Estate Planning Information and Resources

Why using the Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney is a Bad Idea in North Carolina

short form power of attorney

In North Carolina, the legislature has prepared a statutory short form power of attorney to help and guide attorneys and citizens who need a durable power of attorney. (Which is pretty much everyone). However, just because it is out there, doesn’t mean you should use it. Here is a link to the statutory short form. (Or scroll to the bottom of this page, I’ve copied and pasted the form into this post). But if the Law Provides this Form, isn’t that good enough? No, not necessarily. Here is a story that illustrates what I’m talking about. Yesterday I was meeting with […]

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina Without Going Broke

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care

Recently, I’ve had a number of inquiries from family members of elderly parents who need to figure out how to pay for nursing home care without draining their life savings. This is a complex and tricky area of the law, and if done incorrectly, can lead to a lot of problems. For that reason, I’ve reached out to another elder law attorney in Raleigh to assist me with some of these issues. Yesterday, he was kind enough to allow me to sit in on one of his seminars and learn more about the process of paying for nursing home care. […]

How Can a Step Up in Basis Help Your Estate Plan

step up in basis

Taxes are one of the most confusing areas of the law. Whether this is intentional or not is subject to much debate, but one thing is certain – if you are able to play the game correctly, you can save yourself (and your heirs) lots of money. Many people get confused by terms like “step up in basis,” when in reality it shouldn’t be that confusing. But then again, that is easy for me to say, I get paid to give legal advice including, from time to time, basic advice about taxes. What is a Capital Gain? Before we talk […]

Things to Consider When Funding Your Trust With Real Estate

Real Estate into Trust

A common estate planning technique that I have talked frequently about on this blog is to place all your assets into a Revocable Living Trust. There are a number of benefits to this strategy, including: Maintaining Privacy for Your Family Ease and Cost of Administration Probate Avoidance Administrative Flexibility during Your Incapacity and after Your Death Asset Protection Estate Tax Avoidance But that is not to say that there aren’t issues that crop up when you decide to place real estate into a trust, which many people do. Here are just a few of the considerations you must think about […]

Accidental Disinheritance: Why it is So Important to Update Your Estate Plan Every Year

accidental disinheritance

This morning I came across an article on JD Supra that discussed several scenarios when an accidental disinheritance could occur. An accidental what? An accidental disinheritance. In other words, you inadvertently disinherit a loved one by failing to properly update your estate plan on a regular basis. Instead of your life insurance proceeds or retirement accounts going to the people you intended them to go to, such as your adult children, they go to an ex-spouse or your step-children whom you hadn’t intended to leave money to. This most frequently can happen after a divorce or remarriage, if one of […]

You Just Found Out You Have a Terminal Illness… Now What?

terminal illness

If you are reading this because you recently found out that you have a terminal condition, such as cancer or ALS, let me first say how sorry I am. I still remember the conversation with my sister telling me that my Mother had terminal cancer. My Mom couldn’t or wouldn’t process the information from the doctor, so my sister made the call. It was a tough conversation with lots of tears. It created a lot of uncertainty and questions, such as “how much time does she have?” and “what can we expect in the coming months?” I can’t even begin […]

How to Prepare an Estate Plan for a Child Who Has “Issues”

estate plan for child

As parents, we all hope and pray that our children will grow up to be good people and productive members of society. And for the vast majority of us, that is exactly what happens. But what happens if you have a child that is influenced by peer pressure to try drugs or falls into the wrong group of friends? Or maybe your child makes it through high school and college without any issues, but then marries someone who doesn’t share your values or steers him or her down the wrong path? How do you create an estate plan for a […]

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day… Are You Covered?

National Healthcare Decisions Day

This week marks National Healthcare Decisions Day, a national movement geared towards bringing more attention to advanced planning and getting people to take action. “It always seems too early… until it’s too late.” The simple fact is that the majority of Americans have not done any advanced planning. They feel like they have time on their side when the simple fact is that when you truly need these documents, it is too late to prepare them. Here is a short video from Nathan Kottkamp, a lawyer and the chairman of National Healthcare Decisions Day, that helps to explain why taking […]

How Often Should You Review or Update Your Estate Plan? (Video Blog)

Update Your Estate Plan

I recently reviewed an estate plan for an older woman who first had her will drawn up in 1985, and then had an update done in 2002. So for this nice lady, every 15 years seemed to be the right length of time between having her will drawn up. I don’t recommend that. For most people, going 15 years without reviewing your estate plan is way too long. An estate plan is not something that you put together, throw in a drawer, and check off your list as something that is finished forever. An estate plan is not something that you […]

Avoiding Probate in NC… 4 Ways to Keep Your Assets Out of the Courts (Without Using a Trust)

avoiding probate nc

One of the big, sexy topics these days is avoiding probate. Many people want to avoid probate for many reasons. They have heard that probate is an expensive, lengthy, public process that unnecessarily drags out the suffering of their heirs. And for many individuals, regardless of the size of their estate, this is true. When my Mother passed away last year, she had a modest estate. But even so, we had to probate her will and for many reasons, it took longer than my siblings and I would have liked. Some people believe that using a trust is the only […]