Clifford Gravett, Esq. 

As we approach the end of the year, all kinds of things get an end-of-the-year tune up; your car, your home, your health, but what about your legal and estate planning needs? Your legal needs can and often do change over the course of the year but often, just like the leaky faucet or the worn-out tires, we let things go until it’s too late. The purpose of this column is to suggest a few places where an end-of-the-year evaluation may prevent significant frustration in the upcoming year.

  1. Homesteading Your Nevada Residence

Nevada provides a generous homestead exemption which can protect your home against being seized by judgment creditors (although it cannot prevent foreclosure by your mortgage lender). If you’ve purchased a Nevada residence but haven’t recorded a homestead declaration with the county recorder’s office, then you are missing out on this important legal protection. Keep in mind that the “homestead” forms you were likely deluged with when you bought your house came from private companies and likely haven’t been recorded with the county recorder.

  1. Updating Your Estate Plan

Many of you may have an estate plan of some form, whether a will or a trust; however, if you’re like me, once you signed all the forms you promptly forgot all about it. However, if you’ve opened new accounts, purchased any real estate, added (or lost) family or friends, or had other life changes since you first prepared your estate plan, it may be time to dust off the old documents and take a look at potential changes. And, if you’ve never prepared a trust, it may be worth considering, especially if you own any real estate. Finally, if you’ve never prepare a living will, outlining your end-of-life care plans, now may be the time to start.

  1. Sealing/Expunging Criminal Records

If you’ve got an old criminal record that you’ve never gotten sealed, now may be the time. Due to the magic of the internet, criminal convictions are more accessible than ever and can come up at the most inopportune times. Although not all criminal convictions can be sealed, it’s always worth looking into.

I hope that 2017 is a happy and successful year for everyone and, that it can been worry free. If you’ve got all your legal i’s and t’s dotted and crossed, I’m sure that it will be!

Cliff Gravett is an attorney with Bingham Snow & Caldwell’s Mesquite, Nevada office. The firm handles civil, criminal, and estate planning manners in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona