2016 Posts

  • Possible Tax Items to Expect With Trump Adminstration

    Have you reviewed the proposed tax changes under the forthcoming Trump Administration? Read on to learn what is expected to change within the first 100 days following inauguration....
  • 3 Errors North Carolina Executors Might Encounter Without Legal Counsel

    When it comes to legal matters, it’s not in the executor’s best interest nor the best interest of the estate or its beneficiaries to rely on a DIY effort. The most important issue executors should understand is that executors are held personally responsible for probate errors and mistakes, regardless if the blunder was unintentional....
  • Penalties for Executors Due to Attorney Fault

    A recent court ruling serves as a reminder of the personal financial liability executors may face even when they retain a probate attorney. Executors may be held legally responsible for errors in estate administration - even an attorney's errors....
  • Steps to Take After a Spouse’s Death in North Carolina

    A surviving spouse is often required to provide immediate attention to matters related to probate (much of which might be unfamiliar to them) even as they process and adjust to their loss and grief. ...
  • NC Marriage Ruled Valid Despite Lack of Marriage License: How This Affects Estates

    North Carolina courts denied a wife’s claim to her spousal share since no marriage license existed. However, the wife filed an appeal, and the appellate court judge ruled that the absence of a marriage license does not invalidate a marriage, thus allowing the wife to claim a spousal share....
  • Updating Revocable Trusts in North Carolina

    Updates to one’s revocable trust may be made by an amendment or a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust, while a restatement updates the entire trust. ...
  • Caveat to IRA Contributions

    Retirement account owners should be aware of a requirement that must be fulfilled in order to contribute to an individual retirement account: compensation income. Annual contribution limits for retirement accounts are common knowledge, but account owners don’t often consider that the ability to contribute is conditional....
  • Overview of North Carolina’s Digital Assets Act

    North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law over the summer of 2016 that allows digital account holders to provide a fiduciary with authority to manage their digital assets. The Act modifies various provisions of North Carolina statutes to conform to the new law, including the North Carolina power of attorney form....
  • What Executors Should Know About Digital Assets in North Carolina Probate

    In late June 2016, the North Carolina governor signed Senate Bill 805, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, into law. The Act provides that trustees, executors, agents under powers of attorney, and other fiduciary parties in North Carolina may be granted authorities over electronic records and communications of another user. ...
  • Asset Protection Risks From Prior Marriages

    Remarriage after divorce or the death of a spouse poses unique issues that individuals entering a first marriage generally do not have to navigate....
  • 3 Tax Benefits the 50+ Crowd Enjoys

    Although many tax regulations fluctuate based on the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, some tax provisions are instead based on the taxpayer’s age. Knowing when an individual will enjoy certain tax benefits can help to guide tax planning. North Carolina taxpayers aged 50 and older enjoy several tax advantages....
  • Creditor Notification Requirements for Executors in NC

    Creditor notification is a mandatory part of probate in every state, but the process varies in each jurisdiction. In North Carolina, executors must follow several statutes in regards to the timing, distribution and placement, and transmission of notices to creditors....
  • Inherited IRA Ruling: Distinctions Between Federal and State Tax Law

    Our attorneys strive to share notable rulings and case law to help clients and other advisers understand how a court or officials might respond to a particular set of circumstances. In early June 2016, Private Letter Ruling 201623001 rejected a woman’s request to rollover part of her son’s inherited IRAs....
  • Tax Issues for Art Collections

    Artwork and collections left behind in one’s estate will be subject to probate unless the decedent prepared a trust or other planning tool to hold and manage the art during their lifetime. Regardless whether the art is considered a probate asset, in the case of an estate that is subject to federal or state estate tax, art is a unique asset that poses several potential tax problems. The IRS may carry out an art valuation audit under certain circumstances....
  • Problems With Digital Assets in NC Probate

    Online accounts and digital assets are a growing concern in estate administration. Depending on the decedent’s personal or professional interests, they could have substantial assets left in a virtual limbo. In addition to financially valuable digital accounts (like frequent flyer miles, Google Wallet, and PayPal balances), the decedent might have maintained photo storage accounts with sentimental images of life events....
  • How to Fix an Irrevocable Trust That Doesn’t Stand the Test of Time

    Trusts typically are structured to provide for the best interests of the beneficiaries. The settlor may have had the best intentions when establishing the trust, but a trust created by a great-grandparent more than seven decades ago for the benefit of their great-grandchild might include provisions that prove impractical or unviable when it comes time to administer the trust for the great-grandchild’s benefit. Is there a way to remedy an outdated irrevocable trust? Under certain circumstances, yes....
  • Probate of Real Estate in North Carolina

    Real property poses unique set of considerations in the context of estate or trust administration. To understand more about how a personal representative oversees the management and distribution of real property during estate and/or trust administration, take a closer look at some variables that affect property distribution....
  • Terminating a Trust in North Carolina

    Revocable and irrevocable trusts follow unique termination procedures. Although their name implies they cannot be changed, irrevocable trusts may be modified in certain circumstances. The circumstances surrounding a trust termination, and the type of trust, help to determine how a trustee may handle termination....
  • Types of Trust Beneficiaries

