the names of the companies that provide these form estate plans, but I often get the question, “Jordan, are these form estate plans really good? Are they okay? What about them? What do we do?”

I mean they’re oftentimes less expensive than seeing an attorney, so maybe they’re great, right? I get this question and sometimes my way jokingly responding that they are really good because if you’re lost in the wilderness and you need to start a fire, then you can use these form estate plans as kindling to start a really great fire. In that sense, they can be really effective and very useful.

Obviously I joke they can be good if you have a super straightforward, simple situation and you’re willing to see them for what they are which is just a very much fill in the blank estate planning solution.

 

Joking Aside, I Know How Important Your Estate Plan is to You

Now my concern about them is that they are not really customized to what you may want or need. It comes down to the difference of something being valid and legally enforceable which I concede and acknowledged that they can be on the one hand valid, but on the other hand, are they really truly effective, do they really accomplish what you want them to accomplish.

Let me talk a little bit about that.

Our law firm Clear Counsel Law Group, we do estate planning and that’s the side that I really enjoy.

I get to meet with people. We sit down. We give you options. We execute an estate plan.

You get the peace of mind of knowing that your documents are done correctly. That’s the part that I like. The part that I still do and I enjoy it as well, but not just quite as much is if people pass away and they don’t have their estate planning done or maybe they have some estate planning but maybe they did it themselves.

We have to deal with the disputes and the fallout that comes from those situations where they weren’t really relying on attorney drafted documents.

 

form estate plans

 

So You Say You Have Form Estate Plans..

I can just tell you that as a practitioner in this area for almost a decade, when we get a phone call from somebody and they say, “Hey, yeah my dad their own estate plan. He did his own estate plan. He drafted his own estate plan. He thought he knew what he was doing,” automatically in my mind I have this automatic response from years of experience that says,

“Oh no, what did he miss? What T wasn’t crossed? What I wasn’t dotted that has the potential to cause a lot of problems downstream?

How are we going to cover this gap? Who did he forget to disinherit?” He intended to disinherit one of his children, but he didn’t properly say that or do that properly. There’s all these things that arise in my mind where I think, “Oh no, they did their own estate planning.”

When I hear that a document was drafted by an attorney who actually sat down and met with the client, 9 times out of 10, that document is going to be just fine. The case might have other issues that are causing problems, but the document itself is going to be sound.

That’s the difference in my mind being on both of the fence, the non-disputed estate planning side, I want to give you a customized document. Over here on the disputed side, if we see a customized document, we don’t think there are going to be as many problems with the document as if there’s a document that was a drafted by perhaps the individual.

That’s the difference there between what’s merely valid on the one hand and what’s truly effective on the other.

If you come in for a consultation, we’ll review your existing estate plan documents if you have them. If not, we’ll sit down and we’ll figure it out how do we actually make the law work for you in your specific situation, not just to make it valid but to actually make it effective and easy on your loved ones and to make sure everything is really optimized to go specifically with what you want.

 

A Final Consideration Before You Make a Mistake with Form Estate Plans

Let me just put one thing in perspective here. You are talking about how you’re going to pass all of your earthly wealth onto your most beloved individuals in your life. It is not something that you want to take on on your own.

It may cost more to have an attorney do it than to have you try to figure it out on your own, but I would suggest that that is a big enough and important enough project that it’s worth actually meeting with an attorney.

The other thing is it might not be as expensive as you think. We are all about options at Clear Counsel Law Group. We’re about options and transparency.

We’re about coming up with solutions that work for all of our clientele, whether you have a lot of money and assets that you’re passing or whether you don’t have very much at all.

Come meet with us so that we can give you options and we can find the best possible solution for you.

Again, I’m Jordan Flake. We’ll do a free consultation.

Just give us a call.

Thank you.

 

See Jordan Flake, Esq., on Morning Blend

Jordan Flake, Esq., appeared on “Morning Blend” on 19 May 2016.

See the segment below:

 

 

A special “Thank You” to the folks over at KTNV (Channel 13 Las Vegas) for having me on this morning!

Jordan Flake

I had a great time participating in Morning Blend’s “Spring Cleaning” Segment.

Remember folks, estate planning isn’t just for the very wealthy. In fact, all of us will leave an estate upon our passing.

