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.

 

You Must Specifically Disinherit in Nevada

 

Disclose All Uncomfortable Facts to Your Lawyer, And How to Disinherit

Transcript:

Hi my name is Jordan Flake, I am an estate planning attorney at Clear Counsel Law group and today I want to talk about why it’s really important to tell your estate planning attorney everything.

Sometimes we have these clients who have a child who they just don’t really associate with them as a child anymore.

In fact, often times they’ve considered themselves to have moved on from that relationship. It may not necessarily be a child it can also be a brother or sister or in an estranged situation it could be a spouse.

We have had cases and we have seen cases where someone will come into our law firm and say well ask, “How many children do you have?” They’ll say, “Well I have 2 kids. I have Bob and Susie” and we’ll say, “Okay great.” We’ll include those 2 individuals in their estate planning and then we’ll find out later on down the road that in addition to Bob and Susie they have a child named Johnny.

The problem is they haven’t talked to Johnny in 10 years. It ended badly and they didn’t wish to provide for him.

The client over on the other side of the table is thinking, “If I just don’t tell the attorney at all about Johnny, then only Susie and Bobby will show up in the estate planning and only Susie and Bobby will get part of my estate.”

That seems to be a good idea from their standpoint. Now, some of you who are viewing this may already be able to anticipate what is wrong with that. In Nevada and in other states, it’s necessary to specifically disinherit your next of kin.

 

Why Nevada Requires You to Expressly Disinherit

Otherwise there’s a presumption in the law that you just somehow made an error and excluded them on accident and so if I say,”I want to give everything to my 2 kids Bobby and Susie” and I don’t mention my third kid Johnny, Johnny can come along after I pass away and say, “Hey, here I am. You know dad said he wanted to give everything equally with his kids.”

Bobby and Susie will say, “Whoa Johnny first of all we haven’t seen you in 10 years. Second of all there’s a problem because we can point very clearly to the language in the estate plan that says he wants everything to go to the 2 of us.”

Then Johnny could say, “Whoa, no it says equally between the kids and he just forgot to put me on there. That’s all that’s happened here.”

That’s why it’s very necessary in Nevada when you’re doing your estate planning to specifically disinherit Johnny.

estate planning, attorney, disinherit, las vegas, nevada

 

Often times we’ll put a provision in there that says,”For the purposes of my estate planning I desire to disinherit Johnny and I desire that he be treated as though he had pre-deceased me” so that literally nothing goes to him and so that he won’t have any power over the estate planning at all.

There’s different language you can use.

Sometimes it’s the case that you have Bobby, Susie and Johnny and you just gave Johnny his share of the inheritance before you passed away and in that case we can use a little bit more amicable language where you say, “I do not desire to provide for Johnny through this estate plan that I am preparing because I provided to him a living gift several years ago” or whenever it was.

 

There’s No Good Reason to Lie to Your Lawyer. S/He is Your Lawyer.

These are different things to take into consideration but the real red flag and the thing that I want you to remember and take away is don’t hold anything back from your estate planning attorney precisely because you’re not sure of the impact of withholding that information on your eventual estate plan.

It’s really good to know for example, do you have a prior marriage where there may not have been a divorce finalized. We see this happen a lot too. A couple will get married, they’ll have a falling out.

They’ll intend to divorce. They may even start the divorce process but they never ever really finalized it.

They never did a divorce discharge and what happens is later on down the road they meet somebody else and they say, “Hey, I want to give you all of my assets when I die.”

They’ll basically draft up an estate plan but then they’ll fail to properly get rid of that spouse who under the eyes of the law is still a spouse.

This is really a scary situation because you don’t end up getting exactly what you want. Make sure you talk to an estate planning attorney about all of these types of issues so that with the benefit of our knowledge and experience we can make sure that there’s not going to be some land mine that crops us later.

If you’re in a situation like this where you may want to disinherit someone. You may have some kind of legal issue that was never fully wrapped up from earlier in your life or maybe you just want to know that you don’t have some sort of landmine that’s going to crop up, please come to me with your estate planning.

