Estate, Trust & Probate Blog

Modernizing an Outdated Estate Plan – What to do with a Confusing, Old Trust?

July 30, 2021

Estate plans evolve. Or at least they should. Any plan that fails to achieve your goals and doesn’t match your current financial and family circumstances is out of date and is in need of an overhaul. I can help you revitalize the obsolete aspects of your plan and get you back on track for the future. How to know if you have an outdated will or trust? If you or anyone you know signed a will or trust in 2012 or before, an immediate review should be on your to-do list. There have been many legal and policy changes since…

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Can Medicaid Estate Recovery Take Your House?

July 28, 2021

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Medicaid Estate Recovery Programs (MERP). The program was made mandatory after the passing of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. Notably, after the death of a Medicaid recipient, MERP provides means for the state to get reimbursed for the funds it spends on long-term care of that person. These home care expenses can be categorized into in-home care, community-based care, such as adult day care and assisted living services, or nursing home care.  A big concern for most elderly people and adult children with aging parents, who need Medicaid assistance…

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If I Don’t Have an Estate, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?

July 26, 2021

You don’t need to have a summer house in the Hamptons or a private art collection big enough to rival MOMA to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law. Although the term may conjure images of expansive country properties, expensive cars, or other symbols of high wealth, for the purposes of estate planning law, the term “estate” covers a whole lot more. What constitutes as an estate? Ordinary possessions like homes, jewelry collections, bank accounts, cars, furniture — basically anything you can own —…

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How A Living Trust Helps Your Family

July 21, 2021

There are several parts to an estate plan, one of them being a living trust. Common factors that prompt someone to create a trust include privacy, tax benefits, avoiding probate, and caring for family members with special needs. Estate planning also lets you dictate how your assets will pass on to future generations after your death. Avoiding Probate One of the primary reasons for creating an estate plan is to avoid probate. Unlike a will, a fully funded living trust will avoid probate, typically a lengthy and costly court-supervised process. Probate includes locating and determining the value of the deceased’s…

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How Does A Revocable Living Trust Work?

July 19, 2021

In recent years, revocable trusts have become a preferred method in estate planning to a regular one-time Will or irrevocable trust. Although revocable trusts in North Carolina are similar to a Will in that they both make a plan for how your estate is handled in the event of your death, the revocable trust has additional benefits. If the grantor is incapacitated, a revocable trust can be changed or canceled, which provides flexibility in the case a change is warranted – this is a huge advantage over the more traditional irrevocable trusts or Wills. If you need help with estate…

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Kids Going Away To College? Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation

July 15, 2021

You may have been running around for weeks, getting your new college student off to school. It’s exhilarating, and your heart likely is bursting at the seams. You’re probably prouder than you can say, but you’re a little afraid, too. How can you make sure your kid is going to be safe at school, so far away from home? A new Bed Bath and Beyond matching sheet set for the dorm sounds great, but it just doesn’t seem like quite enough, does it? So what else can you do? Actually, there is something, probably not yet on your to-do list,…

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guardianship and incompetency

Legal Guardianships And Incompetency In North Carolina

June 22, 2021

Guardianship is a process which establishes a legal relationship between a capable adult, agency, or qualified organization and an incompetent person, in order to protect that person. The guardian represents a person in decision-making when they are unable to make decisions on their own. The North Carolina Judicial Branch defines it as “a legal relationship in which a person is appointed by the court to make decisions and act on behalf of a person who does not have adequate capacity to make such decisions involving the management of personal affairs, property, or both.”  The role of a guardian can fluctuate…

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advance medical directive

What Is An Advance Medical Directive?

June 8, 2021

For most of us, it is our goal to live our entire life being able to make decisions around health care and more on our own, but unfortunately, that does not always happen.  If you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make your own medical decisions, who would you like to be able to make decisions on your behalf? What are your preferences as far as the types of medical care you would like to receive? Do you want to donate your organs? The answers to these questions and more are what advance medical directives are intended to resolve. Advance…

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probate checklist

What To Do After A Death: A North Carolina Executor’s Checklist

May 25, 2021

While estate administration after the death of a loved one is not something to look forward to, it may be required in most instances. A comprehensive estate plan helps to protect the wishes of the decedent, streamline the administration of the decedent’s estate and protect the rights of beneficiaries. In North Carolina, as is in other states, a decedent’s estate must be properly administered before being transferred to the new owners. What is Probate and is it Necessary in North Carolina? “Probate” is actually the act of the Court accepting a Will as valid.  However, it has become common to…

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