Legal expertise you can rely on.
At the Arges Law Firm, we recognize that most people need to complete some form of estate planning-- whether you are single, married, are in a relationship with a partner, have young children, or multiple family members to whom you want to leave your assets. We are determined to help take the fear and intimidation out of the process. Estate planning can be complicated, but it can be very straightforward. For many people, a will is sufficient, along with a general power of attorney, health care power of attorney and advance directives. In most cases, it's only when you have assets over $5 million that things might get complicated.
When a simple will may not be sufficient, we can help access a variety of estate planning tools to fit your particular needs and circumstances. The goal is to ensure your estate goes where you want it to go without unnecessary delay or loss to estate taxes. Here is just one example of many: The IRS and North Carolina law permit the establishment of a "Q-Tip Trust" which provides for all income to the surviving spouse for life. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the balance in the trust will pass to the person or persons named in the trust clause. This kind of trust allows the executor to qualify all or a portion of the trust for the marital deduction.
Last Will & Testament
When most people think of estate planning, they think of making their will. A Last Will & Testament is a legal document that expresses your wishes as to how you want your property, both real and personal, to be distributed upon your death and names the person who will be responsible for managing your estate and making those distributions.
You want to make sure that you express your wishes in a clear manner that does not leave room for multiple interpretations. In addition, there are a number of legal requirements that must be met in order to ensure that you have a valid will that will be enforceable in North Carolina courts. Contact us so that we can help you make a will that clearly conveys your wishes and confoms to North Carolina's legal requirements.
Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney
Preparing a living will and health care power of attorney are essential steps to avoid being subjected to burdensome and expensive health care procedures that you do not want---the Terry Schiavo case illustrates the pain and waste that can ensue. Living wills and health care power of attorneys are usually very simple, straightforward steps---but an experienced counselor can help ensure that information about your wishes is available at the right time and right place when needed.
Your health care agent is authorized to act on your behalf when you lack capacity to make or communicate decisions relating to health care and will continue in effect during that incapacity or until your death. You may also authorize your health care agent to exercise your rights with respect to anatomical gifts, autopsy, or disposition of your remains.
General Power of Attorney
Your agent under your power of attorney is authorized to act in your interests with regard to financial matters, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts, and other activities. Like the Health Care Power of Attorney, the General Power of Attorney will continue in effect through incapacity until your death.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a trust document that can be changed or revoked at any time by the individual who created the trust. If you also name yourself as the trustee, then you will also manage the trust's assets. If you name a successor trustee, then upon your death or if you become incapacitated, your successor trustee can take over managing the trust's assets.
Many people choose to create a revocable living trust to avoid probate for some property and to protect the privacy of the trust's owner as well as the beneficiaries.
One caveat: a revocable living trust will not protect you from taxes. Because the grantor still owns all of the trust property, the grantor must report all of the trust's income on their individual tax return. However, avoidance of the dreaded federal Estate Tax, which taxes assets over the exclusionary amount at a rate of 40%, is not a concern for many because the current exclusionary amount for 2022 is $12,060,000.00. Be aware that this Estate Tax exemption exclusionary amount could change in the future, and the new amount could be higher or lower. Noth Carolina does not currently have a state Estate Tax.
Even if you are relying on your trust to distribute most of your property, you will still need a will to distribute any property that is not in the trust.
Contact us if you would like to discuss whether a living trust is right for you.
The Arges Law Firm does not seek to represent you based upon your visit or review of this Web Page. The material included on the Web Site is not intended as legal advice. Readers should not act upon information contained in this material without professional legal counseling. This is an advertisement. The transmission of an e-mail request information does not create an attorney-client relationship and you should not send via e-mail any information or facts relating to your legal problem or question. If you do not have a signed retainer agreement with this firm, your e-mail may not be privileged or confidential. If you are a client, remember that e-mail may NOT be secure. There may also be a risk of waiver of attorney-client and/or work-product privileges that may attach to your communication.