Keeping Calm and Lawyering On

Keep_calm_and_lawyer_onThey say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I’m not sure that’s true of the weather in Reno; we’ve had snow, hail, rain, sleet, glowering clouds and sunshine in the last week. But wow—March has brought a giant change to our lives with the draconian measures put into place to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. In early March, nearly every meeting on my calendar began to be cancelled. Our firm discussed what actions we might need to take to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus.

On March 17, Governor Sisolak ordered the closure for 30 days of non-essential businesses. Law offices are deemed essential, so we were not required to close, nor have we. However, the same week, our office had opted to move to minimal office operations, with attorneys and staff being encouraged to work from home. I had a few meetings that week to sign estate planning documents, but since then have been telecommuting from home. Whether we are in this for the mid-haul or the long-haul, laptop, cell phone and internet connection are keeping me and my colleagues working full time. I can draft documents and correspondence, call clients, participate in meetings and even attend hearings from home. Clients’ needs have not lessened, though certainly some have decided to wait until the storm blows over before pursuing legal matters. There has been an uptick in younger people seeking to put estate planning in place.

The move to remote working has its advantages. I don’t have to pack my lunch or drive to the office. I am spending more quality time with my husband, who has been working from home for the past year. I have more time to work on homework for my estate planning classes—I am taking the last two classes required to complete my Master of Laws degree in estate planning. If all goes well, I will graduate in six weeks. I have more time to check in with friends. And I have time to get back to blogging.

There is no dearth of new challenges in the world of trusts and estates to share on the blog. In January, the federal Secure Act went into effect which brought significant changes to the distribution and taxation of retirement plans after the death of the account holder. The Nevada legislature was in session last year and passed several significant pieces of legislation. The statutory form powers of attorney for health care and for financial matters have been updated to add choices regarding placement in care facilities. The types of property that can be included in a gift list have been drastically expanded. Changes have been made to the law governing “No Contest” clauses. And on it goes. Stay tuned for future posts to discuss new legislation and more. Until then, may we all stay healthy and safe.

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