Wills and Estate Planning

Posts containing useful information regarding wills and estate planning from a North Carolina Attorney.

When it comes to safeguarding your legacy and ensuring your loved ones are cared for after you’re gone, two terms often come to the forefront: wills and trusts. While bothEstate Planning lawyer Charlotte NC serve as crucial tools in the realm of estate planning, understanding their nuances can be a challenging endeavor for many in Charlotte, North Carolina.

However, with the expert guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, the complex decision-making process can become a simplified, informed choice. Let’s delve deeper into the distinctions between wills and trusts, and discover how an attorney can guide you in making the most suitable choice for your unique situation.

Wills: The Basics A will, often known as a “last will and testament,” is a legal document that articulates your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children after your demise. It’s a foundational element of estate planning and serves multiple purposes:

  1. Asset Distribution: A will enables you to designate beneficiaries, ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
  2. Guardianship Decisions: For parents with minor children, a will is a document where you’d designate guardians in case of your untimely death.
  3. Executor Designation: You can appoint an individual to manage your estate’s affairs, ensuring everything is handled appropriately and efficiently.

Trusts: Beyond the Basics Contrary to popular belief, trusts aren’t just for the wealthy. A trust is a legal arrangement where one party (the trustor) gives another party (the trustee) the right to hold and manage assets for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary). There are various types of trusts, each designed for specific scenarios. They offer:

  1. Probate Avoidance: Unlike wills, trusts can help avoid the often time-consuming and expensive probate process.
  2. Enhanced Privacy: Trusts, being non-public documents, offer a degree of privacy that wills don’t.
  3. Asset Protection: Certain trusts can protect assets from creditors or legal judgments.

How an Attorney Helps You Decide With the basics in hand, here’s how an experienced estate planning attorney proves invaluable:

  1. Personalized Analysis: Your attorney will delve deep into your personal and financial circumstances, understanding your objectives, concerns, and future aspirations.
  2. Legal Navigation: Estate laws in Charlotte, North Carolina, can be intricate. Your attorney will ensure you understand local regulations and their implications on your estate plan.
  3. Future Planning: Life’s unpredictable. Whether it’s potential tax implications or the complexities of managing large assets, an attorney can strategize for the unforeseen.
  4. Updates and Revisions: As life changes, so might your estate planning needs. An attorney helps you keep your documents current, reflecting new assets or changing family dynamics.

Making the Choice While it’s possible to have both a will and a trust, it’s essential to understand that they serve different purposes and might not always be necessary in tandem.

  • Opt for a Will If: You have straightforward estate planning needs, like leaving behind personal belongings or assigning guardians for minor children.
  • Consider a Trust If: You have more extensive assets, want to skip probate, desire more control over asset distribution, or aim for enhanced privacy.

In conclusion, the decision between a will and a trust is deeply personal, dictated by individual needs and objectives. However, navigating this decision doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right legal partner in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can feel confident and informed, ensuring that your legacy is crafted precisely as you envision.

Reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney today like The Layton Law Firm, schedule a free consultation, and take the first step towards securing your family’s future, and ensuring your wishes are honored for generations to come. Call 704-749-7747!

If you are considering a power of attorney for elderly parents, you are most likely balancing your concerns for your parents against the concern for granting someone a power of attorney. If you are a child of elderly parents, you may be wondering what exactly is expected in the role of power of attorney. In any case, our firm can assist you in navigating the concerns surrounding a power of attorney, and assist in drafting estate planning documents as well.

There are primarily two power of attorney documents which you should consider for elderly parents in North Carolina. The first is a healthcare power of attorney, and the second is a financial power of attorney.

Healthcare Power of Attorney For Elderly Parents

A healthcare power of attorney appoints an individual to assist in making healthcare decisions for an individual in the event the individual cannot communicate their wishes to doctors and medical facilities on their own. It’s important that the power of attorney is executed prior to the elderly individual losing the capacity to sign such a document which grants authority over healthcare decisions.

