Wills

5 Concerns for First-Time Executors

Posted on: June 6th, 2017
A person serving as executor for the first time must manage the time demands of the probate process while allowing leeway for their own learning curve. Our probate attorneys produced a few overviews of the estate administration process to help facilitate a productive start....

Pros and Cons of Living Probate in North Carolina

Posted on: June 5th, 2017
Living probate legislation was passed in North Carolina almost two years ago. While many issues may be prevented if a testator properly implements living probate during their lifetime, some estate administration issues nevertheless might occur. ...

North Carolina Small Estates Administration

Posted on: May 19th, 2017
Executors may discover throughout the course of estate administration that the value of the estate falls within North Carolina’s statutory threshold for small estates. For qualifying estates, the law provides a means for heirs to receive the decedent’s property with minimal or no probate administration....

First Forms for North Carolina Executors

Posted on: May 12th, 2017
Certain forms must be filed before an individual may begin serving as executor or administrator of an estate in North Carolina. If the individual is ready to move forward, the first forms they should review include the following....

Factors That Affect Length of Probate

Posted on: May 11th, 2017
The duration of a North Carolina probate administration depends on a variety of factors. Understanding common causes of probate delays can help executors and other parties involved in the estate administration to prevent unnecessary interruptions. ...

Important North Carolina Probate Forms

Posted on: May 9th, 2017
Executors must maintain records of accounting and other required documentation as part of their administrative duties. Customarily, the following probate forms are used for North Carolina estates (links provided to official documents where available)...

Problems With Digital Assets in NC Probate

Posted on: July 20th, 2016
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....

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....

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....

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....

Refusing to Serve as Executor in North Carolina

Posted on: February 17th, 2016
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....

Elective Share Waivers in North Carolina

Posted on: October 13th, 2015
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....

‘Living Probate’ Now Possible in NC

Posted on: September 24th, 2015
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....

Changes to North Carolina Trust Code Affect Estate Planning

Posted on: September 22nd, 2015
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....

NC Estate Planning Blog New Platform

Posted on: June 17th, 2015
Our attorneys in Chapel Hill with TrustCounsel recently switched blog platforms for the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog....

A Will’s Limits in North Carolina Probate

Posted on: May 8th, 2015
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...

Last-Minute Estate Planning in North Carolina

Posted on: April 9th, 2015
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. ...

Downsides of Do-It-Yourself Powers of Attorney

Posted on: March 27th, 2015
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. ...

5 Tips for Millennials’ Estate Plans

Posted on: January 30th, 2015
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. ...

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....

NC Estate Planning for Singles

Posted on: October 29th, 2014
As the number of cohabiting unmarried couples rises, more families have multiple generations residing in a single household, and the law develops regarding the rights ofmarried same-sex couples in North Carolina, a large demographic of our state’s residents is overlooked: Singles....

When Beneficiary Designations are Void

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014
As a general rule, beneficiary designations supersede instructions for transferring assets that may appear in a Will. This is one of the reasons why regular reviews of one’s estate plan are critical. ...

Estate Planning Mistakes of Newlyweds

Posted on: June 1st, 2014
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are not the only estate planning tools engaged couples and newlyweds in North Carolina should consider. ...

Estate Planning for New Parents in North Carolina

Posted on: May 20th, 2014
According to the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, over 17,800 babies were born in the three major counties of the Triangle during 2012. How should parents update their estate plans for new babies?...

What to Leave in Your Will: Culture & Values

Posted on: March 27th, 2014
Estate plans can designate real property, personal items, and financial assets to named individuals, and can also impart how the estate plan creator wants to be remembered. People care about their personal values. ...

NC Living Will Possibly Invalid For Pregnant Women

Posted on: January 5th, 2014
North Carolina is one of approximately two dozen other states where a living Will may not be valid for pregnant women. ...

Estate Plan Controversies

Posted on: December 18th, 2013
Celebrities are not the only individuals whose estate plans experience controversy. The Will of any individual may be contested in court. Some estate plan provisions might cause conflicts. Controversy is particularly likely if an individual includes provisions for a spousal disinheritance or conditional inheritances based on marital status, religious beliefs, political affiliations or similar factors....

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. ...

What to Know About Last-Minute Will Changes

Posted on: December 9th, 2013
Any competent individual over the age of 18 can create or update their Will in North Carolina. Sometimes a simple codicil (amendment) is sufficient in reflecting an individual’s wishes, but in other situations a completely new Will should be prepared. ...

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. ...

When Spouses Disagree During Estate Planning

Posted on: June 4th, 2013
Choosing beneficiaries and deciding which assets each will receive may become a challenge if your spouse does not agree with your choices. ...

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. ...

3 Estate Planning Baby Steps

Posted on: March 11th, 2013
When a baby is on the way, it is a perfect time for expectant parents to complete or update their estate plan to ensure their child’s future care. ...

Digital Estate Planning Challenges

Posted on: February 15th, 2013
Estate planning has always involved a great deal of paperwork. Today, individuals have personal access to online banking, social media accounts, and email that has pushed the industry into a new realm: Digital estate planning....

Most Americans Die Without a Will

Posted on: May 14th, 2012
I came across a recent article in the Yahoo Finance Blog, Half of Americans With Kids Set to Die Without a Will. If you are a North Carolina resident, what happens to your estate if you don’t have a will (you die intestate, in legal terms)? ...

Why You Might Not Want a Simple Estate Plan

Posted on: April 25th, 2011
Many people come in to see me with the notion that all that they need and want is a "simple" estate plan. Generally that means no living trust, and a will with no trust provisions for surviving family members. ...

Have an Interesting Story Involving a Will and Want to Share it?

Posted on: January 21st, 2009
I recently received the following email, and then had a phone conversation with its author. This is a legitimate documentary, with filming to take place in Montreal over the course of the year. All expenses for the trip to Montreal will be paid. ...

Factors for Determining Undue Influence

Posted on: February 20th, 2008
The North Carolina Court of Appeals’ recent decision in In re Will of John A. Jones, Jr. deals with a Caveat against a Will in favor of the decedent’s wife filed by the executor of the prior Will, ...

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." ...