Wouldn’t you like to have a little control over your affairs after you go?

I thought so.

Give us a call at (702) 522-0696 and schedule your free consultation.

I have produced dozens of additional videos if you would like to learn more about estate planning.

I recommend you visit our legal blog where you can find even more free information about estate planning, probate, bankruptcy, personal injury, and even a little current events!

 

Before Planning, What is an Estate?

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group and I do a lot of estate planning for my job.

I want to address something that might seem really simple but it’s an important concept and if you can understand this concept, then that will really point your mind in the right direction with respect to getting your affairs in order.

That simple question is, “What is an estate?”

We talk about estate planning all the time but I think that we sometimes take the concept of an estate for granted.

 

An Estate Isn’t Just for the Very Wealthy

Let’s talk about that for a second. When I pictured what an estate was before I went to law school, I pictured this rich guy who lives on a hill and he has an iron gate and the iron gate has his initials on them and he has lots of servants and he has hounds because rich people have hounds and they run through the orchard.

He goes out on his balcony and he says, “Look upon my vast estate,” and so when I thought about estate planning, I thought that I would be dealing with these types of individuals.

It is true that some of our clients are extremely wealthy and have those types of situations and those types of assets, but that really isn’t what estate planning is all about.

 

estate

 

Yes, You Will Have an Estate Too

In order to understand what an estate is, I want you to maybe grab out your wallet or your purse, whatever you have, and just put it right out in front of you on the table and look at that and say, “Okay. Here’s my wallet or my purse and in that wallet or purse, I have some credit cards which means I have some creditors. I have some cash which means I have some assets.”

Maybe you have your house keys in there. Maybe you have some prescription pills. You have a lot going on in that wallet or that purse that you have or your personal bag there, your car keys.

Maybe you have an IOU that you owe somebody else money or maybe somebody owes you money so you might have some claims, some debts that are owed to you. You could really have a lot going on there.

Then just imagine that tragically you either become incapacitated or you pass away. Before that moment happens, you have the ability to go into that bag and deal with everything that’s in there.

You have the ability to go in and take out the money and pay off a creditor. You have the ability to take the car keys and go sell that car to somebody else.

You have the capacity to go take this claim that you have, somebody owes you money and you have the ability to go chase that person down and say, “Hey, I want my money.” You have that ability while you have your life and while you have your capacity.

 

Use an Estate Plan to Keep Control of Your Assets

The second you pass away or become incapacitated, something happens in the legal universe that changes the entire context for what’s going on. You no longer at that point have the ability to reach into your purse or your wallet and deal with those affairs.

However, we can all agree that you still have some kind of a right or some kind of an interest in having those things happen the way that you want them to, basically be dealt with the way that you want them to be dealt with.

That right there, that little moment in time when you become incapacitated or you pass away and you can no longer reach into that bag and deal with your own affairs the way that you want to deal with them, that little moment in time, an estate bursts into existence.

That is the legal concept that you still have rights and interests in things over which you may not actually have control. That is the idea behind an estate. When we talk about estate planning, we’re saying, “We’re here to help you so that when that moment inevitably comes,” and it will come for all of us, when we can no longer control our personal affairs, we have done something, set something in place legally to deal with all of the questions that might arise.

 

Some of the Questions Your Estate Plan Will Resolve

Those questions primarily being, “Who’s going to be controlling this when I can longer control it? Where’s this stuff going to be going, on what terms and to what individuals?”

That’s the idea behind estate planning and it certainly doesn’t take you having this huge mansion and living on this big, rich estate in the old traditional sense of that word. Instead it’s just how are you going to control your assets when you can no longer actually control them the way that you’re accustomed to controlling them right now?

Our law firm, we consider ourselves to be in the peace of mind business. We are here to make it so that when you think about those moments, when you relinquish control over everything that you’ve built up in this life, you have a sense of peace about that because you know that everything’s going to be handled appropriately and legally, and it’s going to be valid and enforceable and it’s going to happen according to your customized specific expectations.

That is the process of estate planning. It’s why I love doing what I do. I would strongly encourage you to call Clear Counsel Law Group, set up a consultation with me. You can reach us at (702) 476-5900 and we’d be happy to talk about different options that we have to help you with your estate.

Thank you.