The standard North Carolina power of attorney also contains specific provisions regarding healthcare treatment under common healthcare scenarios. This gives the individual granting the power of attorney to make some of their healthcare wishes directly known via the power of attorney document. The remainder of decision-making will be done by the appointed healthcare power of attorney, in conjunction with the tending physicians.

A healthcare power of attorney in North Carolina is only implemented when the individual requiring healthcare cannot communicate their decisions to doctors on their own; however, as pointed out previously, the document must be signed at a time when the individual has full signing capacity including the ability to understand the effect of the power of attorney being signed into existence.

Financial or Durable Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

The second type of power of attorney most commonly used in North Carolina is a financial power of attorney. This document is similar to the healthcare power of attorney except that it governs the ability of another individual to manage finances for someone. One distinction between the financial and healthcare power of attorney is that the financial power of attorney, once signed, gives the named agent the power to access and manage finances ongoing. This is true whether the individual who granted the power of attorney has the capacity to manage them on their own or not.

A financial or durable power of attorney continues to be effective once the individual who granted it is deemed to be incapacitated. This, in fact, is when it is most important to have in place. As you can imagine, if an elderly parent is unable to take care of finances, they will then rely on the named agent to do so in their place.

Additional Resources

For more information regarding the drafting of or implementation of power of attorney documents, you can reach out to our firm for a free consultation. Our job is to answer questions for both the individual granting the power of attorney, and the individuals who may serve as power of attorney for them. If you would like to read a slightly more in-depth article about power of attorney options, check out A Guide to Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents, which we find to be a great resource from caring.com

You can reach us at 704.749.7747, or click HERE to request a consultation regarding a power of attorney for elderly parents.

Why Do I Need a Will In North Carolina?

When you pass, a properly executed Will determines how your money, personal effects, and often your real property will be distributed. A will directs the distribution of everything you own, to the individuals you would like to have it. This includes family members, close friends, and even an organization or charity. Most individuals assume that without a will, their property will automatically be given to their spouse and/or children. However, according to the laws of Intestate Succession in North Carolina, this is not always the case. Or, in the alternative, your assets do not pass exactly the way in which you would prefer.

Avoid The Laws of Intestate Succession

In North Carolina, when a person passes without having written a will, their property is distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. Generally speaking, the laws of intestate succession state that while your spouse may still receive part of your estate, any living relative may also claim a portion as well. This could mean a grandparent, cousin, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, nephews, or children. Any of these individuals might successfully argue that they are entitled to a portion of your estate. With a well-written will, however, you can help to assure that your assets are distributed as you wish.

Distributing Items of Worth and Family Heirlooms

Over your lifetime, you may have acquired some items that mean a great deal to you. For example, you may have inherited a special family heirloom, and you promise your child that she will inherit it after you pass. Without a will, any living family members may lay claim to this heirloom, regardless of what you may have told your child. This also works for any personal items, including financial assets. The will speaks for you after you pass. It provides clear direction, clears up confusion, and assures your loved ones receive what you want them to receive.

Disagreeing Family Members

There are also those instances where you may wish to make sure that someone takes none of your property. Arguments or disagreements with siblings are a good example. If two siblings are at odds and one of them passes, unless there is a will to clearly state that the sibling is not to take from the will, the laws of intestate succession may entitle that sibling to a share of the property from the will.

How Can I Have A Will Written?

The truth is, online and handwritten wills are not the most efficient and/or legal methods of having a will written. In reality, anyone who is seeking out a way to have a will written should contact and speak to or work with a North Carolina lawyer. This way, you can rest assured that your will won’t be challenged as invalid after you pass. You’ll also be sure to explicitly state your intentions and wishes in the language of the will, by using language your lawyer knows will accomplish your wishes.

Our Estate Planning Package

The Layton Law Firm, PLLC offers a basic estate planning package that meets all the needs of most of our clients. Our goal is to provide affordable estate planning services and provide you peace of mind regarding your intentions after you pass. We also know that your wishes may change over the years, and we allow for those changes to be made at a minimal cost to you.

