Cary, North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney and Legacy Law Center

Your #1 Resource for Protecting Your Family Through Effective Estate Planning in North Carolina

Enjoy the Peace of Mind that Comes With Knowing that Your Family is Protected. Get Started Today.

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Free Estate Planning Resources to Get Your Started…

Three p's of estate planning

I Need to Protect My Family

Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. Many more have some documents, but haven’t looked at them in years. Whether you need to get started on your estate plan, or you need to update your old plan, this is a great starting place for you.

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Children's Security Plan

I need to Protect My Children

Do You know what would happen to your children if you and you spouse didn’t make it home one night? Do you have legal paperwork set up so that your children wouldn’t be taken into protective custody? Does your babysitter have proper instructions on what to do if they can’t reach you? This is where you should start.

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asset protection

I need to protect my assets.

Asset Protection goes hand in hand with estate planning. If you are concerned that your assets will not be used in the manner you intend, or that they will end up with a creditor or divorcing spouse, then you should start here to learn more about asset protection planning.

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More About Our Process »

Our Estate Planning Process


The First Call

When you initially call our office, you will be greeted by our warm and friendly receptionist. Let them know that you are interested in scheduling a Wealth Planning Session and they will transfer you to Mr. Hart to have a short introductory call. If you would like to schedule a time for Mr. Hart to call you at your convenience, please click the link below.

Schedule an Intro Call »

wealth planning session

The Wealth Planning Session

The Wealth Planning Session is where we get to know you and start to learn about your hopes and dreams. We will talk to you about what would happen to your assets and your family if something tragic were to happen to you without further planning. At the end of this session, we will determine your next steps.

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cary estate planning law firm

Designing Your Plan

At the conclusion of the Wealth Planning Session, we will work with you to pick a planning option according to what you are looking to accomplish and your budget. Then we will start the process of designing a plan that will best meet both your needs and the needs of your family. We will help you determine how to pass on your assets and pick guardians for your children.

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The Signing Meeting

About 3-4 weeks after your design meeting, we will schedule a signing meeting. During this meeting, we will go over your estate plan with you, answer any questions you may have and make sure that all your documents are properly notarized and witnessed. We will also give you funding instructions, your kids emergency action plan (if you have children) and provide you with questions so that you can properly prepare for your Legacy Conversation™.

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estate planning process

Delivering Your Plan

About 3-4 weeks after your signing meeting, we will invite you back to our office to deliver your final estate planning documents to you. During this meeting we will also conduct your initial Legacy Conversation™ and go over the funding process with you to make sure you are on track. In addition, we will go over our membership plan options with you.

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estate planning reviews

Ongoing Reviews and Check-Ups for Life

Finishing your plan is just the beginning of your relationship with our office. If you choose to join one of our membership and education programs, you will meet with us at least once per year to review and update your estate plan. We will also stay in touch through weekly educational emails and monthly newsletters, as well as periodic workshops and client appreciation events.

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The Latest Estate Planning News and Tips

Practical Advice You Can Put to Use Immediately

personal representative vs. executor

Personal Representative vs. Executor – What’s the Deal?

Two common terms that get floated around in the estate planning world are personal representative and executor (or executrix). In North Carolina, as in most states, the terms personal representative and executor can both be used interchangeably to describe the person that you name in your will to manage your estate after you pass on. There is one additional term you should be aware of. The administrator (or administratrix) is the person appointed by the court to manage your estate if you die intestate (without a will). Can the Personal Representative Also be a Beneficiary of the Estate? Simply put, […]

estate taxes

Estate Taxes in North Carolina – Should You Worry?

Today I wanted to talk a little about estate taxes in North Carolina. This includes some discussion of what estate taxes are, why you shouldn’t care, and why the repeal of the estate tax is such a bad idea. Interested in learning more about gift taxes? Check out this article I wrote yesterday on the topic. What Are Estate Taxes? An estate tax is a tax imposed on the estate of a decedent upon their passing. At the Federal level, there is currently (as of 2017) a $5.49 million exemption. That means that your estate would have to be worth […]

How Much Can You Gift Someone

How Much Can You Gift Someone in One Year?

A frequently asked estate planning question is, how much can you gift someone in one year? The simple answer is you can give someone as much as you want. But you can’t give an unlimited amount without subjecting yourself to the federal gift tax. Now, before we get into the nuts and bolts of the gift tax and how it works, you should understand that if you manage your affairs properly, you should never have to file a gift tax return or pay any gift tax. But the key to this is, you have to manage your affairs properly. Let’s get […]

wealth planning session

What is a Wealth Planning Session and How it Will Benefit You?