 

Fund Your Trust: The Best Option for Life Insurance Proceeds

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group and I specialize in estate planning.

Our office provides a free consultation.

What that means is you can sit down with me, bring your old documents if you have any, bring your current documents, any questions you might have, just give us a call and put a time on my calendar with our receptionist and we’ll sit down and discuss whatever it is that is on your mind with respect to your estate planning questions.

Please take us up on the free consultation.

 

Make Sure You Fund Your Trust

One question that I often deal with is this. People will go an attorney, they’ll feel like they’re being super responsible and they’ll go to an attorney and they’ll set up a trust.

They’ll have all the provisions about where the assets go, who’s in charge of the assets, all the contingencies planned out and then when they pass away, tragically, we discover that the trust was never funded.

Now what do I mean by funded? What I mean is that a trust kind of operates like a box. What you’ll want to do is make sure that your different assets either are placed in the box during your lifetime or that they are set to fund into the box upon your passing.

Something that might be within the box during your lifetime would be a house or a parcel of real property.

Something that you might want to have go pay on death or beneficiary to a trust, the box, would be a financial account, bank, checking, savings and perhaps also a life insurance policy.

This whole process is called funding the trust.

Even if you think you have your estate plan all done, I would love to get an opportunity to review it so that I can determine whether or not it’s properly funded with all of the assets that you have.

Please give us a call and we’ll sit down and I don’t charge to do that. We can have a conversation about it.

 

life insurance, fund the trust, estate planning, las vegas, nevada

 

A ‘Fund Your Trust’ Example with Life Insurance Proceeds

Let me talk about why that’s a good idea. I often get a question about life insurance proceeds for example.

You might be sitting here thinking, “Jordan, if I have my son … My wife passed away a few years ago. I have my son Joey and he’s already listed on the life insurance policy. Why should I have them go into a trust?”

That’s actually a really good question and the reason is because oftentimes the trust will provide more protection. If you are just listing Joey as the beneficiary, that’s what I call the look-out-down-below philosophy of estate planning.

You’re essentially saying, “Hey, when I die, Joey, look out down below,” because that life insurance company is just going to send that money immediately down his direction, regardless of his situation in life.

Instead of that, if you have it go into a trust, you can actually have provisions that can hold back that money and protect it for Joey’s benefit in this example. Let me kind of flesh that out a little bit.

 

Why a Trust is a Good Option for Life Insurance Proceeds

In the first scenario, let’s say when I pass away and my son Joey gets my $200,000 life insurance policy, let’s say that tragically, Joey has caused an accident and there’s an injured party who’s coming after him for some money. Let’s say that Joey has stopped paying his taxes four years previously.

Also, he’s been going through a divorce situation and as a result of all this stress, Joey has started abusing substances, possibly alcohol. We see that Joey might not be in the best condition or the best state to receive $200,000 just landing in his lap, because of all these other situations that are going on in his life.

Now there aren’t laws that demand for example that all that money be turned over to his soon to be ex-wife. There’s some protections in place for that, but we can all agree that if he’s going through these things, it’s not a good time to say, “Hey, look out down below. Here comes $200,000 landing in your lap.”

 

How to Use a Spendthrift Provision in a Trust

What you’ll want to do instead is list the trust as the beneficiary of that life insurance policy and then have the trust say, “I desire that the proceeds of the life insurance policy go to my son Joey.” Because what the trust will also allow in Nevada is a very robust spendthrift provision.

A spendthrift provision comes from this idea that you don’t want your property to go towards somebody who’s going to be wasteful.

What the provision says is that if Joey is involved in any type of event in his life or any circumstances that would deprive him of his ability to use these assets, this distribution, this gift for his own purposes, for his own health care, enjoyment , maintenance, whatever he wants to use it for.

If he’s in any situation that would deprive him of that opportunity, then the trust actually requires that that money be held back until he’s then in a good situation to move forward.

He’s resolved the tax disputes, he’s gotten rid of the lawsuit, the divorce is all settled and tied up, and he’s got his life back together and he can stop abusing the substances and say, “Okay, I’m ready to receive this money.”

 

There’s a Reason I Say I am in the ‘Peace of Mind’ Business

I always say that I’m in the peace of mind business. What I really like to see is Day 1, when a client comes into my office, they say, “Jordan, we don’t know what to do. We love our children.