I’ll do a no charge consultation.

I’ll sit down and review your estate plan whether you have documents or whether you just, your estate plan maybe right now is just in your mind and you need to get it out on paper.

In either situation, I am more than happy to meet with you and for sure when we meet make sure you tell me everything.

Thanks so much.

 

By Addressing Tough Estate Planning Questions, You Will Feel So Much Better

 

 

Transcript:

Hi. I’m Jordan Flake. I’m an estate planning attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group.

One of the biggest barriers to getting people to actually come in and see me and meet me for a complimentary estate planning consultation, is just the fact that estate planning inherently deals with questions that we sometimes don’t want to answer at all.

Sometimes it’s really unpleasant to think about our own mortality or our own potential incapacity.

Sometimes it’s really hard to think about who would raise our children if we have minor children. It’s hard to think about how you want your assets to be distributed because it brings up questions or fairness and what’s right with respect to different children who may have either been extremely nice to you or wrong to you.

 

Estate Planning for Difficult Questions

One of the questions is how do we deal with these uncomfortable questions and these uncomfortable situations? I think the very, very first thing that you want to know when you do this is don’t avoid estate planning because you don’t feel like you have all the answers. That’s the first thing.

Sometimes I get people who say Jordan, we got your card last September. We know we need to do an estate plan, but my wife and I have been talking and talking. And we just can’t figure out what we want to do.

We can’t figure out which of our kids we can trust? who gets this stuff? Who would take care of us if we were both incapacitated? We’re going to think about it for a little while longer and see what we can come up with and then we’re going to schedule a consultation.

Please do not do this precisely because a lot of what we’re going to discuss in the complimentary consultation is basically some of the different answers to these questions that you might consider.

I regard my job as an estate planning attorney, somebody who can help guide you through some of these uncomfortable and ambiguous situations. I’ve seen it all in the last 10 years of practicing law. I’m very familiar with a lot of the different situations that can cause this to be hesitant or confused about estate planning. Please don’t let those hold you up.

I’ll talk about that a little bit more in a moment. The other thing that we sometimes need to worry about is just getting in here at all to do your estate planning. Never mind the fact that you have questions that are hard to answer. Let’s just focus on your need to come in and see me in the first place.

 

The Importance of Starting Your Estate Planning

Please understand that as an estate planning attorney I also look at my position as one that confers peace of mind. I feel like I’m somebody who, my job is to give you peace of mind.

What that means is that before you meet with me and before you have your estate plan set up, you’re sitting here thinking, “Oh geez, this is tough to think about. This is tough to do. It’s confusing. It’s complicated and I don’t want to answer these questions.”

What do I do if I pass away? I’m just not comfortable with that.

After you meet with me and after we sign the documents that through your wishes I have prepared to become legally and forcible and valid, I can immediately see it’s almost like clockwork, a big sigh of relief from my clients who say, “You know, I just feel so, so much better. Thank you so, so much.”

 

Estate planning, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Please don’t look at what I do as something scary that makes you have to ask all these difficult questions.

Instead, do what I do which is look at the finish line, that moment where you say, “Hey, I’m so glad I got that taken care of. It’s one less huge thing that I have to worry about and I just don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Of course we’ll look at it every 3 to 5 years to make sure it’s still says and does what you want it to say and do. Other than that you’re in a place where you now have peace of mind. Specifically though, what are some of the tough questions that come up?

 

Tough Estate Planning Questions for Parents with Minor Children

For those of us who have minor children, I happen to have minor children.

One big question that my wife and I had is how do we decide who will take care of our children? Here’s just one example of what I was talking about. I have seen couples refuse to come meet with me as an estate planning attorney because they say, “Jordan I’d love to but my wife and I can’t agree on who’s going to watch our kids so I don’t want to come to an estate plan yet.”

Please don’t do this. Come meet with me and we can talk about it.