Speak With An Attorney Today

Wondering “Do I need a will?” We’re here for you. If you would like to speak with an attorney today about having a will, power of attorney, or living will be executed, please contact us by filling out the consultation request form. You can also call us at 704.749.7747. We look forward to helping you.

An Affordable Estate Plan

We believe everyone deserves an affordable estate plan. If you have minor children, you absolutely need one. Too often, clients are pressured into expensive and complicated trust vehicles designed for tax savings that benefit the wealthy. What most of us need is a Simple Will, Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. We proudly offer an affordable estate plan to clients in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

What Is A Simple Will?

Your will is the document that dictates your wishes upon your death. Specifically, it gives you a chance to direct the treatment of certain assets—your home, your belongings, and the remainder or “residual” of your estate. The will also give you a chance to detail your burial wishes and make other special requests.

While protecting your assets from being administered by a statutory process, the will also is your chance to clearly lay out your wishes. The importance of this cannot be overstated. By doing so, you give the family clear direction as to the disposal of your assets and minimize any confusion among surviving siblings or children as to “who gets what”.

Your will also gives you the chance to name a guardian for your minor children in the event you pass away before your children reach an age of majority. If you are married, this is only necessary if both parents pass away– our affordable estate plan addresses that. You also have an opportunity to name a trustee to look after the assets of your estate if your children are minors when you pass. This way, your minor children do not have full access to the assets until an age that you determine is appropriate.

It’s important that your Will follow the rules for execution in North Carolina, which are defined in the North Carolina General Statutes. In order to have a valid will, you must meet these requirements. Our office can assure you that your estate plan will be valid and recognized in North Carolina.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

Our estate plan also includes a healthcare Power Of attorney. This document names someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you’re unable to do so yourself. This document is invaluable if your health declines and you can’t communicate with doctors and healthcare facilities. It enables those same doctors and facilities to administer care by considering the voice of your healthcare agent, who you will name in your healthcare power of attorney.

Living Will

Often confused with a will, your living will is a document that clearly communicates to doctors and healthcare professionals what your desires are regarding treatment under certain circumstances. If you are terminal and incurable, or in a persistent vegetative state, this document is your authority to withhold certain treatment. Without it, healthcare professionals strongly hesitate to withhold care for fear of liability.

Family members often are placed in a difficult position if they don’t have a living will. During a time of crisis, this document allows the family and doctors to clearly be made aware of your wishes regarding treatment like extraordinary measures and artificial nutrition and hydration (Commonly referred to as “tube feeding”).

Financial Power Of Attorney

Lastly, your estate plan includes a financial power of attorney. This document names an individual who can handle your finances in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. This empowers the family to fund healthcare from your accounts and also to carry on your ongoing financial business during a time when you’re unable to do so for health reasons.

It’s Easy To Get Started

Obtaining an estate plan through our office is easy. There is a questionnaire you fill out, which asks basic questions regarding who you would like to name to take care of your health and financial matters if you can’t do it. It also asks if you have any specific wishes to be carried out through your will.

You do not need to turn over a ton of paperwork or financials in order to obtain an affordable estate plan. If you need advanced estate planning down the road for tax purposes, we can assist with that when the time is right.

Speak With A Charlotte Attorney Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about getting your affordable estate plan done, call us. The consultation is free. You can call 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CONSULTATION.

Charlotte North Caroline Estate Planning Lawyer

If you need a basic will or estate plan, we can assist. Our firm routinely handles legal matters for clients which begin with a bankruptcy or a personal injury claim. Often, clients ask us for assistance with a will, power of attorney, or living will. Fortunately, our basic will and estate plans contain a will, healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and a living will.

Most clients find a basic will and accompanying documents are all they need. If your financial situation warrants advanced estate planning, we will let you know and help you take the next steps. Fortunately, in most cases, a basic estate plan is all you need, and clients find it quite affordable.

Charlotte Wills and Trust Lawyer

Your last will and testament is a document used to convey your wishes as it relates to your real estate and your personal property. Your attorney will discuss with you what you own, and who you would like to inherit what you own, upon your death. Your will attempts to carry out those wishes.