They’re not all super responsible. We’ve spent our whole lives accumulating this property and we want to gift it to them, but we want to make sure that it goes in a way that they’re actually going to receive and enjoy it.”

What we do often is we’ll set up a trust and we’ll have a nice, robust spendthrift provision that says, “Hey look, if any of your beneficiaries are in some kind of life circumstances that are preventing them from using this money, the trustee can actually hold that back and wait until the skies are sunny and clear.”

Once we’ve signed that document, that’s when I get the big payoff from being an attorney because I get to see their peace of mind, they let out this sigh, and they say, “It just feels so good to know that that’s taken care of.”

That’s really what I want to be able to help you with is achieving this peace of mind with respect to your estate planning.

Please give us a call (702)476-5900. Set up a consultation.

I don’t charge at all just to meet with you, go over your questions and issues, give you an education about your different options and then you essentially decide and you tell me what you want to do.

Again, that’s a no-charge consultation, (702)476-5900.

Thank you.

 

 

A Comprehensive Discussion of Power of Attorney Agent Documents

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an Attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group and I specialize in estate planning. One of the things that I confront a lot in my consultations is questions about Power of Attorney Agent documents.

Our office does a free consultation, we don’t charge at all to have you just come in, meet with us, bring documents if you have any.

If you don’t have documents, bring questions, and we’ll look over your documents and just make sure that they say and do what you want them to say and do. Feel free to give us a call for a no charge consultation.

One of the documents and one of the things that we’ll talk about is whether or not you have your Power of Attorney Agent documents set up properly.

 

power of attorney, las vegas, nevada, estate planning Copyright: iodrakon / 123RF Stock Photo

 

In order to really understand that, we need to consider a scenario where, heaven forbid, you become incapacitated. You’re incapacitated, you can’t make these decisions, that you take it for granted, you can’t really make them for yourself.

You can’t make financial decisions about how to spend your money.

You can’t make medical decisions about what treatment to receive, what treatment not to receive, what medications to take, which doctor’s advice you need to follow when you have different medical options. You can’t pay your taxes or pay your bills or apply for insurance or government programs or whatever the case may be.

You’re totally incapacitated.

In that setting, Nevada law actually steps in and says, “Hey, we want to protect the rights of incapacitated individuals,” so we have something called Guardianship Court, where if we have an incapacitated individual and they have legal or medical issues that need to be resolved, that person can essentially have a guardian come in on their behalf and go to the court and say,

“Hey, my wife is incapacitated. I am running into some roadblocks, I need to commence a guardianship proceeding” and then the Court will allow whoever is going to be the guardian to have all these legal rights overview.

 

Why You May Want to Avoid Guardianship

The problem with guardianship is that it’s expensive, it’s time consuming, it’s a Court process, generally requires hiring an attorney and probably the worst thing about it is if you don’t have somebody pre-selected, then you may end up with somebody who you really don’t want or you really don’t trust making legal and medical decisions for you.

In Clark County there has been in the very recent past in Clark County there has been some scandal and some drama around the Guardianship Court because there were private guardians who are being accused of using their opportunity as private guardians to enrich themselves, among various other allegations.

No matter where you stand on those allegations and those news stories, I think we can all agree that if we could just avoid the process entirely, we’d be in much better shape.

 

How Valid Power of Attorney Agent Documents Will Help You

That is where Power of Attorney Agent documents step in. If you have properly executed, valid and enforceable Power of Attorney Agent documents that contain all of the information, then you really should, I’d say 99.5 times out of 100, avoid the Guardianship Court process entirely and just have it done privately via your own pre-determined pre-drafted wishes.

That’s what I like to see as an estate planning attorney.

That’s the kind of certainty that I want to pass along to you as a client.

What we do is, there’s essentially three different Power of Attorney documents that I’ll just run through here really quickly.

 

Power of Attorney Agent over Financial Care

The first is Power of Attorney over financial care and what this means is that if you become incapacitated, you can designate an Agent who will assume responsibility for your financial care and for your financial decisions and making sure that your assets and that your money is safe.

Normally, you’ll want that to be your spouse, most people will, but you also have to take into consideration what if you’re in an accident and the accident that claims your spouse’s life leaves you incapacitated, so it’s really important to get somebody else back up in there as an alternate Power of Attorney Agent for financial purposes.

