How Living Trusts Are Used to Avoid Probate

Living trusts are a common estate planning tools used to accomplish various objectives. One of the main reasons people used living trusts is to keep certain property out of probate court or avoid the need to go through probate entirely. North Carolina has a simplified probate procedure for small estates. If a living trust contains (more…)

My Love One Died and Their Will Is Different Than Expected

When a Loved One Passes When a loved one dies, the last thing that likely crosses your mind is what their will says. Throughout their lives you may have spoken about what happens when die and what they may be planning on leaving you, but unless you have seen their will, you will never know (more…)

North Carolina Intestacy Laws: When a Deceased Person Had No Will

Many people never take the time to create a valid will and pass away without naming their heirs. These individuals are said to have died intestate, meaning that they had no will. In these cases, the North Carolina intestacy laws will control how their property is distributed among their heirs. When Intestacy Laws Apply Wills (more…)

How Creditors Can Get Payment from an Estate

Creditors have a right to payment even after a debtor has passed away. They can exercise this right by filing a claim against an estate. If there are sufficient assets in the estate, the creditor is entitled to receive payment before any heirs receive their inheritance. The Claims Process The personal representative of the estate (more…)

What the Stepped-Up Basis Means for Inherited Property

The stepped-up basis is a rare “gift” from the IRS that provides favorable tax treatment for inherited capital assets. Real estate, stocks, and other capital assets that have appreciated in value are eligible for the stepped-up basis, which can result in huge tax savings if used properly. Tax Treatment for Capital Assets In simple terms, (more…)

What Should You Do If You Inherit a Qualified Retirement Account?

A retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA, can be among the most valuable assets a person owns in the years just before and after retirement. When a person passes away with funds still in their retirement account, the beneficiary needs to be aware of their options and the tax implications of (more…)

The Difference Between Trusts and Custodial Accounts

Trusts and custodial accounts are two methods of bequeathing property for the benefits of minors. Individuals under age 18 cannot legally own title to property in North Carolina, so these methods allow for an adult to care for the property and manage it on behalf of the minor. While both types of arrangements can be (more…)

What Happens When Children Inherit Property in North Carolina?

Parents or other relatives may wish to bequest property to minor children in their will, but minors cannot inherit and manage their own property until they reach age 18 in North Carolina. A minor may also be an heir under North Carolina’s intestacy laws when no will exists. In either case, care must be taken (more…)

The Probate Process for Small Estates in North Carolina

North Carolina’s small estate laws provide for a simplified procedure of obtaining property for heirs when the total value of the estate is below a certain threshold. Heirs will not have to go before a judge in these cases, and they can get the property they are entitled to just by filing out an affidavit. (more…)

Guidelines for Organ and Tissue Donation

Estate planning should include consideration of whether to provide for organ donation after your death.  The following discussion covers several of the common questions concerning organ and tissue donation. Can I become a donor? All adult individuals can indicate their intent to donate by signing an organ donation card.  An individual under age 18 must (more…)