Estate Planning & Administration

Estate Planning is…

…a process for establishing how assets will be managed during periods of incapacity, and/or distributed at death.

Estate Planning, documents are developed to establish how your assets will be managed if you become incapacitated by injury or illness, and how they will be distributed at death. Do you want special measures in case you’re incapacitated? Do you have special possessions you want to pass to certain family members or friends? Who knows how you want your funeral to be handled? We can help you know what questions to prepare for, and how to express and protect your wishes.

Common legal tools for estate planning include:

  • Wills
  • Revocable living trusts
  • Durable general powers of attorney
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Living Wills and other advanced directives
  • Special needs trusts

…advance planning to help protect what you own.

Protecting your income and assets from creditors’ claims and tax collection is an important step as your assets accumulate, and/or as your family begins to grow. It becomes even more important as you approach retirement. Business owners in particular should carefully structure their business entity and estate plan to provide for smooth transitions and uninterrupted income during times of personal crisis.

Your needs will vary according to your unique family and business situation, and your intentions for after death. Federal and state laws provide some types of property exemptions from creditors’ claims and/or taxation. (Since they change frequently, it’s best to review your situation at least once a year.)

  • Changes in law or in your circumstances may prompt us to identify additional tools, often in conjunction with your Certified Public Accountant (CPA), to help legally shield assets from future creditors, and reduce or eliminate estate or income taxation.
  • Once we know your situation, we can review, recommend and establish protective tools such as trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

Not everyone needs the same plan; your individual plan should reflect your family’s unique situation and needs. Please contact us to arrange an estate planning appointment.

Estate Administration is…

…a process for settling a deceased person’s assets for his/her beneficiaries.

Estate Administration includes the legal steps to settle a person’s estate after death. The probate process in North Carolina includes the following steps:

  1. Presentation of the will to the Clerk of Court for probate (proof that it is authentic and effective)
  2. Qualification of executor
  3. Search for and inventory of assets of deceased
  4. Notification creditors of deceased
  5. Payment of creditors
  6. Filing tax returns
  7. Preparation of annual accounts
  8. Distribution to beneficiaries of Estate
  9. Preparation and submission of final accounting to Clerk of Court

Please contact us if you would like to discuss Estate Administration. We can help, even if we did not prepare the original will.