That’s one of the touch questions that we get is who’s going to watch the kids? One of the reasons this is a tough question is because a lot of parents look at the person whom they’re appointing as a potential guardian as a replacement for mom and dad.

This can be too daunting if you think about it. If heaven forbid, something happens to a husband and a wife, a mother and a father, realistically there’s not going to be any really great 100% replacement for the love and the care and the attention and maybe the physical environment, the emotional environment. It’s going to be very, very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate all of those things.

If you’re sitting here saying I don’t want to do my estate planning until I figure out who can totally replicate the same life for my kids that my wife and I would’ve given them, then you’re never going to be able to really do your estate planning.

That’s a big hangup. It’s really, really difficult, if not impossible, to figure that out.

That’s something that we can talk through so that you say so you’re saying I should do my estate planning because having something is better than having nothing?

Good, okay. You’re saying I should be doing my estate planning because listing a guardian who has good fiduciary sense is 9/10 of the battle. You’re saying Jordan that I can go ahead and do my estate planning because I don’t need to worry about who has an extra room where we can fit bunk beds.

 

What to Look for in a Guardian

What I’m getting at is that people look at these concerns without the benefit of experience of knowing really what you’re looking for in a guardian. If you just come in and see me you’ll find out for example, what you should be worried about it fiduciary sense.

That’s the number one thing that you can be concerned about. Morals, you can’t force somebody to have morals that go onto your kids. We do worry about finances because you actually can hold them accountable for that.

What about physical accommodation? Your guardian doesn’t necessarily have to be the person where your kids actually reside with that person.

Your guardian might say I’m going to be the guardian of your minor children. I’m going to make sure they’re provided for financially because I have good fiduciary sense.

I happen to know that sister Becky and her husband have a really big house because he’s done great at his dental career. They have room to take the kids and a good setup in the basement there.

 

We Will Help Through Difficult Questions

Thinking through these things with the benefit of practical experience will make it so these big scary confusing questions actually become a lot more manageable. I just picked one out of the air.

I picked the idea of this guardian of minor children as a potential barrier. For every barrier that you’re facing in your mind right now with respect to estate planning, I can promise you that we’ve seen it, we’ve been there, and we can ask the questions to help you discover what the best solution is for you.

In no case are we going to recommend a solution that’s uncomfortable to you or try to force your hand.

Estate planning always has been and always will be about putting your wishes down into legally and forcible documents.

Helping you understand what you really want and what’s going to be best for your loved ones, absolutely that’s something that we can help you out with and we will help you out with. We really want to. Please pick up the phone, schedule a complimentary consultation and I’d be happy to walk through some of these things.

I look forward to seeing you. Thank you. Bye.

 

Watch This Before Revising Your Own Will

 

 

Pitfalls of Amending Your Own Will

Transcript:

Jonathan Barlow: Hello. My name is Jonathan Barlow. I’m an attorney here at Clear Counsel Law Group. A question that frequently comes up from my clients is: If they have a Will, can they make their own handwritten changes on the face of that Will within the document themselves or do they have to go to an attorney to the Will changed?

This question comes up surprisingly all the time, both while somebody’s alive and they’re wanting to change their own Will and after that person has died and the family member comes in and they say, “Hey, I have Mom’s Will, and look. There’s all these handwritten changes on it.”

So the question is: Can you do that? Number two, more importantly, if they did make those handwritten changes, are those handwritten changes valid? Are they legally enforceable?

We see this all the time where someone comes in, they bring a Will, and I’ve got scratches out or there’s crossing things out. They’ve got arrows pointing here and there. They may have a 25% with an X through it that says now 15% next to it. They’ll have a scratch-out across Johnny’s name, and they’ll write in Sally’s name underneath it. So we see these kind of changes happen frequently.

 

Will with Pen, estate planning, probate, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

The biggest question overall is, we’re trying to figure out what was the intent of that person. Did they intend to make that change? Is that what they wanted to do?

So if the person has already passed away, that’s what the probate court is going to do. They’re going to look at those handwritten changes, and they’re going to determine: Is that what the person intended? If it is, they’re going to do the best they can to enforce that intent.