    Primary, contingent and remainder trust beneficiaries have different rights as beneficiaries. Who has the right to bring a claim against the trustee of a revocable living trust?...
  • Rights of Trust Beneficiaries

    Trust beneficiaries have legal rights detailed in the trust documents and governed by state and federal trust code. If problems have resulted from a negligent trustee, or the trustee fails to adequately address issues brought to his or her attention by the beneficiary, it might be time for the beneficiary to reach out to a trust attorney and, potentially, the courts for corrective action....
  • Why an Executor Might Need Probate Counsel in North Carolina

    An executor's knowledge of state and federal legislation pertaining to estate administration might be limited. This limited knowledge poses a risk of errors. ...
  • Remarriages and Inheritances in North Carolina

    Individuals in North Carolina who have married more than once might have estate planning issues they are not aware of. Whether one has remarried following a spouse’s death or divorce, one should take time to review existing estate planning documents....
  • Dave Ramsey Might be Misinformed About Living Trusts

    Financial guru Dave Ramsey shares advice regarding managing debt and finances with millions of people. However, one of his books makes a broad statement about living trusts that is not entirely true....
  • Estate Planning for Multiple Homes

    Families may consider ownership of multiple properties for different reasons. Some folks prefer to have an extra property closer to family, for professional purposes, for leisure, or as an investment. While owning multiple properties may accomplish one or more of these goals, acquiring additional property can cause liability issues, tax complications, and probate concerns....
  • Asset Protection Failures

    Accumulating assets takes time and effort; protecting assets properly requires both as well. Here are various factors that could ruin a plan and risk asset loss....
  • 3 Things Living Trusts Won’t Control

    Trusts can help to minimize an estate tax burden and allow the trust grantor to retain control and flexibility. While trusts may serve as a powerful estate planning tool, there are some aspects that a living trust will not control....
  • What To Do if You Inherit an Out-of-State Home

    If a property owner has not proactively and wisely planned for multiple properties in their estate plan, or if they have no estate plan in place, properties could be at risk of creditor claims, which is one of the many challenges heirs face....
  • Who Needs an Estate Plan?

    Our estate planning attorneys in Chapel Hill look at a few demographics that some might consider are not in need of a plan and discuss why these segments of our society would in fact benefit from an estate plan....
  • New Larger Tax Deduction for LTC Insurance

    The unpredictable rises in LTC insurance costs make it difficult for individuals to forecast and plan. However, there are a few tax deductions available. Plus, the IRS recently announced an increase for the federal LTC insurance deduction in the 2016 tax year. ...
  • Raleigh Now Has #2 Fastest-Growing Senior Population

    Raleigh now has the second fastest-growing population of seniors in the United States. The growing number of seniors in the Triangle region not only triggers a strain on residential spaces like assisted living facilities, but it also prompts a burgeoning need for elder law discussions....
  • Does Your Executor Live Out-of-State?

    Not all family members and trusted friends live nearby. North Carolina law does not require an executor be a resident of the state. However, there are certain restrictions the state imposes on out-of-state executors....
  • The Stress and Responsibilities Required of Executors

    Individuals who choose to accept the role of executor, or personal representative, of a loved one’s estate have more to manage than mere financial matters....
  • Free Gun Trust Seminar on April 4th in Chapel Hill

    TrustCounsel's Chapel Hill gun trust attorney Greg Herman-Giddens leads a free seminar about ATF 41F on April 4th....
  • Discussing Inheritances With Children

    Starting discussions during one’s lifetime about how personal items, collectibles, and assets will pass on can help to prevent conflicts after death. Surviving children might feel less inclined to contest a will if they understand that a parent’s wishes match the instructions in the will....
  • Refusing to Serve as Executor in North Carolina

    Many people might feel proud to be selected to serve as executor of a loved one’s estate. However, sometimes the person appointed as executor has no interest in fulfilling their duties....
  • Why Renting is an Attractive Option for Seniors

    Older adults now make up a significant share of tenants. Adults ages 45-64 account for 30.2 percent of tenants....
  • North Carolina Ranks 15th For Trust Decanting in 2016

    Trust decanting is a process that allows assets of a trust to be distributed to another trust with different terms; generally the newer trust offers terms that better satisfy the needs of the beneficiary. Some states impose burdensome administration requirements for trust decanting, while others offer easier means of use....
  • Start Alzheimer's Legal Planning

    Waiting to develop a legal plan for an aging relative with cognitive decline might result in the elderly person's incapacitation. Then it might be too late for them to execute legal documents independently....
  • Almost 1 in 4 Caregivers are Millennials

    New research shows that almost 25 percent of caregivers are Millennials. The research came from a joint study between the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Policy Institute....
  • 5 Concerns When Gifting a Down Payment on a Home

    Family members might want to gift money to children to be used toward a down payment on a home. Cash down payment gifts, when not handled properly, could trigger tax consequences or create other complications....