Because of what’s happened in Clark County, we also are very, very cognizant of making sure that we have all of the best contact information for the Power of Attorney Agents, so we have name, phone number, address, email if they have it, alternate phone number if they have it, we can include their work phone.

We want to make sure that if you’re in an accident, we can reach out to those people as quickly as possible. By we, I don’t just mean us as Attorneys if we become aware of it, I also mean medical professionals, banks, whoever might be making that call, but various ways to get a hold of you so there’s really no lag in time or potential confusion.

That’s the first one is the Financial Power of Attorney Agent document that grants those authorities.

Now obviously, you’ll want to appoint somebody you trust, who you trust not to just go liquidate your account and go on an around the world trip.

You’ll also want to appoint somebody who understands that they have a fiduciary duty towards you.

What that means is it’s just a fancy way of saying their stepping into your shoes, but their responsible for using that money in a way that will benefit you and in a way that you would approve of if you were able to give those types of instructions.

That’s kind of what we consider the fiduciary duty standard there. Aside from that, you have two Power of Attorney Agent documents that kind of speak to medical and healthcare concerns.

 

Healthcare Power of Attorney Agent

The first one is just a straight up Healthcare Power of Attorney Agent document.

This is where you say, “If I become incapacitated, I want this individual to make medical decisions on my behalf.”

Interestingly, this document also has you initial next to your wishes that in order to provide clarity for big questions like, “If you’re in a coma and there’s no hope for your recovery, do you wish to be kept alive?”

There are five different options, five different paragraphs.

What you need to do is you’ll need to, and we’ll help you with this, walk through and initial the paragraphs that correspond most closely with your wishes.

Beneath that, there’s also an opportunity for us to do customized wishes.

I have had several clients say, for example, that they want three different medical opinions about whether or not their coma is irreversible. That’s fine, we can write that into the Power of Attorney Agent documents.

There’s no problem there.

This is really great estate planning tool for your friends and family because you don’t want to leave them in a decision where they are the ones making your end of life decisions.

Just imagine the pressure of having to decide that for somebody you love. You don’t want to be in that spot.

What you want, instead, is a document that contains their signature and their initials so that you know that you’re doing what that person who you love very much really wanted and that you’re not making a decision to “pull the plug.”

I always say that as an estate planning attorney, I am in the peace of mind business and I can tell you these Power of Attorney Agent documents are a way to really increase the peace of mind.

Now if you go into a hospital and you say, “Okay, this is my dad. He’s incapacitated. I’m allowed to take care of him. Here’s the documents that prove it. Here’s my Healthcare Power of Attorney.”

The doctors with good reason might be a little concerned or suspicious in that situation because they’re looking at an incapacitated individual who can’t confirm or deny that you’re actually the Power of Attorney agent and they’re looking at signatures and they may not have a signature to match it up with, and the doctors don’t want to sit around being judges of whether or not this is a valid legal document.

 

A Living Will or Advanced Directive

Nevada law provides for what’s called a Living Will or an Advanced Directive. What we do with that is we have you give a copy to your physician, your general physician.

It’s supposed to go into your normal regular medical file.

Let’s run back through that scenario where you’re taking your dad into the medical office. You bring him in and you say, “Hey, he’s incapacitated, but here I am. Here’s the Healthcare Power of Attorney Agent documents that state that I’m allowed to take care of him and make medical decisions on his behalf.”

The medical staff then will access his medical records and they’ll see that previously he had brought in this other document, this Advanced Directive, this Living Will and that that had become part of his regular medical file, that document will validate the document that you bring into the office at that time.

It’s a system of checks and balances to make sure that the medical office doesn’t have any concerns about whether or not this person purporting to have authority actually has authority.

It’s really good, it’s really important to do that. We talk with clients all the time who have six or seven of these ten or so elements that I went over in place, or six or seven of the ten, fifteen things that you look for all in place.

However, maybe they don’t have all of the right contact information.

Well, that puts you in a scary situation. Maybe they never actually gave it to their doctor.

Well, that puts you in a scary situation. Maybe their Power of Attorney Agent is somebody who is in the military and gets put in different bases throughout the world at different times.