While you’re still alive, you can make those handwritten changes, but you’re setting things up for some messy things down the road after you pass away.

We’re going to look at the second question, which is: If you have those handwritten changes, are they legally enforceable? Are they legally valid changes?

 

An Example

Let’s assume that someone came in, mom’s passed away, and they have a Will. Mom’s done one of those things where she scratched out one of her son’s names and instead, wrote in the friend down the street, Susie, and gave Susie 25% of the estate.

The son, in this case, is concerned about this scratch-out. He asks me, “Is that legally valid? Can Mom disinherit me like that by scratching me out and writing in Susie’s name from down the street?”

The answer, as is often the case in the law, it depends.

 

What is a Holographic Will?

In order for those handwritten changes to be determined to be valid, they have to meet the requirements of what’s called a holographic Will.

A holographic Will is a handwritten Will, where the entire Will is written in the hand of the person; they sign and date it.

So in order for a holographic Will to be valid, you have to have three things:

  1. It has to be handwritten by the person in their own handwriting,
  2. it has to be dated by the person, and
  3. it has to be signed by the person.

There’s no witness requirements. There’s no notary requirements in order for it to be valid.

Those same three requirements are going to apply with these handwritten changes in the Will. We’re going to look at these changes, which by the way are called interlineations which technically means a change within the margins or change between the lines.

We’re going to look at these interlineations and determine as to each one of those, did it meet those three requirements for the holographic Will? Was it in the person’s own handwriting? Did they date it? Did they sign it?

 

Common Problem Regarding Interlineations

The most frequent problem that we see in trying to enforce these interlineations is that we’re missing one of those three requirements. They either didn’t date it or they didn’t sign it. Sometimes people question whether it’s in the person’s handwriting. Most frequently that’s not the case. It usually is in the person’s handwriting.

So what we’ll see is, say, on page two of the Will, they cross out something there, they make an interlineation change in their writing, they flipped to page four and they changed the executor provision by scratching out Bob’s name and writing in Joe’s name.

Then on page four, that’s where they put their initials or they sign it there and they date it there, but they didn’t do that as to page two.

So the big question becomes, and I would argue, that those handwritten changes on page two don’t meet the requirements of a holographic Will because it wasn’t dated and it wasn’t signed on that page.

How are we to know that the person made the changes on page two the same day they made the changes on page four? Again, in order for those to be determined valid by the court, the court would be looking at those requirements of a holographic Will.

 

Why Intent Matters

Another problem that often comes up is the question of intent. Is this really what the person intended to make these changes? Is that really what they wanted to do?

I’ve seen personally circumstances where somebody has been, essentially they’ve just been brainstorming, and they’ve been using their Will as a way to brainstorm about how they might want to change it; not necessarily that they did want to change it. So they’ll get out their Will, and they’ll look at the percentages that they put in there for people. They’ll start doing some math and doing some changes and trying to add it all up, but that’s not necessarily what they intended to have as their final document. That was simply brainstorming or doodling on their Will.

 

How Will a Probate Court Address an Invalid Will?

So we have to ask: Is that what they intended to do or is that what they were simply thinking about doing? Brian has a question on this issue.

 

Brian: If someone amends a Will incorrectly, will a probate court throw the whole Will out and their estate will be administered intestate?

 

Jonathan Barlow: That’s an excellent question. Let’s say we’ve looked at this. The interlineation appears to be improperly done. It doesn’t meet one of those requirements. Will the court necessarily not follow that change? Will the court, in and of itself, say, “No. No good. We’re not going to follow it”? This really only applies if there’s some type of contest, if people are fighting about the interlineation.

If everybody who has an interest – say, all of the kids or everyone that’s named there – if they all agree and say, “Even though it’s missing a date, we want to enforce that part of it,” they can all agree and sign an agreement saying, “Even though it’s missing a date, even though it might be missing a signature on that particular place, we agree that that’s what Mom wanted to do and we agree that that’s what she intended to do, so we are going to collectively agree to have the Will distributed in that way.” The court would honor that agreement amongst the interested parties, amongst the beneficiaries. It would honor an agreement.

