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Nurturing Legal Wellness

Insights from Jones & LoBello on proactively navigating legal health in 2024

Beyond the resolutions for physical fitness and mental well-being, the new year offers an opportunity to reflect on an often-overlooked aspect of holistic health – legal wellness. How equipped are you to face future legal challenges, especially those involving your family? In this Q&A article, Michele LoBello, Founding Partner, and Delwyn Webber, Estate Planning Chair at Jones & LoBello, a trusted family law and estate planning firm, share valuable insights. Discover uplifting advice and proactive strategies to approach the coming year with a positive mindset, ensuring your legal health aligns seamlessly with your personal well-being goals.

Michele LoBello, Founding Partner

Delwyn Webber, Estate Planning Chair

Jones & LoBello

With more than 23 years of experience, Jones & LoBello is a trusted family law and estate planning firm that provides high-quality legal representation, guides individuals through divorce and child custody disputes, and offers estate planning services tailored to clients’ unique needs.

Q: How can individuals proactively approach legal health in the new year, and what steps can they take to ensure a fresh start in terms of their personal and family legal matters? 

A: The new year is a chance to evaluate your personal and family goals, which should include your financial and estate planning. Consider updating your personal financial statement, taking care to determine whether you have maximized retirement planning and saving in the previous year. Verify your assets and life are adequately insured and evaluate your beneficiary designations. Evaluate your budget, taking care to ensure you are making appropriate allocations to savings. If you don’t regularly monitor your personal and family’s credit, this is the time to review it. With interest rates having dramatically increased recently, reducing or eliminating debt may be prudent. Review your estate plan with your attorney and accountant, with the goal of maximizing the rules governing taxes and wealth transfers.   

Q: How can your expertise in areas like trust and wills or asset protection help readers protect and grow their assets and investments for a prosperous future?

A: It is extremely important to have an effective estate plan in place so that the assets you have spent your life accumulating end up with your desired beneficiaries. A simple Last Will and Testament will achieve this; however, a Will does go through the Probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive. One way to avoid Probate is by creating and properly ‘funding’ a Trust. By creating a Trust, you are still able to deal with your assets as you desire during your lifetime(s); however, upon death, Trust assets are distributed to beneficiaries without Court intervention. 

If asset protection is your desire, you can create an Asset Protection Trust, which is irrevocable, but you still basically maintain control of those assets. An irrevocable Trust is more complex than a revocable Trust, but it does have its benefits. 

It is also very important to have Healthcare Powers of Attorney, which gives your nominated agent(s) authority to carry out your healthcare desires in the event you become unable to vocalize those decisions yourself. 

Q: Family dynamics can evolve, and relationships can change over time. What advice do you have for readers looking to strengthen their family's legal foundation in the new year, especially in areas like child custody? Are there steps they can take to foster healthier co-parenting and family relationships? 

A: If you are subject to Court Orders governing minor children, review them and be sure you understand and are complying with the Orders and that your co-parent is as well. There are many apps available that allow you to create a custody calendar you can share, making it easy to follow the custodial timeshare. Plan and notice your annual vacation custodial time. Consider enrolling in a parenting communication application to share information concerning the children, whereby you can document the sharing of information and likely encourage more healthy, less combative communication. If you are entitled to child support from your co-parent, consider a review of that obligation. In Nevada, the Court can review and modify support every three years. Changes in income and circumstances may dictate an adjustment of the amount is appropriate. 

The attorneys are licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada. The information in this article is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice.

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