Do You Need an Estate Plan?

do you need an estate plan

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Alternatively, you may sign up for email updates in the box to the right. Thanks for visiting!It’s been awhile since I wrote about a question as simple as “do you need an estate plan?” However, yesterday I received a call from a potential client who was frustrated because his wife of 40 years needed to be hospitalized and the doctors and staff at the hospital would not provide him with any information about her condition. The problem was that even though they were married, his Wife hadn’t […]

What is a Wealth Preservation Trust and Why is it Important?

wealth preservation trust

One of the greatest tools available to estate planning and elder law attorneys is the irrevocable Wealth Preservation Trust. If you are like me when I first heard about this type of trust, you are probably thinking “that sounds cool, what is it?” Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what an irrevocable Wealth Preservation Trust is, let’s take a minute to go over who could most benefit from using a trust like this as part of their overall estate plan. Who Should Consider Using a Wealth Preservation Trust? If I’m meeting with a new potential client and […]

What is the Cost of Failing to Plan?

failing to plan

Yesterday I met with a client who had hired me to help him to determine how to navigate the minefield that is Medicaid Planning for his mother. I had already drafted a family asset protection letter for him, outlining the specific facts of his mother’s situation and providing various strategies for him to consider. It was interesting to see the lightbulb come on somewhere in the middle of this meeting as I was explaining my recommendations. The reason I say that is because at the very first meeting I had with this individual, he was adamant that he didn’t want […]

What is Trust Administration and Why is it Important?

Trust Administration Lawyer

Many people don’t fully understand what trust administration is or why they need to go through the trust administration process. There can be a number of reasons for this misunderstanding, but the most common one is probably this – the grantor passed away and left you as the sole beneficiary of their trust. So now you believe (and rightfully so) that the trust and everything in it is yours. So what’s the big deal? Why would you need to do anything else to administer the trust? It’s your money now anyway, right? Well, sort of. Why Trust Administration is so […]

Yes, Medicaid Can Deny Your Application for Failure to Provide Sufficient Financial Documentation

Medicaid Denials

In case you were thinking that you would file for Medicaid, and they wouldn’t ask you for any financial information to verify your application… think again. In December, a New Jersey appeals court upheld the denial of Medicaid benefits because the applicant did not provide sufficient financial verifications. P.B. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-5405-15T2, Dec. 8, 2017). Here are the basic facts of this case: P.B.’s daughter filed a Medicaid application on her behalf. The state Medicaid agency requested additional information about P.B.’s bank accounts, life insurance policies, and housing. The daughter […]

Love giving to Charity? The Charitable Remainder Trust May be Just What You Need

Charitable Remainder Trust

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a friend of mine who has several clients with low-basis, highly appreciated stocks. They were looking to diversify, minimize taxes, provide some additional income, and keep some level of control over their investments. I initially thought a charitable remainder trust would be a great option… And then he asked me for my advice. I looked up a number of options for these clients including: Private Family Foundations Exchange Funds Gifting Programs Leaving the stock as is and letting their children inherit it Other related strategies But ultimately, I kept coming back […]

Do You Need to Update Your North Carolina Power of Attorney?

north carolina power of attorney

One of the most important legal documents you can have in your estate plan is a durable power of attorney. This is a legal document that allows someone else to act as your agent in the event that you are incapacitated. On January 1, 2018, a new law went into effect in North Carolina that changes and updates many aspects of the North Carolina Power of Attorney Statute. But before we get into what you need to know about the statutory changes, let’s take a minute to discuss what a power of attorney is and why it is so important. […]

Should You use a Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship as an Estate Planning Tool?

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

A joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a way that several people can hold legal title to an asset such as a piece of property, a bank or investment account, or even a car. When two or more people own a bank account or piece of property as joint tenants with right of survivorship, each “co-owner” has equal rights and access to that property. When one of the co-owners dies, the property passes immediately to the other co-owners without needing to go through probate. RELATED: Click here to read more about why updating beneficiary designations does NOT count as […]

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina

Paying for Nursing Home Care

One of the harsh realities of life is that if you live long enough, at some point you may need move into a long-term care facility, otherwise known as a “skilled nursing facility”. The cost of these facilities can be downright crippling to most families. At a typical cost of between $6,500 to $10,000 per month ($78,000 to $120,000 per year), a lifetime of savings can be lost in just a few short years at one of these facilities. As a result, one of the most common questions I get from potential clients and my trusted referral partners is simply […]

What is a Ladybird Deed?

Ladybird Deed in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows individuals to use Ladybird Deeds to protect their personal residence. But what is a Ladybird Deed anyway, and how do you know if you need one? One of the best ways to explain a Ladybird Deed is to use a simple hypothetical. The Story of Bill and Mary Bill and Mary are an elderly couple. Bill is 75 and has survived several heart attacks. Mary is 77 and has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many years ago, Bill and Mary drew up what are commonly called “sweetheart wills”. This […]