Elder Law with Michael G. Millward: Show gratitude for new gifts to our Silver State
Tis the season for gifts and gratitude. I’m grateful for my childhood Christmas gifts. I remember my He-Man and Castle Grayskull set, Mikey doll, LEGO Airport, RC Hovercraft, and first Ruger .22 rifle, as well as many others. Beyond the recognition that maybe I was a bit spoiled most Christmas mornings, I recall learning as a child that showing gratitude is the best way to compensate someone for giving a great gift.
American author William Arthur Ward once wrote that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
Having seen the sadness and sorrow that comes with condemnation or thanklessness, I try to always express my gratitude after receiving a gift. Sometimes, however, showing gratitude is not easy. It can be hard to express gratitude to someone you disagree with.
One group of people rarely thanked for their hard work and service is our public servants. Be it our local law enforcement, representatives at the DMV, or even our locally elected state senators and assemblymen. Accordingly, I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of our State Legislature.
This year our State Legislature accomplished a lot that many of us can be thankful for. During the 2017 legislative session, our Legislature gave us new laws that will benefit many us for several years to come. Below I have provided those updates to the law that I believe are most beneficial.
The Legislature remembered to continue to support our veterans. The Legislature allocated $33 million for the construction of a veteran’s home in Northern Nevada. As well, many veterans will soon be able to receive college credit for military education and experience. The Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education is now required to develop standards for awarding credit to those that have received military education, training or experience.
The Legislature also enacted expanded exemptions protecting judgment debtors from being garnished or having their property sold to satisfy a judgment.
In addition to exemptions of $12,000 for personal property, $15,000 for one vehicle, $5,000 for jewelry, and $550,000 in equity in a homesteaded residence, the Legislature increased the “wild card” exemption, which pertains to any property of the debtor’s choosing, from $1,000 to $10,000.
The Legislature also expanded the retirement account exemption (IRA, 401k, Deferred Compensation) from $500,000 to $1 million. With these exemptions, it will be more difficult for a creditor to collect upon a judgment.
Another change is that the children of judgment creditors were extended protection under the new law. Now, any inherited retirement account is exempt from collection by a judgment creditor of the deceased person. Likewise, in most cases, judgment creditors of a child will not be able to garnish or otherwise collect from an inherited retirement account.
My favorite gift from the Legislature is the promise of no more slow drivers in the fast lane. Now, if you’re like me, you’re easily irritated by the vehicle in the far left lane doing 15 mph under the posted speed limit. I dislike passing cars on the right side of the road; it just feels wrong. Fortunately, our legislature has prohibited any driver from remaining in the far left lane of a controlled access highway when traveling at a speed that is less than the posted speed limit while being overtaken by other vehicles.
With all the cynicism and negative news concerning government servants, I am sure that to many of our public servants, the job is a thankless one. Next time you see your Assemblymen or Senator, thank him or her for their dedication and service to our great state. Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Michael G. Millward, Esq., is an estate planning and business attorney. Millward previously practiced with Cassandra Jones, Esq., at Heritage Law Group, and started his own firm, Millward Law, Ltd., in April of 2017. He is a resident of Douglas County, and practices in state and federal courts in Northern Nevada. He can be reached at 775-600-2776.