Category Archives: Estate Planning

Protecting Fido and Fluffy with a Trusts and Estates Attorney in Broadway NC

When a person considers hiring a trusts and estates attorney in Broadway North Carolina, it is usually in contemplation as to how to help other people.  He or she may want to carefully draft a will to leave assets to a spouse or children or make a trust that will protect his or her family’s future for years to come.  However, a trusts and estates attorney in Broadway North Carolina can also be retained to provide planning regarding pets.

For many people, pets become a member of the family.  They may supplement a family that has children or sometimes take the place of children in a person’s life.  When a person is contemplating final wishes, he or she may consider what will happen to the family pet.  This is especially important if the individual is single.  However, even if the individual is fairly comfortable that the pet will be inherited by someone he or she trusts, the person may still feel better getting this information in writing and ensuring that funds are available for the pet’s use and maintenance.

North Carolina law has a specific statute that details the creation of trusts for the use of caring for a pet.  This statute states that no portion of the trust is to be used for the trustee or otherwise unless the trust explicitly states otherwise.  Additionally, the trust remains in force until the death of the last animal.  Upon termination, any remaining trust funds are transferred in accordance with the trust instructions or as part of the residuary clause of the will if there are no relevant instructions.  A trusts and estates attorney can draft specific trust instructions that the trustee can carry out.

Sanford Trusts and Estates Attorney Explains Requirements for Modification

Many individuals establish a trust with the help of a Sanford trusts and estates attorney to effectuate important goals.  They may want to ensure that the next generation has funds available for their basic needs and education.  They may reserve funds for a child with special needs to use.  They may establish a trust for a charitable purpose.  However, in some cases a Sanford trusts and estates attorney may need to be consulted because a modification to an existing trust may need to be made.

North Carolina allows trust modifications for a variety of reasons.  A trust can be modified due to unanticipated circumstances or because the trust is not being administered effectively.  If a modification or termination of the trust would better effectuate the purposes of the trust, the court can make such an order.  If a trust has a value under $50,000, the trustee can move to terminate the trust if the value in the trust does not justify the cost of administration.   If there were mistakes made in the construction of the trust, these mistakes can be remedied through a modification.  Charitable trusts can also be modified.

Depending on the circumstances, a trustee, beneficiary or the settlor can make modifications to the trust in question.   Many modifications require that a proceeding be brought in order for the court to approve or disapprove a modification or termination of the trust.   The court may also have the power to remove the named trustee and appoint a different trustee.  A trust may also provide specific information regarding other ways to modify the trust and the grounds necessary to make such changes.  A trusts and estates attorney can explain what the options are in a given situation.

Have Your Estate Planning Attorney in Harnett County NC Review Beneficiaries

Part of an effective estate plan that an estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina may create is the use of beneficiary designation forms.  While a will or trust may be the cornerstone of an estate plan, beneficiary designation forms can dispose of certain assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies and bank accounts.  Having an estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina review your beneficiary designation forms can protect you from unwanted consequences. 

In some cases, individuals sign beneficiary designation forms and do not update them.  During the course of several years, many events in life can change.  A married person may get divorced.  A single person who listed his or her parents may now want to list a spouse.  A following out may affect a person’s desire to provide anything to an outdated named beneficiary.

The problem with outdated beneficiary designations is that the court usually does not have the power to override such a beneficiary that was originally contemplated by the decedent.  The decedent can no longer state his or her preference.  Therefore, the court must go by what was written on a paper years ago.  Therefore, unintended consequences may result, such as an ex benefiting from the decedent’s death.  Furthermore, a will or other document cannot overrule a beneficiary designation form, so it is imperative that these forms be reviewed periodically by an estate planning attorney and updated to reflect your current wishes.

Additionally, the beneficiaries named in a will or trust should also be reviewed and updated periodically.  Circumstances may change that affect your final wishes.  For example, a child may have special needs and may be in greater need of resources than other children.  Getting remarried may also trigger a desire to change such arrangements.

