Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Proper Execution of a Last Will and Testament

This past year our probate department reviewed numerous Wills that were not executed or signed properly.  In some cases, through affidavits from the subscribing witnesses, we were able to correct some of these errors and admit the Wills to probate.  Unfortunately, in other cases, the problems were not able to be fixed. Most of these errors were from Wills that were not prepared by an attorney.  Once a person is deceased, errors in the execution of a Will cannot always be corrected.  This can result in complete devastation, with assets being distributed to persons that were not intended by the decedent. 

The Nevada requirements for the execution of a Will are set forth in the Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 133. These requirements must be followed with exactness.  One missing word can be the difference between a valid Will and an invalid Will.  The requirements are not difficult; however, to someone who is not an attorney, the requirements are easy to miss.  We have found that there are many incorrect Will forms floating around on the internet and are not worth the paper they are written on.

If you have questions regarding the validly of your Will, contact an attorney and they will be able to quickly tell you whether your Will is properly executed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Selling Real Property In Probate

When a person dies, they often times leave real property to their beneficiaries.  So long as there are sufficient assets to pay off any creditors, the beneficiaries can choose whether to keep the property or sell it. 

If the beneficiaries choose to sell the property and the property has to go through the probate process, there are three ways to deal with selling the property:

1.       The beneficiaries can wait until the probate process is complete and the title has transferred into the beneficiaries’ name.  At that point, because the title is held by the beneficiaries, they can sell the property and sign all of the closing documents individually.  The only downside to this option is that the beneficiaries have to wait for the probate to be completed which can often take 6 months or more.
2.       The property can be sold during the probate process through a court’s confirmation of sale.  In this process, the executor or administrator of the estate signs the documents to sell the property.  Once a buyer is found, there is a court hearing to confirm the sale.  At the court hearing, the property is placed up for auction by the court and any member of the public may overbid the buyer and purchase the property.  This helps to make sure that the estate gets the highest price possible for the property.
3.       In some cases, the property may be sold during the probate process without a court confirmation hearing through the Independent Administration of Estate Act.  This act, passed in 2011, allows property to be sold where all of the beneficiaries of the estate receive notice of the sale and the price received is not less than 90% of the appraisal price.

In most cases, any of the three methods described above can be used to sell real property.  Methods two and three allow for a much quicker sale as they are done before the probate concludes.  Should you have any questions regarding the sale of real property in probate, please contact our office.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Powers of Attorney for Children Who Have Recently Attained the Age of Majority

            In recent news Aden Hailu, a 20-year-old woman and student at the University of Nevada, Reno, died on January 4, 2016. In brief, Aden admitted herself to Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada (the “hospital”), in April of 2015. Through a series of tests, it appears doctors could not initially determine the cause of Aden’s illness. Aden appeared to be normal except she was not responding to IV fluids and she had inconsistent vital signs. Doctors determined that they should perform surgery on Aden to detect the source of her illness. During surgery, Aden went into cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. From the time Aden fell into a coma until her death, Aden’s family and the hospital were engaged in a court battle to determine Aden’s proper end-of-life treatment.

            Although it is not clear to this author whether or not Aden had expressed her desires for end-of-life treatment in a Power of Attorney or otherwise, this case is a good reminder that clients should have Powers of Attorney and Directive to Physicians prepared for their children who have recently attained the age of majority. This can help foreclose the need for guardianships in cases like Aden’s and also add clarity to such child’s intent for end-of-life procedures. If you have not thought about having Powers of Attorney or Directive to Physicians prepared for your children who have recently become adults, please contact an attorney at Jeffrey Burr to assist you in that regard.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Happy Holidays from JEFFREY BURR

Instead of posting one of our attorneys' great blogs, we want to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients, friends and referral sources a very Happy Holiday and prosperous 2016!    It's not too late to start off the new year right - we are here and ready to help with your estate panning needs.

All of us at Jeffrey Burr

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Planning for Digital Assets

More and more estates these days include digital assets in two main categories: devices and accounts.  Typically both devices and accounts have controlled access which requires a password.  You might only have a handful of devices that require passwords, such as a smartphone, home computer, laptop, tablet, and a home security system.  But the number and variety of accounts could be very surprising if you were to count them out.  Online banking (brick & mortar, and online-only), e-mail accounts, social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), online shopping and their related consumer credit accounts (Amazon, Ebay, retail store websites), life insurance, investment accounts, online photo storage or cloud backup services, blogs and websites that you manage, photo or video sharing websites (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr), and media purchasing sites such as GooglePlay, AmazonPrime, and iTunes.

Many of these accounts may contain information that you would like to pass on to the beneficiaries of your estate.  This could include the transfer of wealth from an online investment account, to sharing photos and videos from your life, to enjoying the songs, movies, and TV shows that you have purchased online.

The great question is this: If you were to pass away, would those who are named to handle your affairs be able to access these devices and accounts?  Unfortunately, in many cases the answer is “No” unless careful preparation is made.  The law is trying to keep up but there is no clear and reliable guarantee that your Executor or Successor Trustee will be able to access your digital assets through operation of law.  However, a court order won’t do much good to unlock your smartphone or laptop.  And in fact, your online accounts may be inaccessible by your Executor even with a court order depending upon each account’s terms of service agreement.

So what’s the solution?  A homemade solution might include storing your account ID’s and passwords somewhere safe, yet accessible, when you are gone.  You could use a password protected file on your computer, so long as you provide the password to the file and to your computer to your Executor.  There are online services and applications that can be used to store your password information.  This can be helpful even during life to keep track of your various and often related or derivative passwords.

Our firm will soon be unveiling an online document/information storage service for our clients with Everplans.  [] This service has demonstrated to be an intuitive and secure location to save not only passwords and instructions for digital assets, but also a service to store and access information and instructions for many elements of your life including: estate planning documents, degrees and certifications, instructions for your pets, religious affiliation and instructions on your funeral or memorial service.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Don't Forget to Plan for your Pets

Most people are aware that a good estate plan should contain provisions to distribute assets to loved ones while avoiding probate.  Have you thought about what will happen to your pets?  It is important to include provisions in your estate plan to address what will happen to your pets in the event of your death.  This can include who will care for your pets if something happens to you and can also include financial distributions to care for your pets. Although you cannot directly leave money to your pet, you may leave money to their caretaker.  Nevada law also specifically allows for pet trusts to be established.  This type of planning can give you the peace of mind that your family, including your beloved pets, will be taken care of should something should happen to you.   

If you are a pet owner, call one of our attorneys at 702-433-4455 to discuss how you can make sure your pets are included in your estate plan.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

AFRs for December 2015

The Section 7520 rate is 2.0%

Annual Semi-annual Qtly Monthly
are as follows
Short-term 0.56% 0.56% 0.56% 0.56%
Mid-term 1.68% 1.67% 1.67% 1.66%
Long-term 2.61% 2.59% 2.58% 2.58%