 

I Will Happily Take a Look at Your Estate Planning Documents

That’s something that we need to think about. I guess what I’m trying to say is even if you have Power of Attorney Agent documents, I’d strongly encourage you to pick up the phone and give Clear Counsel a call and just a consultation with me.

I don’t charge to just review the documents and run them through a checklist in my mind to say whether or not they accomplish precisely what you’re hoping that they accomplish.

A lot of times in these meetings, we just go through them and we say, “Hey, looks like they’re good.”

Sometimes there’s reason to make a change here or there or bring them up to date, but in any event, I don’t charge for the meeting.

I’m more than happy to sit down with you, so please free to call our law firm so that we can go over the different types of Power of Attorney documents and I can answer any other questions you may have.

Thank you.

 

How Timeshares Overcome the Probate Process

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hello. My name is Jonathan Barlow, I’m a probate attorney here at Clear Counsel Law Group. I often get asked questions about timeshares interests and how those are transferred after somebody dies through the probate process.

 

With the First Conversation Free, There is No Reason Not to Call

If you have questions about a timeshare interest, we offer a free 30 minute consultation to answer any questions you might have about a timeshare, or any other assets that you’re dealing with in a probate situation.

We do that with no obligation to you. Oftentimes, during that 30 minute consultation, we can answer all of your questions.

You don’t have to pay us anything for that. Or, if we haven’t been able to answer all of your questions, we’ll give you a road map of how to resolve them and give you an estimate of the fees that it would cost to get there.

If you have any questions after watching this video, please feel free to give me a call and I’ll do the best I can to answer that during the consultation.

Let’s imagine that you had called me and explained to me that your mother had passed away, and she had a timeshare interest, and you wondered how you’d get that transferred to you through probate.

Typically, timeshares are one of two types. There’s personal property timeshares, and there’s real property timeshare interests. Let me explain to you what a personal property is, because those are a little bit easier to deal with.

 

How to Probate Personal Property Timeshares

A personal property timeshare interest is when mom purchases what we call a membership interest in a timeshare company.

Let’s call them Timeshares R Us.

Timeshares R Us convinces mom that if she purchases this membership interest, she can stay at any of their properties throughout the world for one or two weeks, whatever the case may be. She might stay in Las Vegas, she might stay in Florida, Hawaii, Europe, something like that.

 

Timeshares, timeshare, probate, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, Nevada

 

It entitles her to a one week time at any of their units throughout the world. That’s a personal property interest. Those personal property timeshare interests are transferred through probate in the state where mom died.

If mom died here in Nevada, the Nevada court would handle the transference of that timeshare interest.

If she died in Wisconsin, Wisconsin laws will apply and you’d go through Wisconsin probate process to accomplish that transfer.

 

How to Probate Real Property Timeshares

The second type of timeshare interest is that real property interest. It’s just a house, it’s like vacant land, it’s an office building. That’s real property or real estate.

When mom was approached by Timeshares R Us at the casino here in Las Vegas, and they convinced her to purchase the timeshare, they actually signed a deed, just like you get when you purchase your house, signed a deed over to her that said, “We are hereby deeding to you, mom, a .001468% interest in Unit #3468 at Timeshare Village R Us in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

She actually owns this minute fraction of an interest in the actual property itself through a deed that’s given to her by Timeshares R Us. That real property interest in that unit here in Las Vegas can only be transferred through the probate process in Nevada.

Again, if mom was a resident of Wisconsin or California or some other state, in order to transfer that real property timeshare interest, you’ve got to come here to Nevada to do that, and we’re glad to help you work through that situation.

We’ve done that with timeshares many different times.

 

The Timeshares’ Analysis Can Be Tough

Let’s assume that you’ve determined it has to go through the probate process here in Nevada, whether it’s personal property, because she was a resident here in Nevada, or because it’s real property here in Nevada.

It may be really simple to transfer that property, or it may be more complex.

To answer that, we have to look at all the other assets that mom left behind, whether those are very small in nature, whether they’re $25,000 and under, whether they’re up to several hundred thousand dollars or more.

There’s different processes that you have to go through in order to transfer that timeshare interest. The main thing to remember is that timeshare interest is treated just like any other asset, whether it’s a house or a car or a bank account.

