2015 Posts

  • Last-Minute Year-End Tax Deduction: IRA Charitable Rollover

    If you plan to use the IRA Charitable Rollover provision for the 2015 tax year--make arrangements before year's end!...
  • 3 Estate Planning Items to Consider When Selling a Business

    With a growing number of entrepreneurs in North Carolina, combined with a reliable survival rate, small business owners might encounter an opportunity to sell their business. How will proceeds from the sale be managed, protected, and taxed?...
  • 3 Tax Planning Steps for the New Year

    Common tax planning strategies include retirement contributions, family gifting, and making charitable donations. Outlined below are a few alternative planning steps to consider in the New Year....
  • Estate Planning Documents for Young Adults

    Many legal responsibilities and freedoms are afforded to United States citizens when they reach the age of 18. Who will provide reliable care and maintenance of a young adult’s affairs if they are incapacitated? ...
  • 7 Power of Attorney Conflicts

    Maintaining powers of attorney in one’s estate plan is generally an optimal planning practice. However, some conflicts can develop....
  • 5 Mistakes With Long-Term Care Insurance

    Long-term care (LTC) insurance rates this year were 8.6% higher than the year prior. As rates rise, planning professionals and policy holders take concerted efforts to develop care plans that effectively maximize investments and benefits to prevent the fees for LTC insurance from becoming cost prohibitive. ...
  • Problems With Old Trusts

    Even if one’s goals were accomplished when a trust was initially created years ago, those goals might not align with current tax legislation and, sometimes, could result in overly complicated trust administration....
  • Same-Sex Couples and Social Security Spousal Benefits

    Our Chapel Hill estate planning attorney Samantha Reichle recently wrote a post explaining the eligibility requirements and benefits that are now legally available to married same-sex couples nationwide. ...
  • Tax Considerations in Structuring Inheritances

    When dividing assets in an estate plan, the testator might be inclined to evenly split assets for heirs. However, if not planned for properly, federal and state tax requirements nevertheless could result in an uneven split of assets upon distribution...
  • Legal Planning: Greater Costs for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care

    End-of-life treatments in particular cost 81 percent more for dementia patients than others. Cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s impose significant care expenses on the aging population....
  • 3 Alternative Living Options for Seniors

    Traditional senior living homes face new competition from several alternative living options for seniors....
  • Elder Care Legal Planning: Non-Financial Costs of Caregiving

    Opting for a family caregiver might seem financially attractive. However, caregivers often carry financial and non-financial burdens as a result....
  • 5 Estate Planning Items for Family Businesses in NC

    Whether owners wish to transfer the business to the next generation, or ensure that the transition of the business into new hands is managed in a way that benefits family members, these goals are difficult if impossible to reach without having a plan in place....
  • Protecting Assets Amidst Rise in Elder Marriage Scams

    In addition to many tax, Medicare/Medicaid, reverse mortgage, and other financial scams targeting the elderly, another type of fraud is now growing. Marriage scams victimizing the elderly affect men and women fairly equally....
  • Elective Share Waivers in North Carolina

    A case from the North Carolina Court of Appeals highlights the critical function of financial disclosure in the elective share process, while also showing the legal entitlements of a soon-to-be-former-spouse navigating divorce in North Carolina....
  • North Carolina Medicaid Changes

    Lawmakers recently reached compromises in a few key areas and ultimately agreed to privatize North Carolina’s Medicaid program. ...
  • How Aging and Memory Loss Affect Finances

    Alzheimer’s is known for taking an emotional and psychological toll, both on the person experiencing cognitive decline and on their close family and friends. A senior suffering from memory deficiencies faces several financial risks that can be addressed in advance with an elder law attorney....
  • Protect an Elderly Relative’s Identity During Life and After

    Identity theft is not only a concern during one’s lifetime; some fraudulent parties specifically target the identities of the elderly or deceased. Identity theft risks the security of one’s assets and can be costly to resolve....
  • 3 Mistakes Parents Make in Estate Plans

    For many remarried individuals, estate planning decisions must take into account not only one’s biological children, but also step-children, future children, or a new spouse. In revising estate plans to incorporate these considerations, parents might utilize planning methods that unintentionally expose family to risks....
  • ‘Living Probate’ Now Possible in NC

    Recent amendments to North Carolina’s Uniform Trust Code now provide for ‘living probate’ – a way for individuals to petition a court to declare a will valid while the testator is alive. This could help prevent will contests after the testator dies....
  • 3 Questions to Ask if You Own Real Property With Joint Title in NC

    There are several ways to hold joint title to real property in North Carolina. The method of titling can also leave the property at risk to certain claims while both owners are alive, a factor which might be considered when choosing how to hold title. ...
  • Changes to North Carolina Trust Code Affect Estate Planning

    In August 2015, the Act to Amend the Law Governing Estate Planning and Fiduciaries (Senate Bill 336) was enacted to modify North Carolina’s Uniform Trust Code. The Act sets forth new provisions regarding trustee duties and liability, trust decanting, guardianship, and living probate....
  • North Carolina Special Needs Planning Update: Pending Autism Bill

