Estate Planning Information and Resources

What is a Power of Attorney and Why is it so Important?

What is a power of attorney

I’ve done a lot of posts on this blog talking about powers of attorney in North Carolina, what they are, why they are important, and why you need to have one. I’ve even talked about some of the pitfalls and mistakes people make with powers of attorney. I’ve had a number of clients recently that have made some mistakes when it comes to their powers of attorney. And right now I’m in the midst of filing a guardianship for one client because of a faulty power of attorney. The bottom line is that these mistakes are easily avoided with proper legal […]

Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me, and Why It Should Be Important to YOU too

Why Estate Planning is so important

Today I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about why estate planning is so important to me, and why it should be important to you too. So many people just pass off estate planning as something they need to do, but never actually get around to doing it. Frankly, this is a terrible mistake and one that is easily avoidable. Check out this video to learn more about what I mean. Here’s a full transcript of the video… Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me Hey there. Good morning, gang. This is Jim Hart here from […]

Why Updating Beneficiary Designations Does NOT Count as Estate Planning

beneficiary designations

Today I did a quick Facebook Live Video to discuss something that is really ticking me off lately. Let me be clear – just because you have updated beneficiary designations does NOT mean you have a good estate plan in place! Watch the whole video for my reasons why… Full Transcript – Why Beneficiary Designations do NOT count as Estate Planning! Hey there, Jim Hart here from the Hart Law Firm and I thought I would do a quick video today outside because it’s a beautiful day here in North Carolina. It’s in the 60’s, mid 60’s degrees outside. It’s […]

What is Included With a Typical Estate Plan?

typical estate plan

If you talk to one of our clients about our estate planning services, you will find out a couple of things. First, our plans are extensive. We don’t just copy and paste your name into a pre-written package of 5 documents and call it a day. Second, you will find out that we are not the cheapest estate planning lawyer in town. But as you can see from reading below, there is a reason that we charge a premium rate – our service greatly exceeds that of other firms. What Sets Us Apart from other Estate Planning Firms? Our plans […]

What the Cavs Game 3 Loss Can Teach Us about Estate Planning

What the Cavs Game 3 Loss Can Teach Us about Estate Planning

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge Cleveland sports fan. Although I was born in the Carolinas, I was raised in Cleveland (Chagrin Falls to be exact), and have been a huge fan of the Cavs, Browns, and Indians for as long as I can remember. You could call me a glutton for punishment. Yes, the Cavs won the NBA Championship last year, but as time goes on, it is starting to feel more and more like a blip on the screen of Cleveland sports. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post – the Cavs […]

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation… What You Need to Know

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation... What You Need to Know

How do you know if you are part of the current sandwich generation? If you are like me, you are a member of “Generation X”, a demographic grouping of people who were born somewhere between the mid-60’s and the early 80’s. Do the math and you should be in your 30’s or 40’s right now. What is unique about this age range? For starters, it makes you part of the current “sandwich generation”. In other words, you are old enough to have young children that you must care for, but still young enough to have aging parents that may also […]

Estate Planning Basics: Coordinating Beneficiary Designations

beneficiary designations

Here is a fairly typical scenario that I see all too frequently. A happily married couple, Fred and Susan, have put together a basic estate plan for themselves but have failed to coordinate their beneficiary designations. They have what are commonly referred to as “sweetheart wills”. Fred has a will that leaves all of his assets to Susan, and Susan has left all of her assets to Fred. Here is a list of the assets that they each have: Fred’s Assets $200,000 of equity in the marital home (½ of a Tenancy by the Entirety with Susan) $25,000 in a […]

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 […]