Why You Need a Sanford Trusts and Estates Attorney If You Have Children

A Sanford trusts and estates attorney helps individuals plan for their final days and effectuates their desires when it comes to distributing their earthly goods.  Making these arrangements is important for all individuals, but it is especially important for parents.  A Sanford trusts and estate attorney can help a grantor in the following ways:

Protect Children’s Financial Futures

A trusts and estates attorney can help draft a trust based on your preferences.  You can transfer assets of your choosing to the trust and appoint a person whom you trust to act as the trustee.  This person is tasked with the responsibility of following your instructions as outlined in the trust.  You can also structure your trust in different ways, depending on your circumstances.  For example, if you have a child with special needs, you can structure the trust in such a way that you will not hinder your child’s ability to receive other benefits that he or she is entitled to.  By taking these steps, you can ensure that your children have the financial resources that they need even if you are no longer there to provide for them.

Name Responsible Parties

A trusts and estates attorney can help you identify parties that you believe would act responsibly toward your children and can use this information to attach legal connections.  For example, he or she can name a guardian in your will who you think would be the best person to raise your children if you cannot do it for yourself.  You can appoint another person to handle the children’s property while they are still minors.

Condition Gifts

Unlike a will that requires an outright gift to a beneficiary, a trust allows you to give gifts to your children with strings attached.  For example, you may wish to withhold certain funds until your child graduates college or reaches a certain age.

How a Wills, Trusts and Estates Attorney in Broadway NC Can Help

Estate planning involves creating a strategy for the disposition of your property after your death.  Why is estate planning important? If you do not currently have a will in place, your estate assets will be passed according to North Carolina intestate succession laws upon your passing, and the result may not be what you would have expected or wanted.  A wills, trusts and estates attorney in Broadway North Carolina can help you devise an effective estate plan to conserve your assets for your loved ones.  Consult with a wills, trusts and estates attorney in Broadway North Carolina and start planning for the future today.

In the event that you pass away without a will, your property will pass to your next of kin according to North Carolina intestate succession laws.  A surviving relative must outlive you by 120 hours in order to inherit your property under these laws.  Your family members are entitled to inherit their intestate share of your property even if they are not citizens or legal aliens in the United States.  If you do not have a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, or cousins, your property will “escheat”, and pass to the state in the absence of a will stating otherwise.

Generally, only assets that you own in your name alone will pass according to intestate succession laws.  However, there are some assets that directly transfer to a surviving co-owner or beneficiary, and therefore are not affected by these laws.  Such assets include:

  • property held in a living trust;
  • life insurance proceeds;
  • funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account;
  • securities held in a transfer-on-death account;
  • payable-on-death bank accounts; or
  • property co-owned as a joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety. 

Contact a local wills, trusts and estates attorney for more information about North Carolina estate planning.

Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney in Harnett County NC

If you are thinking about how you can better provide for your loved ones after your passing, you should definitely contact an estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina.  Estate planning allows you to anticipate and make conscious decisions about how your property will be transferred upon your death.  An estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina can advise you on the best strategies for maximizing the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses, in addition to eliminating uncertainties related to probate.

While most people initially go to an estate planning attorney in order to get a will drafted, estate planning involves more than just your will.   Effective estate planning can also help you:

  • provide instructions for your care if you become disabled before your death;
  • name a guardian and an inheritance manager for any minor children;
  • provide for family members with special needs without disrupting their government benefits;
  • provide for loved ones who may need future protection from creditors or divorce;
  • acquire life insurance to provide for your family after your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for medical care in the event of an extended illness or injury;
  • provide for the transfer of your business upon your retirement, disability, or death;
  • create a revocable living trust to avoid probate;
  • minimize taxes, court costs, and any unnecessary legal fees.

You do not need to be wealthy or retired to benefit from estate planning.  Since it is not possible for anyone to predict how long he or she will live, estate planning cannot not be put off indefinitely.  Start planning for your future and the future well-being of your family by contacting a local estate planning attorney today, while you still have the time.

Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney in Harnett County NC?

Estate planning is an uncomfortable subject for many, since it involves thinking about one’s death.  Unfortunately, many individuals put off these decisions until it is too late, and surviving family members are left to deal with these difficult choices.  Therefore, it is important to consult an estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina to save your family unnecessary heartache.  An estate planning attorney in Harnett County North Carolina will provide guidance and advice so that you make the best decisions possible for your loved ones.

Estate planning involves complicated probate and tax laws.  Depending on your wishes, you may need to dictate that your estate will be distributed in a certain way.  For example, if you want to leave funds for your loved ones, it may be best to set up a trust.  An estate planning attorney can help you study the different types of trusts and their advantages and disadvantages so that you can decide which type is best for your family.