    North Carolina Senate Bill 676, which has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Rules Committee, sets forth changes to healthcare coverage for autistic patients. ...
  • Assets Not Distributed According to One’s Will

    Keeping one’s last will and testament and other estate planning documents up-to-date is a critical part of maintaining one’s estate plan. However, merely creating and updating one’s estate planning documents is not enough, by itself, to adequately provide for distribution of every asset....
  • Cost of Long-Term Care in North Carolina

    A report released earlier this year shows that North Carolina nursing home costs continue to increase alongside the premiums for long-term care insurance policies. The median cost for a NC private nursing home room is approximately $225.00 per day in 2015....
  • August is National Make-a-Will Month

    An increasing number of Americans fail to plan appropriately for the future needs of themselves and their families, both through inadequate retirement savings as well as neglected estate planning. August is Make-a-Will Month...
  • 3 Things to Consider When Creating a Pet Trust in North Carolina

    Americans love their pets and often feel connected to their animals as part of a family unit. How can the well-being of a pet be ensured if a pet owner dies?...
  • Including Jewelry in North Carolina Estate Plans

    June is a popular choice of month for weddings. This past June was the first one that same-sex marriages were nationally legalized. How should couples include engagement rings and wedding bands in their estate plans?...
  • What Happens if an Executor Doesn’t Do Their Job in North Carolina?

    If the appointed executor accepts and then exploits their authority or fails to meet their responsibilities, another individual or business can file a petition with the court to have the executor removed. ...
  • 3 Financial Scams Targeting the Elderly

    A challenge seniors face is being the target of elder financial abuse. Aside from an unscrupulous family member mismanaging a senior’s assets, third party organizations use underhanded tactics to take advantage of seniors....
  • Phone Scam Using Our Firm Name

    Be advised we do not make unsolicited phone calls to persons with whom we have no prior relationship, regarding tax advice or any other legal or financial services....
  • Tax Planning for Family Loans

    ​Lending money to a relative might happen once, twice, or several times throughout one’s lifetime. If the lender does not plan well for the loan, taxes could be imposed....
  • NC Estate Planning Blog New Platform

    Our attorneys in Chapel Hill with TrustCounsel recently switched blog platforms for the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog....
  • New Birth Certificate Guidelines in North Carolina for Same-Sex Couples’ Children

    Same-sex couples who have a child in North Carolina could previously only list one parent on the child’s birth certificate. ...
  • Covering Retirement v. Leaving Inheritance

    Expenses in senior years continue to be a concern for many Americans. As multiple studies show, most individuals do not maintain adequate retirement contributions. ...
  • Avoid a Will Dispute

    An individual’s last will and testament might clearly reflect one’s wishes, but it does not prevent an estate dispute. Successfully contesting a will in North Carolina (and similarly in other states) requires evidence of certain factors. ...
  • 3 Reasons to Choose a Non-Family Trustee

    Creating a trust generally involves the intention of preserving assets for loved ones. Benefiting from a trust’s preservation might not be possible if the trust is not maintained properly. ...
  • Looking Ahead: Rising Nursing Home Costs in North Carolina

    When retirement saving makes headlines, it is often to highlight that Americans are not saving enough for their senior years. Individuals should be realistic about long-term expenses when planning retirement contributions and investments....
  • Opportunities for 529 College Savings Plans

    529 College Savings Plans consistently offer long-term tax-deferred growth for future students. As a savings tool, 529 plans come with a few restrictions. For one, contributions must be made with after-tax dollars. ...
  • Tax Concerns for New Domicile

    Living in one state while claiming domicile in another could offer many benefits depending on the jurisdictions. Tax benefits are generally a prime factor when an individual considers claiming domicile outside their resident state....
  • 2015 Top 5 States for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

    For the past six years, attorney Steve Oshins has ranked the states that offer Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs). The chart generally is ranked through weighted variables including fraudulent transfer standard, pre-existing torts exceptions, spousal support, child support, tax, and statutes of limitations for past and future creditors. ...
  • A Will’s Limits in North Carolina Probate

    A will cannot achieve every goal of the testator. No matter how finely crafted provisions are made and assets are addressed in a will, additional tools can help the testator preserve their wishes. An improperly drafted will, one that is not filed, or dying without a will could prompt courts to distribute the estate according...
  • North Carolina Retirement Concerns

    Climate, cost of living, and amenities generally affect an individual’s retirement destination choice. North Carolina’s convenient location between major cities like Atlanta and Washington, D.C. make it attractive to seniors who might want to move but stay close to family in metropolitan areas. Financially, North Carolina became even more attractive for retirement in 2012, when...
  • Learn if You Need to File an Amended NC Tax Return

    Just after the start of the year, our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill encouraged some filers to hold their returns until after the General Assembly decided whether to pass pending state income tax laws. ...
  • Last-Minute Estate Planning in North Carolina