If it was in mom’s name only when she passed away, it’s going to require some form of a probate process where the probate court gets involved and determines and says where that interest goes now that mom has passed away.

Again, if you have questions about timeshares, we’re glad to answer those questions in that free consultation. We actually do most of these consultations by phone, particularly when we have family members who are from out of state.

You’re calling from Wisconsin because that’s where you live, where mom was as well, we’re glad to do those consultations over the phone, answer those questions over the phone, and give you the advice that you might need to get that timeshare interest resolved.

If you have questions about timeshares, transferring those through probate, or any other issue that you’re facing now that mom or dad or another loved one have passed away, give us a call here at Clear Counsel Law Group.

We’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

 

Estate Planning with Your Genetic Material

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m estate planning attorney for Clear Counsel Law Group. Today I’m going to cover a, I guess it’s a little strange, but emerging area of the law, which is what happens if the client has eggs or sperm that are frozen and that result in a, what we would call a posthumous conception.

In other words, they have a child after they’re dead. In Nevada at least, the law necessarily treats that individual as though it were a child born during the life of the deceased individual. If there’s no will expressing anything otherwise that later born child will actually receive a share of their parents’ inheritance in that case.

If you fall into this category it is a situation that requires a very, very state specific detail, fact-intensive analysis in order to make sure that you get the right solution.

 

An Example of Poor Estate Planning with Genetic Material

Let’s just sit back and imagine all the fun problems that we could have here. Let’s just think about I don’t know, Bill Gates or some other computer magnate who have two or three kids and then they have also some of their sperm frozen.

They have their children and they pass away and they give everything to their kids. Three years later somebody has stolen this frozen genetic material, takes it to Nevada and, boom, they posthumously create a baby for The Gates or this computer magnate that we’re thinking about.

Then they go to the court and they say, “Hey look, you have a baby and this was supposed to be included in the estate. How dare you distribute it just to the two or three existing kids.” You can see how this could go, be really a very bizarre situation.

A lot of things happened in that story that shouldn’t have, which is the basically misuse of the genetic material happening after the fact without the knowledge of the people who are the donors in this situation.

That’s just one of many different scenarios. I’m just trying to illustrate some of the problems with this that could happen if there’s not clarity on how to deal with these situations.

 

Use of an Agent, Genetic Material, and Estate Planning

It’s important that we develop clarity because more and more this is becoming a reality for fertility treatments.

There’s a lot of different reasons why people are having their genetic material frozen and possibly used at a later time. In order to protect and to provide some clarity, some states have adopted some procedures and regulations.

One of those would be that the donors would need to specify who can ever access and use this genetic material. These would be called the actual agents. Then the agents are intended to provide notice.

 

estate planning, frozen genetic material, eggs and sperm

 

Let’s say that I decide hey, I’m going to have some genetic material out there and I want it to be used to have a child even if I’ve passed away. I would need, in certain states, to appoint an agent who’s going to be able to either push the green light on that situation or push the red light on that situation.

That agent then, even if I pass away, they’re the ones in charge of making sure whether this genetic material is ever going to become a human child.

If they do, first of all that needs to happen. There needs to be an agent appointed.

Second of all, if they do decide to have a baby with this material, then they would need to send a notification to the personal representative of my estate saying, “Hey, just so you know, you think there’s only two or three kids. Aha. There’s actually going to be another one coming to this situation. Here’s official certified letter providing notice that there’s going to be another baby.”

Here’s the kicker though, in the states that have adopted actual statutes it has to be within two years of a judicial determination of death or issuance of a death certificate. Usually there’s not going to be a huge difference between those two things, in most scenarios.

 

Discuss Your Plan with Me Just to Make Sure

If we just had a totally unregulated situation where there’s just frozen genetic material crossing state lines, changing hands between different people and providers and carriers, people just randomly creating into life children of people who are deceased fifteen years ago, we’d have a real mess on our hands.

These states that have adopted statutes that basically said listen, there needs to be an agent. There needs to be notification of the personal representative and let’s be reasonable, it all has to be done within two years.

In any event, like I said at the beginning, if this is something that you’re considering and you want to make sure and know that you’re not going to be causing any problems in the event of your passing with the genetic material that you may have left behind, come in and meet with us so that we can do the fact-intensive analysis to make sure that exactly what you want to have happens is what ends up happening.

