When an adult cannot manage his or own affairs for financial or personal matters, a guardian may be necessary. Generally a guardianship can be avoided when the person has planned ahead with appropriate powers of attorney for financial and health care matters. Here is the North Carolina procedure for appointing a guardian, under North Carolina Read more
When a person dies (the “decedent”) owning property, or after having created a Trust that holds property at the decedent’s death, there will be an administration of those assets. If the assets were owned by the decedent in his or her own name, those asset will go through Probate, which is a court supervised estate Read more
If you’re an executor or trustee, it is likely not something you asked to do. Many times parents name a child as executor or successor trustee but don’t tell the child or share important information until the child must take over because your parent has died or become incompetent. Your first step in taking on Read more
As a Successor Trustee, you step into the Trustee role when the original Trustee dies or becomes incapacitated. Here are some important actions to take when your parent named you as a Successor Trustee in their planning, upon their death. When your parent dies and you become Trustee, you will need to immediately step in Read more
Probate is court supervised estate administration. It’s the process of administering and settling an estate after a person dies. North Carolina has very specific rules about how probate is done, with strict court oversight. Probate will be required whether or not a person had a Will, if there were sufficient assets the decedent’s name that require administration. Not all assets require administration. For example, jointly owned accounts may pass directly to the surviving owner. Similarly, assets with beneficiary designations including IRAs, life insurance policies and annuities will not pass through probate (unless the estate was named as the beneficiary).
Probate can be time consuming, costly and difficult. If you’re doing your own estate planning now, you should take the time to learn whether probate is something you should plan to avoid for yourself and your heirs, to simplify their life after your passing. And if you’re the person handling an estate or a beneficiary of an estate, you should understand your rights and responsibilities under the North Carolina probate laws.