Last Minute Tax Tips to Reduce Your 2017 Tax Bill [Updated]

last minute tax tips

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!We are almost to the end of 2017, and this year we may have some much bigger changes coming our way in 2018 than in a typical tax year. For that reason, you may want to pay close attention to this post. The reason we have so many changes coming is that Trump’s Tax Reform is finally upon us. There are a lot of changes coming down the pipeline in 2018 […]

Privacy and Estate Planning

privacy and estate planning

I’m amazed at the number of clients I have that have not truly considered the privacy implications of their estate plans. From the dawn of time, humans have been concerned about privacy. Privacy keeps us safe from predators, enemies, and even in some cases, our closest friends. But at the same time, many people forget about how important privacy is when constructing their estate plan. Will-Based vs. Trust-Based Plans There are two primary options people have when putting together an estate plan – a trust-based plan or a will-based plan. There are numerous advantages to selecting a trust-based plan, including incapacity […]

What are the Different Types of Senior Care Communities?

senior care communities

As people age, they aren’t always able to stay in the home they’ve lived in for many years. It could be that their home is too big, requires too much maintenance, or has just become too expensive to live in. Or perhaps they decide to move closer to children or other family members who can provide them with much-needed help and assistance. When we are talking to our clients about the different types of senior communities, there are four main types of communities available to our senior population. When making a decision to help a loved one move into a […]

The Importance of Planning this Holiday Season

The Importance of Planning this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. Between spending time with my family and friends, eating some good food, enjoying a nice glass of wine and maybe even watching some football, it really doesn’t get any better for me. Here is a quick video I did today to talk more about why I love Thanksgiving, and why the planning that we do to prepare for this holiday makes it flow so smoothly. For those of you that would rather read, here is the full transcript! Why I Love Thanksgiving… Hey everyone. Jim Hart here, and today I want to […]

Medicaid Crisis Planning: A Case Study

Three p's of estate planning

Many people falsely believe that if they or their loved one has to enter a nursing home unexpectedly (after an acute event such as a stroke, an accident, a heart attack, etc.), that they have no choice but to spend down all of their assets (typically on nursing home care) before they can qualify for Medicaid. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When something like this happens, an elder law attorney can assist with what is called “Medicaid Crisis Planning“. The goal of Medicaid crisis planning is simple, to protect as many assets as possible while at the same […]

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 […]

What to Do if a Loved One is Indicted… How Estate Planning Can Help

Russia Indictments

On Friday, the first round of indictments were handed out in the Russia Investigation and arrests could come as early as today. And while we don’t yet know who the indictments are for, and who may be arrested, we do know one thing… estate planning could help the families of those arrested in these situations. Update: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were ordered to surrender to the Justice Department today. Estate Planning Can Block a Loved One From Serving as Trustee Whenever I’m meeting with clients for a planning session, I always ask about when loved ones should receive access to […]

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 […]