So really, we’re only talking about situations where somebody has raised a concern or raised a contest about the validity of one of those changes. Did that kind of answer that particular question about?

 

Brian:    Sure did. Thank you.

 

Jonathan Barlow: Again, I highly don’t recommend interlineations. People do it frequently. They don’t want to go to a lawyer. They may not have time to go to a lawyer, but it’s just setting things up ripe for potential disaster down the road.

Your estate may not be distributed the way you want it to, either because what you intended wasn’t done clearly enough or you didn’t actually intend to do what you doodled on your Will.

So if you want to make those changes, certainly go and see a lawyer or make sure that it’s done in a nice formal way so it’s very clear what you intended to do unless you want to leave a disaster for your children, which most people don’t want to do.

If you want help with making these changes to your Will while you’re alive or if you have concerns after someone’s passed away and you’ve got Mom and Dad’s Will and it’s got these interlineations and you don’t what to do with them, give me a call here at Clear Counsel Law Group, and I’ll be glad to answer your questions about that and help you determine what Mom or Dad intended and whether it’s legally enforceable.

 

Estate Plan Advice for Snowbirds & People with Assets in Multiple States

 

 

An Estate Plan for Snowbirds

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jordan Flake. I am an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. I focus primarily in estate planning, and today we have a question here from one of our clients. It says, what if you have an estate plan that is out of state, but then you buy a condominium in Nevada to retire and make Nevada your long-term residence? Do you need a new estate plan? Could Nevada estate plan cover out of state assets, such as those that you may have left in Illinois?

I’m going to try to answer this question. Basically the idea is that when you move to a new state, you probably should as a good practice meet with an estate planning attorney in that state. I’m going to talk about why that might be a good idea.

Also, I’m going to talk about how assets work in a revocable estate plan and why it’s okay owning assets in different states, and how to make that function.

 

Updating Your Estate Plan After Moving to Nevada

As you can imagine, I practice here in Nevada, and I get a lot of retirees who move here from other states around the country. Often times, they’ll buy a property here, such as in the question that was asked, and yet often times, they’ll leave property in their former state as well.

In fact, a really common scenario is these self-described snowbirds. What a snowbird is, it’s someone who lives off in Wisconsin during the summer months, when it’s nice and temperate, and then when it gets freezing cold in Wisconsin, the snowbirds move here to Las Vegas, and they spend maybe roughly from November to March where it’s temperate here in Las Vegas, living at their condo here.

 

estate plan, snowbirds, estate planning, probate, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

I meet with these individuals and they say, “Hey, Jordan, we have changed our long term residence. We really intend to retire in Las Vegas, but we still have our house back in Wisconsin that we go to every summer. Where should we do our estate planning and why?”

My recommendation is to first answer the question, which is really going to be your state of residence? As soon as you answer that question, if it’s Nevada, then you should probably do your estate planning in Nevada. If it’s Wisconsin, then possibly do your estate planning in Wisconsin.

 

Why Nevada?

The reason why a lot of people will opt to have Nevada be their estate planning destination is because Nevada has really good robust estate planning laws that are very highly developed, to the point that different provisions have been tested here in the court setting, which means that as an estate planning attorney, we can have the confidence to implement various provisions that have undergone robust testing at the court level, so that we know they’re highly enforceable.

We actually have a lot of clients who live out of state who opt to do their estate planning here, precisely because Nevada’s estate planning laws are so favorable and so protective of the clients and the grantors in these situations.

I would say that if you intend to make Nevada your long-term residence, then the answer is very easy. You should do a Nevada estate plan. Even if you don’t, you may still wish to consider it because Nevada has better laws.