You may also feel a strong connection to your alma mater or perhaps an organization in your local area.  With an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that funds will be properly distributed to these entities.  Sadly, in many cases, such a gift or bequest may be invalidated by a court if it is not properly planned.

Proper estate planning also ensures that your loved ones do not have to fight over your estate in court.  Inadequate estate planning often leads to battles between family members that can drag on for a number of years.  In many cases, these familial relationships are permanently damaged.  With a thorough plan in place that clearly delineates your wishes, you eliminate the risk of such an occurrence.

Clearly, estate planning has significant benefits, and should be seriously considered by all.

Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney When You Own a Business

When you own a business and are planning your estate, you may need to hire an estate-planning attorney in Harnett County.  This process allows for a smooth transition should you pass on unexpectedly.  The lawyer will provide valuable information that can ensure the future of your business’s estate.  Many business owners feel that they can handle the estate planning themselves.  However, the process can become confusing.

If you unexpectedly die, your estate plan will protect all of your assets in property based on what you decide no matter how much your estate is worth.  Without an estate-planning attorney to help you plan your estate, your estate may be distributed differently than the way you wish.  Your attorney will review your information and ensure that your instructions will be counted on.

Your lawyer will ensure that your business stays in control even if you pass away unexpectedly.  They will know exactly what you would want to happen and will work with you to design a plan that is perfect for your business, family, and overall wellbeing.  Ensuring the successful distribution of your company and satisfying what you think is important is the number one priority your lawyer will have.

It is important to hire an estate lawyer who will ensure success in the event that you pass out.  Your estate lawyer will ensure that you get the best options and will create a successful future for your business and your estate.  Hire your estate lawyer and ensure your future today.

Why An Estate Planning Attorney Should Review Your Will Yearly

Just like our own health, our wills need annual checkups by qualified estate planning attorneys to guarantee that everything is still in working order and reflects the reality of your family’s situation.  Here are the top reasons to have an annual will check up with a Harnett County estate planning attorney:

Asset changes

Whether your finances experienced substantial gains or losses, yearly reviews will help keep your estate planning up to date and relevant to your family’s situation.  Other considerations include additional insurance policies, pensions or properties (bought and sold) need to be incorporated to the will’s directives.

Relationship changes

Welcoming new family members to the fold?  Your estate planning documents should always reflect where your family’s life is currently at and annual will reviews will take into consideration any marriages, divorces, births or deaths that might have occurred that would affect your will or make specific stipulations no longer relevant.

Changes in tax laws

It’s not an understatement to say that both state, federal and local tax laws are constantly changing.  Don’t let your estate get caught in any unseen complications that come along by reviewing your will each year against any updated codes, laws or stipulations.

Philanthropy

Maybe you’ve found a cause you’re passionate about and want to support even if something ever happened to you.  Estate planning attorneys can help you work your philanthropic goals into your will and verify your wishes with each annual review.

Moves and relocations

New places mean new tax laws and considerations to take into your estate plan.  If a move has taken place or is on the horizon, your annual will review is the time to bring it up with your estate planning attorney to make the new transition seamless.

Why Would a Trusts and Estates Attorney Draft a Special Needs Trust?

As the parents of a child with special needs, you face a unique set of challenges when it comes to estate planning and managing the child’s care.  In general, a trust is used to manage property for another individual’s benefit.  Special needs trusts specifically address individuals who are mentally ill or otherwise disabled.

These beneficiaries may lack the mental capacity necessary to manage their own finances, but as their parent you may still be concerned about their future and well-being.  A special needs trust is created with the specific lifestyle, needs, and future of that beneficiary in mind.  In addition to providing critical assistance down the line managed by an outside person, a special needs trust can also help protect government benefits of the beneficiary receives.

There are several different kinds of individuals who can serve as a trustee on a special needs trust.  Usually it will be a family member, but a third party may also be appointed by the court if no trustworthy family member is available.  Choosing the right trustee is a critical decision, especially when the special needs trust is being used to help care for younger person.

To address the unique needs of an individual with special needs, the trustee may be empowered to purchase necessities for the beneficiary.  Services and products such as vacations, dental and medical expenses, education, home furnishings, personal care attendants, physical therapy, recreation, and vehicles are all examples of items that a trustee might purchase for the beneficiary’s use.

It’s in your best interest to consult with a Lee County trusts and estates attorney as soon as possible regarding the structure of the special needs trust.