Thank you so much.

 

Take Special Care with Your Electronic Assets

 

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an estate planning attorney for Clear Counsel Law Group.

As our technology advances, we also have new frontiers in estate planning that attempt to respond to this technology. Obviously, the technology outpaces the estate planning, and the estate planning just tries, sometimes clumsily, to keep up with those situations.

That’s what we have in the case of electronics and electronic information, I guess what I would call electronic assets, if you’ll think of it like that.

 

An Example of an Electronic Asset

If you think of the old days, you would maybe … Let’s say you’re a photographer and you take a bunch of photos and they’re really beautiful.

In the old days, if you had a box up in your attic, you’d say, “My photos that I took” … You either sell them during your life, or you give them away during your life, or you have a box up in your attic that has all these beautiful photos, some of which might be worth money and you say, “I decided to give this to my son, Brian.”

Then Brian could go up into the attic and take that box of photos and say, “Okay I have this box of photos.”

What if in today’s world, I say, “I want my photos to go to Brian,” but before I die I give my hard drive to my son, Jared. Jared has a hard drive that has all of my photos on in, and Brian has the photos that are sitting there in a box.

Who really is entitled to those photos?

Then Jared decides to sell all of those electronic file photos to these photography websites and magazines who pay him a lot of money for it. Then Brian gets really mad and says, “Dad specifically gave me all his photos.” Jared says, “No he didn’t.

He gave me his hard drive where all the electronic copies were held, and you could have sold those photos off to those websites and those magazines if you wanted to, but you just kept them in the box.

 

Why You Want to Discuss Electronic Assets With Your Estate Planning Attorney

You can kind of see how that’s a weird scenario where the existence of an electronic asset, where as before you just would’ve had a physical asset, really creates a potential ambiguity for your clients.

What you’ll want to do in each of these cases, is meet with an attorney who is sophisticated enough to understand some of those subtleties and have a bigger picture about how might this instruction have been misinterpreted.

Just taking this example, I would for example walk the client through and say,

“All right. You want your photos to go to Brian. What exactly do you mean by that? You have a box in your attic, but you also have potentially a hard drive, or maybe you emailed a few of these out to your family and said hey look I went to Yellowstone this last weekend and I took this amazing photo. Does them having a copy of that constitute basically the right to use this photo and to re-sell it?”

We really have to draw back and drill into it and say, “Okay how do we define what you’re actually giving away when you’re giving away this photo of yours?”

It could be more than just a photo. It could be, say your mom was really good at some administrative process and she created several different workbooks or outlines on how to deal with this complex administrative process, then she printed those out.

She gives them to Brian again. Brian gets the printed copy and Jared gets the computer hard drive that has all the electronic copies on it.

 electronic assets, digital asset, estate planning, las vegas, henderson nevada

 

This situation is happening more and more, that people have things that are actually valuable that exist both in the physical world and strictly in the electronic world. It’s important to meet with an estate planning attorney so that you can delineate what to do in each of those situations.

 

How We Help Keep Your Digital Assets Safe

While I’m on the topic of computers and computer hard drives, with increasing frequency we’re seeing situations where people don’t leave adequate information about where their electronic assets are held or kept.

A simple example of this is passwords. There might be websites that are hosting valuable digital assets or electronic assets.

There could be, for example, an individual who has several profitable websites that are membership-paid websites and they’re the domain holder and user and operator for these websites and they’re receiving income from them.

What happens if that individual passes away?

Who is going to be capable of going in an managing those websites and handling everything that needs to happen so that they’re either wound down properly and the assets are liquidated, or they continue to run and create a profit?

 

Estate Planning Has Changed Quite a Bit Recently

These are some of the types of questions that you need to ask that you wouldn’t have had to ask 20 years ago.

There’s a lot of different resources at our disposal to make sure that all of the passwords are written down, all of the websites are written down properly, all of the electronic and digital assets are identified specifically.

We can have different web services that will be the main hub for all of your passwords and all of your websites.

There’s just really a lot of different options, so it’ll be up to you to come meet with us to determine how to make sure that you don’t fall into any of these ambiguities with your digital assets. I’d be happy to meet with you and discuss this. You just have to be forward thinking about these things, because technology does move very fast.

Thanks so much.

 

Clear Counsel Law group

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