Probate

New Legal Library on Trusts, Estates, and Tax Law

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017
TrustCounsel's new Legal Library is now a permanent free online resource with guides to help direct executor’s discussions with attorneys, as well as to alert legal and financial practitioners of important probate and trust law matters....

Inherited IRA Issues in North Carolina

Posted on: March 21st, 2017
Inherited IRAs face differing regulation based on whether the beneficiary is a spouse or a non-spouse. Marital status also influences how North Carolina’s intestate succession law applies to an estate, which may pertain to retirement accounts. FINRA released an Investor Alert early this year advising IRA beneficiaries to review inherited IRA tax implications....

How Proposed Changes to Family Businesses Could Raise Estate Tax Liability

Posted on: January 6th, 2017
Over the summer of 2016, the IRS released proposed changes to tax provisions (Section 2704) that apply to most business entities, including family businesses. These potential changes could have a major impact on tax planning, including estate tax implications....

Tax Issues for Art Collections

Posted on: July 21st, 2016
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....

Probate of Real Estate in North Carolina

Posted on: June 24th, 2016
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....

Dave Ramsey Might be Misinformed About Living Trusts

Posted on: May 7th, 2016
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

Posted on: April 29th, 2016
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....

3 Things Living Trusts Won’t Control

Posted on: April 28th, 2016
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

Posted on: April 27th, 2016
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?

Posted on: April 25th, 2016
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....

Does Your Executor Live Out-of-State?

Posted on: March 24th, 2016
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

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016
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

Posted on: March 17th, 2016
TrustCounsel's Chapel Hill gun trust attorney Greg Herman-Giddens leads a free seminar about ATF 41F on April 4th....

Discussing Inheritances With Children

Posted on: February 18th, 2016
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....

3 Questions to Ask if You Own Real Property With Joint Title in NC

Posted on: September 23rd, 2015
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. ...

August is National Make-a-Will Month

Posted on: August 13th, 2015
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...

What Happens if an Executor Doesn’t Do Their Job in North Carolina?

Posted on: July 8th, 2015
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. ...

Avoid a Will Dispute

Posted on: May 26th, 2015
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. ...

Beneficiary Designation Reminder

Posted on: March 25th, 2015
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...

Estate Planning Mistake: Forgetting to Fund

Posted on: December 19th, 2014
Many estate plans include a living trust, a tool that can be amended at any time during the trust creator’s life and becomes irrevocable upon their death. Even the most carefully planned and detailed estate plans could be at least partially ineffective if the trust creator fails to fund the trust....

Title Issues in North Carolina Estates: Joint Tenants

Posted on: October 31st, 2014
This post addresses the possible issues that may develop with one way of titling property: Joint Tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS). ...

Chatham County, NC Estate Administration Changes

Posted on: July 15th, 2014
The Chatham County Clerk of Superior Court recently released updates to estate administration rules. We provide a link to the official changes to Estate Administration – General Rules Practices 2014. ...

Step-Parents and Step-Children in Estate Planning

Posted on: January 24th, 2014
Estate planning for blended families is critical to ensure that assets are distributed as intended. A spouse’s family members are not included under North Carolina intestacy laws. Without a will, individuals who die in the Tar Heel State may not effectively leave assets to non-blood relatives....

Mistakes in Beneficiary Designations

Posted on: January 3rd, 2014
Beneficiary designations are an important tool in estate planning – one must always remember that their terms trump the distributions provided in a decedent’s Will. Retirement accounts, life insurance, and other assets offer owners the power to entitle individuals to these assets upon the owner’s death. Errors could cost a surviving family member their expected share of a loved one’s estate, pass assets to an unintended party, incite family conflict, or cause unnecessary tax burdens for beneficiaries....

Locate a Will: Access a Safe-Deposit Box in North Carolina

Posted on: December 11th, 2013
In addition to in-home fireproof safes, a common place for families to store important documents is a safe-deposit box at their bank. A Will, titles to real property and vehicles, life insurance policy information, trust paperwork, and other critical documents may be inside....

