Wills & Trusts

“Having a Paralegal or Personal Injury Attorney Draft Your Will or Trust is Like Leaving the Keys to Your House to a Homeless Person While You’re on Vacation!”

The following questions worry many clients so we thought that we would do a question and answer section involving Wills and Paralegals and Attorneys who are “jacks of all trades.”

Question: What happens if my Will is done by a Paralegal or Personal Injury Attorney and there are mistakes and errors or it wasn’t properly done?
Answer: The majority of the time, if the Will is not prepared and executed properly, then the Will is thrown out and it’s like it was never written. At that point, the State controls who inherits your assets – you have no say in the process!

Question: Does a Will avoid Probate Court?
Answer: No, all Wills go through Probate Court. A Will is just a piece of paper– it cannot hold ownership or title to your cars, homes, bank accounts, etc; however, it is better than nothing so at least get a $99 Will (at least that is what our firm charges for a Will – $99). As such, we need to take your Will through Probate Court upon your passing and the Court will oversee and determine distributions to your beneficiaries. To avoid Probate Court, you need a properly drafted and funded Revocable Living Trust.

Question: What recourse do my beneficiaries have when a Paralegal messes up my Will, Trust or other estate planning document?
Answer: None. Paralegals claim they have insurance or licensing, but they don’t have any governing body that takes away their licenses because there is no test to be called a “paralegal.” It is like someone advertising on Craigslist if they screw something up, you have ZERO recourse. Using paralegals in Pahrump is like allowing a homeless person to watch over your house and stuff while you are on vacation don’t do it!

For many families, it is very disappointing when the creator of the Will or Trust intended to have a beneficiary inherit, but the poorly drafted document prepared by the Paralegal destroys that possibility. If you or your friends or family have been named in a Will or Trust – tell your friend or family to seek the advice of an attorney (not a Paralegal) to review the Will or Trust before it is too late.

“…if the Will is not prepared and executed properly, then the Will is thrown out and it’s like it was never written. At that point, the State controls who inherits your assets…”

Problems with Paralegals practicing law in Clark County are not as frequent as in Nye County. I guess these Nye County Paralegals prey on the individuals in smaller, remote communities. The Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Nevada defines a Paralegal or Legal Assistant as a person, qualified by education, training or work experience that is employed or retained by an Attorney or Law Office and performs specifically delegated substantive legal work under the ultimate direction and supervision of an Attorney – in other words, an Attorney is responsible. The most important part of the State Bar of Nevada definition is that a Paralegal works under the delegation of an Attorney. What does that mean? That means by definition, an Attorney is ALWAYS involved and the Attorney delegates to the Paralegal the work and then the Attorney reviews the work and the Attorney is then held responsible for the Paralegal’s work.

The Solution
First, take your documents into a licensed Nevada Attorney. Most firms, like our firm, provide a cost-free review of your Will and Trust. Also, many firms, like mine, prepare a Last Will and Testament for $99 – yes, ninety-nine bucks so you are basically paying the same price as a paralegal charges to prepare a Last Will and Testament.

Second, fix the documents. It is much cheaper to fix the documents while you are alive than through the court process after you pass away. Most importantly, the beneficiaries you desire will inherit, not the beneficiaries named by your Paralegal. In fact, even though Law Firms hire Paralegals, a good estate planning law firm only has the Attorneys (not a Paralegal) draft the client’s Wills and Trusts because these two documents control everything you worked hard to earn your entire life.

Third, hire law firms that ONLY practice in that area of law that you are needing services. For example, when you need a doctor and you have heart pain do you go to a gynecologist? For this very reason, you w o u l d go to a cardiologist instead of a gynecologist for heart pain is why you shouldn’t go to an attorney that practices personal injury and estate planning. They claim “you need them” on billboards and they claim they can do just what those other attorneys can do only cheaper, but do you really want your gynecologist to perform your open-heart surgery? You deserve to have your documents prepared properly by going to an attorney that is NOT “a Jack of All Trades – Master of None.” You deserve to have an attorney that only practices estate planning prepare your estate planning documents. Whether you use David Bindrup Law Firm or another estate planning law firm – only use an estate planning law firm to prepare your Will or Trust not some “Jack of all Trades.”

Plan now to prevent your family and loved ones from being attacked by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You deserve to have an Attorney be held responsible and accountable.

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David Bindrup, ESQ., CPA, LL.M. is the founding partner of the DAVID BINDRUP LAW FIRM, PLLC and the only Nevada CPA Attorney with an Advanced Law Degree (LL.M.) in Tax. David and the other Attorneys at his firm specialize only in the areas of estate planning, asset protection, business planning, and probate.

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