Frequently Asked Questions

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Business Planning FAQs

What is the corporate charter?

It is document issued by the secretary of state that indicates when the corporation began its existence.  Think of it has the corporations “birth certificate.”

What is the Difference Between an LLC and a Limited Partnership?

A Limited Partnership consists of at least one general partner and one limited partner. The general partner is potentially liable for all the obligations of the partnership. The limited partner has limited liability. Limited partners may jeopardize their limited liability status if they actively participate in the business of the partnership.

An LLC consists of one or more members which may be individuals, partnerships, limited partnerships, trusts, estates, associations, corporations, other limited liability companies or other business entities. The members of an LLC are afforded limited liability similar to shareholders of a Corporation and have pass-through taxes comparable to a partnership.

What factors should be considered in choosing the type of business form for my business?

Although there are many important things to think about when choosing a business form, some of the main considerations include your preference of tax treatment, your plan to capitalize the business, whether you plan to issue stock and trade it publicly, how you plan to structure the management of your business, and issues surrounding the liability of the business owners, among other things.

It is very important to plan your business and to work closely with someone who can help you choose the business form that will meet your needs.

What is the Form 2553?

The 2553 Form, known as the sub chapter S election, is required to be filed with the IRS to get S-corporation status for purposes of federal taxation. Filing this Form with the IRS is used to convert a C-corporation into an S-corporation.

What IRS forms does a co-owned LLC file?

Unless members elect otherwise, a co-owned LLC is considered a partnership. Though the LLC itself does not pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, it files Form 1065, U.S. Partnership Return of Income, and issues each member a Schedule K-1 reporting their share of profit and loss. Members file their personal tax returns (usually Form 1040) and report their LLC distributions on Schedule E.

Estate Planning FAQs

Do I need to file my will at the courthouse or in the county where I reside?

In North Carolina, you need only comply with the proper procedures for making and executing your will. You do not need to present a copy of your will to the court or place it in public records. Once you have signed your will, it is advisable for you to place your will in a safe place such as in a safe-deposit box or with your other important papers.

Do I need a lawyer to make my will?

In order for a will to be valid in North Carolina, it must be drafted and executed in accordance with the requirements of North Carolina Law. An attorney who is familiar with wills and estate planning can help you make some of the important decisions and can also ensure that your will meets the requirements in order to be valid. A will should be drafted by an attorney for your protection and the protection of your family, but having an attorney draft your will is not a requirement.

Can I use my will to name somebody to care for my young children, in case my spouse and I both die suddenly?

Your will can specify the individuals who you wish to receive custody of your minor children should you and your spouse die suddenly. It is suggested that you also name alternate guardians in your will. By making these decisions and placing them in writing within your will, you assist the courts greatly in determining who will be the guardian for your children.

Can I say whether I want pain medication, or food and water?

You can give full power and authority to a health care agent to make decisions for you, which you could make yourself if you had the capacity to make and communicate health care decisions. Authority can involve decisions regarding anatomical rights, autopsies and disposition of remains. The authority granted to the health care agent may contain whichever restrictions the principal deems appropriate. Therefore, a health care proxy may instruct the physicians on whether you would like artificial food and water as well as pain medication, because if you were able to communicate yourself, you could ask the physicians to withhold any of those items from your treatment.

Can I revoke my will after it has been signed?

You can always revoke your will after it has been signed. Should you wish to revoke a will because you have had a new one drawn, you should destroy all signed copies of your old will (there should only be one) by tearing, shredding or burning each page. Please note that if you destroy your will with the intent to revoke it and die before you execute another will, your property will be distributed by the intestate laws of North Carolina.

Probate and Estate Administration FAQs

The Task of Taking on Probate without Legal Help and What That Means for You

With the power of Google and YouTube combined, we can pretty much take on any task, even build a house from the very trees in our backyard. As we continue to advance in technology, we’re opting for less human touch and more convenience provided at the touch of a finger. And boy do we have news! The estate administration process will soon allow you to file everything online, but … that’ll be some lightyears away. Nonetheless, the news is out!

 

In the meantime, you’re still subject to direct human connection. I know! The anxiety!

 

The Self Diagnosed Patient

 

One thing to note, as heavily as we depend on search engines and videos to guide us, if we persist enough, we’ll become much like a physician’s worst nightmare: a self-diagnosed patient. And we all know the confusion that’ll arise when we have an endless supply of information that may guide us well or right into the pit of failure.

 

It’s often enough that when we work with individuals who’ve taken on probate alone in the past, that they start to realize certain important aspects of probate that the courts never brought up and it was never completed – which brings so many things full circle in the moment. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is, “Is it worth doing on my own if it means it’ll come back to bite me down the road”.