First Steps for Executors in North Carolina

Posted on: December 10th, 2013
In most cases of estate administration in North Carolina, an executor is aware of their appointment before the decedent passes away. Occasionally, an individual only learns they are the executor of an estate after a close friend or family member dies. ...

NC Estate Changes for Surviving Spouses Effective October 2013

Posted on: June 24th, 2013
In June 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 279, a bill amending matters concerning estates, trusts, powers of attorney, and guardianship. ...

What is an Heir Search Firm?

Posted on: June 10th, 2013
When an individual dies without a surviving spouse, siblings, parents, descendants, or named beneficiaries, their estate still needs to be distributed. ...

Why You Should Update Your Beneficiaries

Posted on: April 24th, 2013
Neglecting to update beneficiaries, or failing to name them, may leave life insurance and retirement accounts to unintended recipients, create probate expenses, and cause tax problems. ...

Can I Inherit Debt in North Carolina?

Posted on: March 29th, 2013
North Carolina estate planning discussions usually put an individual’s assets under the microscope. What trusts would avoid taxes best? How much should be designated for charitable contributions? ...

Disadvantages of a DIY Will in North Carolina

Posted on: March 25th, 2013
Everyone wants to save money, but choosing to cut corners on estate planning in North Carolina may end up costing individuals more than they ever expected. ...

More Estate Planning Opportunities Forecasted for Roth 401(k)s

Posted on: March 1st, 2013
A new study reveals more employers will offer Roth 401(k)s to their employees in 2013. About a third of all employers surveyed by Aon, a human resource services provider, have plans to add a Roth contribution option. ...

IRS Extends Deadline for Carryover Basis Form for 2010 Estates

Posted on: April 5th, 2011
The IRS is extending the filing deadline of Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis of Property Acquired from a Decedent, which must be submitted to determine the new basis of assets in 2010 estates that opt out of the federal estate tax....

Depictions of “Reading of the Will” are an Anachronism

Posted on: February 12th, 2011
Modern day movies and television commercials (including a recent one by DirecTV) sometimes feature a lawyer reading the will of a deceased testator to his family. Occasionally I even get questions about the ceremony. ...

What’s Involved in Serving as Executor?

Posted on: October 6th, 2010
If you’re asked to serve as the executor of an estate, think carefully about the decision before accepting the position. Acting as an executor or administrator of an estate can involve a great deal of work, depending on assets and the complexity of the estate....

Does Your Will Waive Bond for the Executor?

Posted on: January 5th, 2010
The following is a guest post by Chris Birk of SuretyBonds.com, which also publishes the Surety Bond Insider:...

Does Your Will Waive Bond for the Executor?

Posted on: January 5th, 2010
The following is a guest post by Chris Birk of SuretyBonds.com, which also publishes the Surety Bond Insider:...

I Inherited Real Estate – Where’s My Deed?

Posted on: October 6th, 2009
I often have clients ask about "getting a deed" when they inherit real property. My response is usually "you don’t need one." In North Carolina, in most cases, no deed is necessary to transfer and evidence ownership of inherited real estate. ...

When NOT to use a Living Trust

Posted on: October 6th, 2009
Practically every day, I discuss with clients the pros and cons of revocable living trusts. In my opinion, the positives generally far outweigh the negatives, but living trusts don’t make sense for everyone. ...

Changes to Effect of Will Caveat on Probate Proceeding

Posted on: July 20th, 2009
Beginning October 1, 2009, when a lawsuit is filed to contest a Will (Caveat), the probate administration will no longer be fully suspended until the caveat is resolved. ...

Phishing for Probate

Posted on: July 28th, 2008
Today I received an email message that reads as follows: Good Day, My name is Sarah Brown. I work as an executive partner for the firm Mayer Brown Watford...

Mediation in NC Estate and Guardianship Matters

Posted on: September 26th, 2007
Clerks of Court, the ex officio judges of probate and guardianship matters in North Carolina Counties, can now order mediation in those cases....

Play Dumb to Find a Good Lawyer?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2007
Today I came across a question and answer column on the Raleigh News and Observer website called "Ask Holly." ...