That of course raises the question, let’s say I’m intending to make Wisconsin my long-term residence. How can I do a Nevada estate plan? Are estate plans enforceable across state lines? The answer is generally yes. Generally, states will give effect to legal documents created in other states. The mere passage from one state to another does not automatically nullify estate planning documents. I know that’s true of Nevada, and I’m pretty sure it’s true of every single state in the United States.

Basically, if you want to think of it another way, imagine you and your buddy both lived in California at the time, had an agreement that he would paint all your houses for $50,000, and you basically have this agreement for the next 3 years, your buddy’s going to paint all your houses, any houses that you own, for $50,000, and you both live in California at the time of that agreement.

Both of you decide to move to Nevada, and the question is, is the agreement that you made in California still enforceable in Nevada? The answer is yes, that contract will go from one state across state lines and still be legally enforceable. That’s true of your estate planning as well. The things that you put in place in one state are generally going to be enforceable in the next state.

It is a little bit different because each state has different laws with how little tiny particulars will arise, or with how probate is handled for example, so that’s why you’ll definitely want to have your estate plan reviewed by an attorney in the state where you intend to make that state your personal long-term residence.

 

Developing an Estate Plan with Property in Multiple Jurisdictions

Come see us. If you have property in Nevada, we can get you set up with a Nevada estate plan. The second part of this question, let’s say you do have a property in Nevada and you do make Nevada your long term residence, and you do have a condo here, and you have transferred that into your estate planning, and that condo now becomes part of your estate plan. What do we do with the summer house in Wisconsin? The answer is very simple. If we create a Nevada estate plan, you can think of it like a box. We create that box and we transfer some of your assets into that box. There’s nothing about the fact that that house is owned in Wisconsin that prevents us from taking that house and transferring it into the Nevada trust. There’s really nothing about that that prevents it.

Regularly, as estate planning attorneys, we’ll sit down and meet with clients who have assets in various states and properties and various states. What we’ll do is we’ll go request a deed from that state and we’ll copy down the legal description and we’ll prepare a deed for that state. We’ll send it out saying, my Wisconsin summer house now is to be transferred into the Johnson family trust, or the Johnson estate planning. You definitely can have a Nevada trust that owns property in various states.

If you’re in either of these situations, if you’re maybe mixing residence between 2 states like Wisconsin and Nevada, and you’re not sure where to do your estate planning, please come talk to me. If you’re a Nevada resident and you have property that’s outside of the state, and you want to make sure it passes according to your wishes, please come see me. Those are both questions that we handle very often. They’re both things for which we can do a complimentary consultation, and please give us a call, set up a consultation, and we’ll be happy to help you out with this. Thanks so much.

Important Legal Knowledge for Real Estate Professionals

 

Getting Ahead as a Real Estate Agent

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. I have some advice for real estate professionals out there. We deal with a lot of real estate professionals, we like a lot of the ones that we use, and if you do need a good real estate professional, I can certainly put you in touch with somebody that we trust.

My unsolicited, I guess, advice for real estate agents is this: Learn a little bit about the law, especially when it comes to real property and estate planning. Understanding the law, with respect to real property and estate planning will make you seem a lot smarter to your clients.

Now, I’m not trying to give you advice on how to conduct your career, but I will tell you that in sitting down with a lot of  agents, going out to lunch, what they tell me is, these days, because of the internet, because of websites like Zillow and just because of the ability to go online and do a lot of the selling and buying, a real estate agents’ job is really changing from simply listing properties, showing properties, which are things that, now, everyone has a better opportunity to do them on their own, to really being experts about the things that they’re trying to accomplish for their clients, and getting their clients the help they need, and so that’s one reason why a real estate agent should consider getting a deeper understanding of how estate planning works.

 

Real estate agent, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

How to put your house in a trust, differences between joint tenancy with rights of survivorship and tenants in common, or community property with rights of survivorship. There’s really a lot that a lawyer knows about real property and estate planning that would make it so that a real estate agent was that much more impressive and conversant and savvy with their clients.

If you’re a real estate agent listening to this video and you’re interested in meeting with me or setting up some kind of a seminar or presentation, reach out and we’ll see if it’ll work.

