The cost of retaining us depends on the level of services needed. Michaelson Law offers both flat-rate and hourly engagements, depending on the type of matter and the facts and circumstances of a particular case. We will work with you to determine which arrangement best suits your needs. For example, many estate planning and business organization matters are handled on a flat rate basis. Hourly services typically include estate and business litigation, guardianship, and probate. Attorney rates range from approximately $400.00/hour to $600.00/hour.
We require a retainer for all new matters. The amount of the initial retainer depends on the magnitude of the representation and typically ranges from $1,000.00 and up. An exception might be a contingency matter for which we typically do not require an up-front retainer.
A service agreement refers to the contract agreed to and signed by Michaelson law and a client. These are sometimes referred to as “engagement agreements.” We require a service agreement to commence work but typically will not prepare the service agreement until after the initial consultation, so that we can better understand the scope of work needed.
The process length depends on the level of services needed and the timeline of the client. As an example, estate planning services can take as little as a week in some cases, while our guardianship services can extend for six months or longer depending on the court’s calendar and any objections that might be encountered.
Communication with your attorney depends on the client’s wishes, the representation being provided, and any case deadlines. You can expect your attorney to communicate with you in a timely fashion regarding any and all updates for your matter. Attorneys will reply to emails within 24-48 business hours.
The best way to reach your attorney is usually through email or the office number at 702-731-2333. Our office staff is available Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm. Keep in mind that all communication with the attorney will be billed, either against the agreed upon flat rate or on an hourly basis. Flat rate engagements may contain extra hourly provisions to address matters with extraordinary service or communication needs.
Our front staff is available Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm to coordinate a meeting at the attorney’s next available time. We cannot guarantee same-day appointments, however, we will use our best efforts to accommodate emergency situations and new prospective clients working against probate and guardianship deadlines.
Can you imagine seeing your favorite movie in a theater and the projector breaks causing you to miss the last two scenes? Or, what about reading an amazing book only to find the last two chapters have been ripped out of your copy? This is what it is like for your family when you fail to plan the last chapters of your life. That is what estate planning and asset protection can help you avoid.
Estate planning refers to the preparation of estate documents in the event of incapacitation or death. An unfortunate truth of life is that everyone dies, and we cannot control when that will happen. However, we can put the documents in place to ensure our estate is handled the way we prefer. These documents can govern how bank accounts, retirement accounts, real property, and other assets are controlled. Your estate plan will also include instructions on when/how your estate will be divided to and among your beneficiaries. When you have an estate plan, and update it as needed, the chances of avoiding guardianship, probate, or other problems for your estate and loved ones are far greater.
A complete estate plan typically includes at least a Living Trust, a Will & Last Testament, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Financial Power of Attorney. You worked for what you have. You sacrificed. Put plans in place now to protect what you’ve built.
A will and a living trust are both important documents to have in your estate plan. They both play important, but separate roles. A will is a document that says these are the people and things I care about. Virtually everyone needs a will. But a won’t keep you or your loved ones out of guardianship court if you’re incapacitated or probate court if you die because without a trust, your property is likely still titled in your own name. It’s very possible nothing can be done by your loved ones until they go to court to get authority from a judge. So, while executing a will is often easy and relatively inexpensive, it can end up costing your loved ones a lot of time and money to administer your estate. It does, however, at least express your desires for who will ultimately get your property when the court process is finished.
Unlike a will, a trust passes property outside of probate court. With a trust, you spend a little more money and do more work upfront to avoid expensive guardianship or probate court later. With a trust, you can title or register your property in the name of your trust, instead of your own name. Property you have already signed over to the trust can be handled efficiently by your loved ones without any court involvement, in the event you become incapacitated or pass away. There are different types of trusts and the attorneys at Michaelson Law are prepared to help you discover which type of trust is right for you and your family.
At Michaelson Law, our goal is to help guide families through the estate planning process – and, if necessary, guardianship – as easily and with as much dignity as possible. When estate planning documents and advance directives/powers of attorney are not in place or updated, guardianship is a last resort option we can utilize to protect the finances, and in some cases, the life and health of your loved ones who might be the subject of fraud, exploitation, or other harm.
Guardianship is something to avoid if possible because it is a complex courtroom process that can take months and thousands of dollars. However, in some cases, it is the only way to get protection for a vulnerable person. The best way to avoid guardianship is to work with an estate planning attorney who can help you or your loved ones get a plan in place to protect in case of incapacity. It is important to do this step before you or your loved-one becomes incapacitated. Important estate planning documents that should be part of your plan to avoid danger and the need for a guardianship include the following:
- Living Trust
- Will & Last Testament
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Advanced Healthcare Directive
Similar to death and taxes, many people hear the word “probate” and cringe. Words and thoughts such as expensive, time-consuming, and fear of the unknown come to mind. But what is probate? Simply put, probate is the legal process that comes into play after a person dies when other arrangements haven’t been properly made to transfer the decedent’s property to their heirs.