    Forbes cited a survey in 2014 that revealed 51% of Americans aged 55 to 64 do not have an estate plan. Sometimes a health crisis prompts an individual to create a plan for bequeathing their assets. ...
  • Tax Planning for North Carolina Business Successions

    While transferring business interests can have tax consequences, structuring a business succession plan with regard to tax law can help minimize tax burdens associated with business transfers to surviving family members when a business owner or partner dies. The Tax Foundation, a tax policy research group, ranks North Carolina Business Tax Climate Index as the...
  • 10 Things to Ask Your Accountant: Small Biz Webinar

    Our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill recently reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of investing or gifting your tax refund, tax issues when settling an estate, and ways to protect yourself from tax preparer fraud. As the tax season filing deadline fast approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is offering a community service through a webinar. Tomorrow...
  • Downsides of Do-It-Yourself Powers of Attorney

    Powers of attorney are powerful documents that grant another individual broad rights over medical and financial decisions. Such an important power should involve careful planning. Ready-made legal forms found online, software programs with legal templates, and other DIY solutions are attractive to many individuals due to the ease of access and low cost. ...
  • Beneficiary Designation Reminder

    Beneficiary designation forms are an important way for account and asset owners to ensure the respective assets pass to the individuals of their choosing. Mistakes with beneficiary designations could result in serious loss – the testator’s wishes might not be carried out, surviving family might lose assets, and lengthy and costly probate might result. (Individuals...
  • Creditor Claims Against Decedents in North Carolina

    One of the many responsibilities executors have is ensuring that the decedent’s debts are satisfied. Creditor claims against estates in North Carolina generally fall into categories of priority. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts provides the Order of Priority of Claims in Estate Procedures: Property liens up to the amount of the property...
  • Invest or Gift This Year’s Tax Refunds?

    During tax season, filers try to maximize their deductions. Proper tax planning helps minimize tax due, and could result in a sizable refund. Taxpayers who receive refunds can spend them however they choose, but what strategy offers the most benefits? Tax refunds might be spent frivolously or sensibly. Using the money toward a vacation could ...
  • Inherited IRA Distributions Might Face Changes

    Inherited Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) experienced a see-saw effect with bankruptcy for years. Last year the federal government ruled that IRAs are not protected from federal bankruptcy claims. A year prior in 2013, North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 279, which protects inherited IRAs from state bankruptcy claims. Complications surface for North Carolina residents owning...
  • Tax Issues to Consider When Settling an Estate

    During the first quarter of the year, the only tax items most taxpayers are concerned with are their own personal and business returns. However, settling an estate involves tax matters that need to be resolved before the estate is closed. ...
  • Vulnerability for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

    A recent court case involving a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) revealed a possible threat to the protections provided by these powerful asset preservation tools. DAPTsgenerally are used when enhanced creditor protections are desired. Some jurisdictions also provide tax benefits for DAPTs....
  • Creating a North Carolina Succession Plan

    Failing to create a succession plan for a North Carolina business results in a few possible outcomes that might not match an owner’s wishes. Depending on how the company is structured, upon a business owner’s death, other partners may absorb business interests....
  • How to Plan for Growing LTC Insurance Costs

    Annual inflation increases all citizens’ costs of living; however, long-term care (LTC) insurance costs rose considerably more than average in the past year. ...
  • When To Omit Beneficiaries From a Trust

    Depending on the goals of the individual, trusts might name family, friends, or charities as beneficiaries. However, certain types of trusts may be structured with no human or organizational beneficiaries at all....
  • Protect Yourself From Tax Preparer Fraud

    Each year our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill review common tax scams. One particular scam the Internal Revenue Service is highlighting this tax season concerns tax preparer fraud....
  • 5 Tips for Millennials’ Estate Plans

    Every adult can benefit from an estate plan, regardless of marital status, age, income, or assets. Our Chapel Hill estate planning attorneys have even reviewed estate planning tips for college students. ...
  • State Residency and Domicile in Estate Planning

    Tax, probate, and asset protection laws in each state vary. Individuals might want to establish residency in a jurisdiction with attractive legislation for estate planning purposes, and they do not necessarily have to relocate in order to take advantage of the laws. ...
  • Delay Filing: North Carolina Tax Changes Pending

    The North Carolina General Assembly will review potential changes to North Carolina income tax laws on January 28, 2015. Filers should wait until after this date to submit their tax returns to prevent potentially refiling returns if tax changes are passed....
  • How Asset Protection is Different in 2015

    Wealth preservation is an ongoing process. How, when, and where assets are transferred or acquired affect protections. As the New Year begins, individuals can take a step back and review legislation changes that affect our year ahead and those to come:...
  • 3 Things to Know About Perpetual Trusts

    Perpetual trusts, also known asdynasty trusts, protect assets for the benefit of future generations. Some perpetual trusts are common trusts that allow multiple generations to benefit at the same time. ...
  • New Creditor Protections for NC Properties

    Effective January 1, 2015, property owned by married couples in North Carolina will enjoy creditor protections afforded to tenancy by the entireties property even if the property is transferred to one or more trusts. ...