I have a few different presentations that I do for real estate agents, and I’d be very interested, in this upcoming year, to sit down with you personally, or with a group of you, to talk about how to learn a little bit more about the law and how that might benefit your career. Thank you.

How Long Does It Take to Sell an Estates Assets?

 

The Time Period to Sell Estates Assets

Transcript:

Hello, I’m Jonathan Barlow. I’m a probate and estate planning attorney at Clear Counsel Law Group. People often ask us the question of how long does it take to have assets transferred to me after Mom or Dad have passed away? How quickly can I get the bank account transferred to me or how soon can I have the house put into my name? The answer to that question depends largely on the value of those assets. The Nevada statute set out what those values are and what we have to do in those circumstances.

 

Estates under $25,000

First, there’s total assets under $25,000. There’s a level between $25,000 and $100,000, and in general, anything above $100,000. I’m going to describe briefly these three categories. Under $25,000, if there is no house or land importantly, you can have those assets transferred to you in about 40 days. The statutes say you have to wait 40 days after date of death and after 40 days, you can prepare a document or have a document ready that says, “Mom passed away. She had the following bank account, the following car. We list the assets there. I’m the closest next of kin. I have resolved her debts and I’m entitled to receive her assets.”

Assuming you’ve filled that document out appropriately, you can take that into the bank on Day #40 after Mom passed away, present them with that affidavit, and they would process it through their legal department and in about an hour’s time, they should come back to you with the check with Mom’s bank account and giving that money to you. That’s the fastest you can do it, when it’s under $25,000. There’s a same process with the DMV that you can get car tiles transferred in the same manner when it’s under $25,000.

 

Estates between $25,000 and $100,000

The second level is between $25,000 and $100,000. This is also a fairly quick process but you have to wait 30 days after date of death and after 30 days, you can file a document in the probate court. It does require probate court filing. However, it’s quick and abbreviated. Within about three weeks time after filing, you can have a court order that says, “Hey bank, transfer the bank account or give the bank account to so and so or to so and so.” To whomever it’s supposed to go to.

estates, asset, inherit, probate, Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

That court order could also transfer the title to the land or the house also and so you take that down to the county recorder and that would transfer the house to you. That’s a 30 day wait after Mom or Dad have passed away. You’ve filed your document and then you have a hearing about two to three weeks after that. That’ll take care of estates under $100,000.

 

Estates over $100,000

Now if you’re over $100,000 in assets, you’re in a situation that’s going to require generally a full probate process. Those full probate processes can take … At the very quickest, you’re going to be done in about four months. That’s really cruising through there. In general those usually take six to nine to twelve months, possibly longer depending on what type of assets you’re dealing with and it’s a very involved process at the probate court, a lot of court filings, a lot of court requirements that you have to keep up on.

Now here at Clear Counsel Law Group, we specialize in the probate, in taking care of those things whether it’s under $25,000 or over $100,000, we file hundreds of probate cases to deal with those estates from very small to several million dollar estates. We also specialize in the estate plan part of it, so if you have an estate that’s over $100,000 and you’re concerned about your children having to go through this probate process that’s time consuming, it’s expensive, it’s public, and you want to make it very easy and very simple for your children to get your assets after you pass away, even if they’re over $100,000, come and see us and talk to us because there’s some really great tools that you can use right now and put in place that make it very simple for your children to get your assets after you pass away.

In any situation, whether you’re faced with the under $25,000, under $100,000, over $100,000, here at Clear Counsel Law Group we’re specialists in these areas. We’ve done hundreds of these cases. We’ll be able to help you answer your questions and get those assets to you as quickly as humanly possible as quickly as the statutes will allow you to do that. Give us a call here at Clear Counsel Law Group and we’ll be glad to help you with those things.

 

Three Essential Estate Planning Tools You Must Know

 

The Three Estate Planning Tools Everyone Needs to Know

Transcript:

Jonathan: Hello. My name is Jonathan Barlow. I’m a estate planning attorney at Clear Counsel Law Group. Today, we are talking about people who have relatively few assets and what estate planning tools they might use in order to transfer those assets after they pass away. I want to talk about three tools that they might use today. The first is a will. The second is joint ownership. The third is beneficiary designations.