Probate is a court process that involves proving that either the deceased person lacked a valid last will and testament or that a will has been found that is valid. Other tasks include identifying, inventorying and securing the decedent’s property, notifying creditors, resolving debts, paying taxes, obtaining permission to do certain things, settling disputes, and distributing any remaining property to the heirs of the estate according to the terms of the will, or if there is no will, according to state law. If you find yourself in a situation where you must probate the estate of a loved one, we can help you. The death of a loved one is always difficult, but Michaelson Law has excellent people, systems and processes in to guide you through that difficult process as efficiently and effectively as possible. In fact, our hope is that our work will help you focus on the things that really matter like relationships and honoring the legacy of the person you’ve lost.
Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants a trusted person the legal authority to represent you and make decisions on your behalf. There are two basic types of POA’s: Financial and Healthcare.
Financial Powers of Attorney enable you to designate an agent (trusted person sometimes called your “attorney in fact”) to make financial decisions or represent you in financial matters in case you are incapacitated or otherwise unavailable – for example, if you are out of the country. Depending on how you word your POA, your agent can handle many things for you such as managing portfolios, buying or selling property, caring for pets, or running a business. However, care should be taken in the drafting of the document because most institutions such as banks or government agencies will not allow the agent to do something that is not specifically listed in the POA. Also, depending on how the document was prepared, the POA may not be valid unless and until you are shown to be incapacitated.
Financial POA’s are sometimes called “durable powers of attorney.” The word “durable” just means the document is valid even if you are incapacitated. In contrast, a non-durable POA is extinguished if you lose capacity. An example might be if you are leaving the country and you want someone to handle your affairs, you might execute a non-durable POA. It means your agent can act on your behalf while you’re away, but if you become incapacitated, you want their authority to cease. It is important to think about whether you do, or you don’t, want your POA agent to continue to have authority if and when you become incapacitated.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney allow you to name primary and alternative agents to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are not able to make the decisions on your own (incapacitation). This document also puts in place important guidelines for your agent to follow in making healthcare decisions for you.
Now, you may be thinking, “if I were in a situation where I was unable to make my own healthcare decisions, my family would be able to agree on a course of action in making those decisions for me.” While some medical facilities may choose to recognize your spouse or children as inherently able to make medical decisions for you, this is actually contrary to Nevada law. Under Nevada law, the only way someone truly has authority to make medical decisions for your is with a guardianship or a valid healthcare POA. So, to avoid the possibility of your family or loved ones being powerless to help, or, to avoid the possibility of someone you disapprove of making decision for you, best practice is to execute a carefully worded healthcare POA outlining your wishes.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will are two forms of advanced directives that can provide instructions to your Health Care Provider not to artificially sustain life when there is no hope of recovery. These are “pull the plug” directives so that you will not live on for years in a vegetative state unless that is your desire. Some healthcare providers require a Living Will when you are hospitalized.
If your loved one recently passed away and they had a trust in place, call the estate planning attorneys at Michaelson Law to provide trust administration services.
If your loved one died without a will and other estate planning documents in place, you will likely need to go through a court process called probate. If you must probate the estate of a loved one, we can guide you through this sometimes very difficult process and hopefully reduce stress and uncertainty for you and other loved ones who may be involved.
“Joint Tenancy” is a powerful phrase in the legal and title industries. It means that if these words are present in the title of a document – the moment a co-owner dies, his/her ownership interest in that title vanishes with them. The surviving owner or owners get all of the decedent’s interest automatically and without probate. It is a very efficient way to avoid probate – but can also be very dangerous depending on circumstances. Why? Because it can also be a means of unwittingly disinheriting other loves ones that the decedent thought would somehow be taken care of by the other joint owners. In fact, the surviving joint owners have no legal obligation to share the gift they’ve received. Also, during the lives of the joint owners, the liability of any one of the owners can endanger the property interests of all the other owners. So, great care should be taken before adding extra owners to a piece of property or an account. Call us and schedule a consultation to learn more about the differences between simple but potentially dangerous joint tenancy titling and proper estate planning/asset protection.
We know that estate planning refers to the preparation of estate documents in the event of incapacitation or death. But what about in the case of frivolous lawsuits? A lawsuit can happen anytime and to anyone, even if you are not super wealthy. The purpose of asset protection is to protect you and your estate while you are still alive and well. While we cannot stop someone from paying a filing fee and suing you, in most cases, we can make it much more difficult and expensive for that person or entity to attack your property or collect anything from you.
Asset protection is not a one-size fits all plan, but it can be particularly important for healthcare professionals, business owners, construction contractors, and other professionals who operate in industries where frivolous or exaggerated lawsuits seem more frequent.
One common piece to an asset protection plan can be an asset protection trust. There are different types of asset protection trusts, including Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPT), Offshore Asset Protection Trusts, Gift Trusts, and more. For more information on how asset protection can benefit you and your estate, visit our Asset Protection page and talk with the estate planning and asset protection attorneys at Michaelson Law.