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Straight Talk: Local lawyers answer commonlegal questions

Can my credit card company garnish my wages to force me to pay my credit card debt?

“A person, by using their credit card, has agreed to repay these charges. This agreement is not automatically enforceable by the credit card company, but can be enforced by lawsuit. Therefore, garnishment upon non-payment is not automatic. If the charge is disputed in writing, then no action is taken until the card company reaches a decision. After informing the user of the decision, they may proceed if not resolved.

However, before a person’s wages can be garnished, there are many hurdles. Upon defaulting in payment, the person usually receives a demand for payment. If that is not resolved, then they may be sued. Only after judgment, and notice of entry of judgment to the cardholder, can the card company initiate garnishment. This takes place through the constable or sheriff. The maximum garnishment for credit card debt is 25 percent. A person can, of course, work out a settlement or payment plan at any time in the process which will resolve the matter prior to any garnishment. Additionally, bankruptcy may be a resolution that will prevent garnishment.” 

— Ronald H. Reynolds, Reynolds and Associates

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I was in a car accident several months ago, but only now I seem to be showing symptoms of injury. Is it too late to file a personal injury lawsuit?

“Gaps of several months from a car crash to an initial visit to a physician are usually fatal to the success of an injury claim. Although a delay of symptoms such as you describe are medically possible, a delay such as you describe rarely passes the common sense-test employed by a jury. You will incur costs in litigation. If you lose your case, you may be responsible to pay the other side’s costs and attorney fees. I recommend that you get medical care for your injuries on an insurance basis, if you have coverage, and forego litigating your personal injury claim.”

Keith E. Galliher, Jr., The Galliher Law Firm


Is a verbal or handshake agreement enforceable as a contract?

“Yes, verbal contracts are fully enforceable in the state of Nevada. They carry a four-year statute of limitations, unlike written contracts that have a six-year statute of limitations. However, some verbal contracts would not be enforceable. For instance, if they are for values in excess of $500, or if they entail extending service beyond a year, they would not be enforceable. There’s an entire list of things that would not be covered because those items would be barred by the Statue of Fraud, which requires writing, but if you can be outside of the Statue of Fraud then your contract can be enforceable.”

Mary F. Chapman, Law Office of Mary Chapman, Ltd.


Should I create a trust or a will to distribute my assets?

“I recommend that you have both a trust and will to direct how your assets are distributed after your death. With either a trust or a will, you can specify who will administer your estate, who will receive your estate, and on what terms, but a trust can avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding if you become incompetent during your lifetime and the need for a probate proceeding after your death.

Because a trust operates only on assets for which the trust is the owner or beneficiary, I recommend also having a will that makes your trust the beneficiary of all assets that are subject to probate, just to make sure any assets that are inadvertently left out of the trust end up being part of the trust. If you do not want to create a trust (perhaps because of the expense or to avoid having to change asset ownership), you should use a will to make your wishes known with respect to the distribution of your assets. However, keep in mind that the will only operates on assets in your name alone, and it will be subject to probate in most states.”

— Layne T. Rushforth, The Rushforth Firm, Ltd.


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