Guardianship of Minor Children

If you have minor children, your will has language which indicates who you would like to serve as a Guardian. You get an opportunity to also name an alternate, in the event the first person or couple is unavailable to serve as Guardian.

Charlotte Estate Planning Lawyer

Your will also gives you a chance to name an Executor or someone who is appointed to carry out your financial affairs after your death. You can name numerous individuals for this role, in the event the originally named individual is unavailable or unwilling to serve in that role.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

Your healthcare power of attorney names an individual you authorize to assist doctors in making healthcare decisions on your behalf, in the event you are not able to make those decisions yourself. This individual will also be able to sign paperwork and handle facilitating healthcare decisions from an administrative or practical perspective.

Financial Power of Attorney

Much like a healthcare power of attorney, the financial power of attorney names individuals to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. This includes doing your banking, depositing checks, and sometimes even selling real estate. Your financial power of attorney is effective upon signing, and continues until your death, until you revoke it, or until a specific time named in the document.

Living Will

A living will is a document that gives you an opportunity to tell doctors in advance, what procedures you do and do not want to be performed on you, in different health conditions. For example, if your condition is determined to be fatal, you can direct doctors not to subject you to artificial nutrition and hydration (“Tube feeding”) or not to use “Extraordinary Means” to keep you alive. This advanced directive is a way for your voice to be part of the conversation when your health won’t allow you to.

Wills And Trust Lawyer Near Me

If you’d like to speak with an attorney about a basic will package or an estate plan, please call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CONSULTATION and we will call or email you. Estate planning should be affordable, and we strive to contribute to meet that goal.

Caring for clients means assisting with existing problems and preventing future problems. Most of my bankruptcy clients do not have a Will or any other estate planning documents. While I do not recommend a Will or Estate Planning package for all individuals if you have minor children you need both.

Choose Us For Bankruptcy or Personal Injury, We’ll Do The Rest

We understand the cost of an Estate Planning Package is just one more bill, in addition to the bills you already owe. And if you’re paying for bankruptcy, very rarely is any money left over for Estate Planning. As a way to say thank you to clients who choose The Layton Law Firm to assist them with their bankruptcy or personal injury, we offer a reduced rate on an Estate Planning Package for existing bankruptcy or personal injury clients.

It’s easy to take advantage of this. When you call the firm to inquire about bankruptcy or personal injury, simply ask about the Estate Planning package and we will plan on executing the Will and other accompanying documents after we have completed your representation for your initial matter.

It feels good to take care of clients, and we look forward to seeing clients achieve peace of mind by assisting with personal injury, bankruptcy filings, and planning for the future through Estate Planning.

Call Today

Call today to get your bankruptcy questions answered, and we can move forward together to restore financial well-being to your life. We’re also here to talk about alternatives to bankruptcy if you feel that may be a better option for you. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click here for a FREE CONSULTATION.

There are two primary reasons I recommend a Will. First, if you have minor children, a Will provides direction as to the care of those children after your death. Second, with a Will, a person has control over how and to whom his or her property shall be distributed after death.

Anyone can create their own valid Will. Most lawyers are hesitant to tell you this. The reason to consider having a lawyer assist with drafting your Will and other Estate Planning documents is that in order to carry out the wishes of an individual, certain legal language recognized by North Carolina courts is required. A lawyer familiar with the Estate Planning laws of North Carolina will help ensure the following items are handled consistent with your objectives:

The care of your children — A Will contains provisions naming Guardians who will care for your children in the event you (and your Spouse) should pass away.

The care of your assets — A Will directs the disposition of certain assets (Real and Personal Property) in the event you pass away. Your choices will probably differ from the state’s ‘default’ disposition of those assets should you pass without a Will.

Your healthcare decisions — An effective Estate Plan includes a Healthcare Power of Attorney, which names individual(s) of your choosing, who will be entitled to assist in making healthcare decisions for you in the event you cannot make those decisions on your own.

Your financial decisions — An effective Estate Plan includes a Financial Power of Attorney, which names individual(s) of your choosing, who will be entitled to assist in the handling of finances in your name, should you be alive but unable to handle those affairs on your own.