In order to illustrate how these three tools might work, let me introduce you to one of my hypothetical clients. Her name is Helen. Helen lives here in the Las Vegas area. She has two children, Bob and Suzy.

 

An Estate Planning Hypothetical

Helen’s estate basically has three assets. She has a condo, has about sixty thousand dollars in equity in the condo. She has her bank account and the bank account has three, or four, five thousand dollars in it. She has a car that she’s paid of. The car is worth five or six thousand dollars. Now, Helen, can use all three of these tools to help transfer her assets after her death.

The first thing that she really should do is to prepare a will. A will is a document where Helen can say who she wants to receive her assets after she passes away, in what percentages, in what amounts, under what conditions. Helen can also say in her will who she wants to be in-charge of that process. Who is going to be the executor, the person responsible to make that happen.

Helen can use the will to say, “I want to split my assets equally between my two children.” She could also say, “I want to give Bob seventy percent and Suzy thirty percent.” Whatever the case maybe, she can say that in her will.

The second thing that Helen can also do is to use joint ownership as a way to transfer her assets after she passes away. What joint ownership means is that say she goes into her bank and explains to them, “Hey. I want to add Suzy on to my bank account.” The bank make designations and changes on bank account to add Suzy as a joint owner and she owns it as the same time as Helen.

When Helen dies, the joint owner, in this situation, Suzy, becomes the one hundred percent owner of that bank account, simply by virtue of Helen passing away. Suzy would just have to take a death certificate into the bank, say, “Hey. Mom has passed away.” The bank would essentially just give that money in that account to her without any other work necessary.

 

Estate planning, las vegas, nevada

 

The third tool that Helen might use to make it easier to transfer assets in a smaller size to say is beneficiary designations. The most common example of beneficiary designations that we think about would be a life insurance policy. Generally, if we have life insurance on our life, we name somebody as the beneficiary to receive that money after we pass away.

We can do the same thing with other assets. For example, in Nevada, there’s a special form of deed that somebody can sign to name beneficiaries on their house. Helen could sign this beneficiary deed and say, “Upon my death, the house shall be transferred to Bob and Suzy.”

After Helen passes away, Bob and Suzy prepare a document with her death certificate that notes that she’s passed away and the ownership of that house transfers automatically to them without any other work. No probate work or other work required. It becomes a very easy way to transfer that condo that only had sixty thousand dollars in equity in it to her children after she passes away.

Those are three simple tools that can be used to transfer that and there’s a frequent questions that Brian has right now that the people often ask me.

 

Brian: What if there’s a will that has two beneficiaries, but the asset is being held in joint tenancy?

 

Jonathan: That’s a great question. Again, same example. Helen has two kids, Bob and Suzy. Yet, she did just what I described earlier, she went in to the bank and she said, “I just want Suzy to get one…” She added Suzy as the joint owner of the bank account.

The effect of that is that even though she said in the will that she wanted Bob and Suzy to share whatever she had, the joint ownership designation, the joint account designation is going to trump the will. Meaning, Suzy is going to get that account one hundred percent with no legal obligation to share with her brother Bob. Even though the will says that were supposed to share it fifty-fifty.

Again, we want to be careful about how we use those joint designations to make sure that they do actually match up to what you want to do. You may say in the will, “I want to share it with him equally,” but if you make a joint beneficiary designation or a joint account ownership for a beneficiary designation, there’s contrary to that, those will apply and be enforced rather than what you say in the will.

With all three of these tools, the will, joint ownership, and beneficiary designations, there are pros and cons to how they’re used. You want to be careful that that matched up with what you want to accomplished and that they do what you’ve said they want to do.

If you have any questions about this and want help with discussing these three tools and how they work for people with smaller estates, it’s time to give us a call here at Clear Counsel Law Group.

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