Estate planning is necessary to provide a plan distributing a client’s assets to loved ones in an orderly manner, as intended by the testator. Estate planning instruments are also necessary to make certain that personal and financial affairs are administered in the event of incapacity. We provide guidance to plan and execute estate plans that meet client goals, whether the estate is simple or complex.
Many methods exist to hold, transfer and protect assets. A good estate plan allows clients to determine how best to hold and transfer their assets according to the individual family structure. In addition, a complete estate plan allows a client to delegate financial and medical authority to others to act on his or her behalf should he or she become incapacitated. Finalizing an estate plan is an important legal decision, because, without proper authority and direction, family members may be put into difficult positions. They are forced to make tough decisions because legal, medical or financial issues were not anticipated and addressed. A typical complete estate plan includes wills, durable powers of attorney, living wills, health care powers of attorney, HIPAA releases, and statements of intent to return home for each spouse.
Trusts are helpful in certain situations, for example: when a spouse has been married more than once or has children from a previous relationship. Other situations justifying a trust might be when a client owns real property in different geographic areas or has concerns about a beneficiary’s ability to manage assets. A trust might also be utilized to protect the benefits received by a disabled person while allowing him or her use of trust assets. A trust is simply described as an entity that owns assets which are administered by a fiduciary for the benefit of another person or group of people. There are many different types of trusts for many different purposes, and they may be simple or extremely complex. We are available to consult whether a trust will fulfill a client’s purposes, to draft an effective trust, and to provide guidance as to what assets should be utilized to fund the trust.
Our firm’s expertise and experience in family law, disability, and elder law, gives our staff a panoramic perspective on the particular needs of blended families, families with special needs, and nontraditional families. We are accustomed to analyzing problematic or unusual family and asset situations.
It’s our mission and privilege to provide comprehensive and workable solutions to clients so that their estate plans provide for an orderly management of affairs in difficult and complicated times.
Our firm is dedicated to taking on the burden of legal and financial aspects of settling an estate. We are accustomed to assisting the family with whatever issues arise because of the death of a family member, whether it involves an estate problem or a family problem.
The “This Is The Law” pamphlet series was prepared as a public service by the North Carolina Bar Association’s Communications Committee and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. North Carolina laws change frequently and could affect the information in these pamphlets. If you have specific questions with regard to any matters contained in these pamphlets feel free to contact us.
Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney
To many people, the fear of a lingering death is worse than the fear of dying. Yet often, near the end of one’s life, one is unable to make decisions or express desires concerning medical care to loved ones or medical personnel. (©1985 N.C. Bar Association, Revised 2013, Reviewed 2014)
Protecting Your Assets: Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney
Protecting your assets and caring for your family are important issues during life and after death. Wills, trusts and powers of attorney are strategic documents to accomplish this goal. To be certain that your needs and desires are met, always consult an experienced attorney for the planning and drafting of these documents. (©2004 N.C. Bar Association, Revised 2014)