We understand the peace of mind that comes with knowing every will and estate planning document has been drawn by an experienced attorney who has taken the time to listen and understand each client’s particular needs. While North Carolina law does recognize handwritten or form wills and estate planning documents, there are many technical rules that could prevent those documents from effectively carrying out your wishes. Our firm has 30 years of experience carefully crafting the documents you need to ensure that you and your family will be protected, even after you are unable to provide that protection yourself.
Preparation of Estate Planning Documents
If you don’t have a will, the law mandates distribution of the property in your estate to certain family members, regardless of your personal wishes. Without appropriate planning, the probate process can become complex, time consuming and expensive. Wills provide for the efficient distribution of your property to the beneficiaries you select and can save costs and heartache for your family during the difficult time following your death. A valid will can also appoint a guardian for your children, direct what you want done with your body, name who will be in charge of funeral arrangements and determine who will be in charge of distributing your property.
For clients with large or complex estate wishes, you may want to consider creating one of several types of trusts to protect your assets from unnecessary taxation.
Health Care Powers of Attorney
A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to designate who will make decisions about your health needs when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
General Powers of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney gives your spouse, adult children or another trusted person authority to handle your finances, property and/or other legal matters for a period of time or for a purpose designated by you or when you are incapacitated.
Estate Planning and Probate Avoidance
Tax laws are typically complex and not easy to understand. A professional estate planning attorney can review how you currently own your property, advise you on the latest changes in inheritance tax laws and help you develop a plan that will protect your property, streamline the probate process and minimize tax burdens.
Probate and Estate Administration
After death, some estates can be administered with a minimal amount of time and effort, however larger estates can be quite complex requiring a year or more to settle. Estate administration can involve significant asset investigation and a multitude of letters to creditors and court documents to file. An attorney can help simplify the probate process and assist you with satisfying the requirements to successfully navigate the probate process before the Clerk of Court.
Incompetency & Guardianship
Sometimes our loved ones need special care and guidance from a family member or friend to manage their daily affairs. In those circumstances when a guardianship is necessary, our attorneys can guide you through the required court procedures with an understanding of the sensitive issues that surround a determination of incompetency and selection of an appropriate guardian.