A Wealth Planning Session is just a fancy way of saying initial consultation. However, we do so much more in our wealth planning session than many other attorneys do in an initial consultation that we really didn’t think it was appropriate to call them by the same name. What Happens During a Typical Initial Consultation If you are interested in getting your estate plan put together, you can go to any number of lawyers that may offer you a “free initial consultation”. Here’s what you can expect at this meeting. First, you will notice that after you call, you will […]

transfer on death

Using Transfer on Death (TOD) Clauses to Avoid Probate in North Carolina

As a pure estate planning tool, using a transfer on death clause or “TOD” has a number of pros and cons. And by that, I mean that although using a TOD may be appropriate for some people, it is decidedly NOT appropriate for others. Can You Avoid Probate in North Carolina by Using a Transfer on Death Clause? The simple answer is, yes and no. Will a bank account that you have a transfer on death provision assigned to avoid probate? Yes, usually. The only exception could be if you decided to name a minor child as the beneficiary. Since […]

asset protection planning

Do You Need Asset Protection Planning?

Many people coast through life, never really giving much thought to asset protection planning. What it is, or whether it is something they need to consider in their overall planning scheme. Consider this. You may need asset protection planning if you will one day find yourself staring at a financial disaster or even a lawsuit. But right now everything is fine, you say? A financial disaster can strike at any time, in many different ways. Sometimes you will see it coming, often you won’t, or it will be upon you so quickly that you didn’t even realize it was a […]

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Words of Praise for The Hart Law Firm…

Highly Recommend. I found Mr. Hart to be extremely helpful. He spent a lot of time with me, and laid out a plan that I both understood, and gave me options.


Our Philosophy and Core Beliefs

Estate Planning is more than just a legal practice… to us it is a calling.

Why I Became an Estate Planning Attorney.

My name is Jim Hart and I’m the founding attorney here at The Hart Law Firm. I started this practice back in 2005 with the core belief that building a business is nothing more than building relationships, establishing trust, and providing true value to my clients.

As the years have gone come and gone, my practice has changed, but the reasons I started that little law practice in Central Florida 12 years ago have not. Building lasting relationships with my clients is still my primary goal, but that was just not possible with a practice that was centered exclusively on breaking families up. By adding estate planning to the practice, I am able to build a long lasting, lifetime relationship with my clients.

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Words of Praise for The Hart Law Firm

  • Straight forward advice, genuine concern for my situation and didn’t make me feel that I’m just another paycheck. By offering me options to suit my needs and presenting methods to accomplish in my own if possible but also offering me a comfortable option if hired as my lawyer, I left our consultation feeling confident in the road ahead of me.
    – Michelle

  • Great first impression. He listened to my situation and commented on what I was doing well and also on some areas that I could improve on. By the end of our session, I felt very comfortable and am still happy with my decision to see Mr. Hart. Hopefully, I won’t need him (or any other lawyers in the future), but if my circumstances change and I am in need of an attorney, he will be the first one I contact.
    – Forrest

  • He treated me like a person who actually cared and not just a paying client. He was very warm and welcoming. He seemed to truly care about what I was going thru. Instead of making me feel like a paying customer.. He took a very long time to get to know me and my situation. He truly has a heart for what he does. It shows in his work and the way he treats people. I would def recommend him as an attorney.
    – Alexia

  • I was nervous going in but once you starti talking with James, he made me feel like an old friend just having a conversation. He is knowledgeable and answer all my questions with honesty. Within the first 5 minutes I knew he was a lawyer to trust not someone who will take your money with no results.
    – Carlysta

  • I was recommended to Attorney Hart by one of his peers and had a meeting with him immediately feeling a connection of care and concern. He made no promises but did more for me in three weeks than my other attorney had done in a year. I am so fortunate that I found someone who cares about his clients and takes it personal. He literally worked on my case day and night catching up with the details. I appreciated his dedication and determination for me.
    – Anonymous Client

  • A Good guy and a good attorney. Jim was very up front and informative. He will explain all options that are available to you.
    – Jim

  • Mr. Hart was wonderful. He walked me through everything and even told me how I could do what I needed to do cheaper using other resources. I love that he has a small practice and bases who he chooses to represent based on the clients morals and ethics. I knew I had found the right firm when I read his website. He made sure that he answered all my questions and listened intently to my story. When I emailed and cancelled my initial consultation… he wished me luck and said that he hoped I never had to contact him again. He seems like a genuinely good man, something that was a comfort to find during this difficult situation. I would highly recommend him to anyone who unfortunately finds themselves in my situation.
    – Laurel


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(919) 460-5422


201 Shannon Oaks Circle, Suite 200
Cary, North Carolina 27511