 

Doing It on Your Own

 

Furthermore, if you’ve met with a clerk, it’s likely you’ve been served the phrase (if you didn’t notice it on the wall of each clerk’s office), “We don’t give legal advice”. What that entails is talking to you about what NC Statute requires and doesn’t require to address a specific matter of the estate and why. As many former Administrators and Executors boasts after taking on an estate alone, “I feel like I can transition from my current career to any career now – knowing what I know and having done what I’ve done.” Let this paint the reality of what it means to run with the ball on your own. Sometimes, it’s just easier to accept that it’s going to take a village to make something work out.

 

With our trusted resources and experienced estate administration team, we aim to do nothing more than to help put you on the right path. Even if you don’t engage one, it’s worth sitting down with an attorney to know what is required of you to successfully close out the estate.

 

We encourage you to set the phone down and see what it means to have direct and applicable knowledge on your side, by sitting down with one of our attorneys at NC Planning.

Can I Use the Estate Funds to Pay Legal Fees?

How Much Can Legal Fees Be?

 

Estate funds may certainly be used to pay for any legal fees incurred in your capacity as Administrator. However, it is wise to monitor how much you are spending in legal fees vs. the value of the total probated estate. There’s a limitation on how much an attorney can collect in fees, and often times this can fall on the clerk’s office to decide when to cap on legal fees – especially, if it starts to appear excessive. It’s common that the clerk’s office will not approve above 5% of the probated estate value, to pay legal fees. If you start to feel that legal fees are starting to outweigh assets in total value, you should request that your attorney file a Petition for Counsel Fees before issuing your next payment, if they’re not already.

 

Bear in mind that should any legal fees not be approved and ordered paid by the clerk’s office, you’ll want to revisit the terms and conditions of your Representation Agreement, with the Attorney’s office. Often times, the remaining balance not approved by the clerk’s office will become a personal liability of the client. If you don’t recall signing an Agreement, it’s important to obtain transparency on how you’re to be billed for on-going services.

What is a Resident Process Agent and Why Do I Need One?

Does Your Executor Live Out of State?

 

Often times we don’t think about where our family members are living, just as long as they’re where they want to be and that they’re happy. With the comfort of technology and accessibility to the many social media platforms out there, there’s no real concern over the distance between everyone. However, in the estate administration/probate world, we see and treat that distance a little differently. In fact, if anything happens to you (e.g. sudden death), it’s handled differently by the court.

 

Whether you have an estate plan in place or not, nothing can change the fact that the person you nominated in your Will to serve as Executor, or the next of kin who is up for appointment as Administrator, lives on the other end of the country. So, if they live in California and you live in North Carolina, and sudden death becomes your reality, leaving any portion of your estate to be probated, this person now has to execute their duties as Executor/Administrator with your domicile county court in North Carolina, while living in California.

 

With the amount of information and documentation required to file, and the time allotted to complete each task, the distance will be seen as inefficient if the clerk cannot correspond with them in a timely manner. Although advancing, our government programs and sources for communication are still very outdated. When the courts are issuing notices through snail-mail to the Executor/Administrator, they’ll want to see that the Notices are received in a timely manner and that it gives the Executor/Administrator sufficient time to act. Further, if the Executor/Administrator has become unresponsive and the courts need to locate them to have the Sherriff serve them; they’re certainly not going to order the Sheriff’s Office to drive across the country to do so.

 

Resident Process Agent Requirements

 

For this reason, a Resident Process Agent is required when an appointed Executor/Administrator lives outside of the state where the decedent’s estate is being probated. The Agent appointed to serve has to meet the following requirements:

 

  • 18+ years of age,
  • Reside in the state where the decedent’s estate is being probated,
  • No pending criminal charges nor felony charges or convictions in their criminal background/history,
  • The individual appointed should be accessible and reliable, and comfortable with receiving notices from the courts, on the Executor/Administrator’s behalf, and reporting it to them in a timely manner.

 

Their role is as important as that of the Executor/Administrator of the estate, considering their duty is establishing successful and efficient communication between the Executor/Administrator and the courts.

 

Plan Ahead

 

Have you talked to your family or your nominated Executors about their duties yet? Don’t know what an Executor or Administrator is? Don’t feel bad! You’re asking all the right questions! We have a great team ready to speak with you more about this. Call us to schedule a time to speak with one of our attorneys about your estate plan and what you can do to help prepare your future Executors or Administrators!

I’ve Already Started Probate/Estate Administration and I Just Got a Letter From the Clerk’s Office to File the Inventory. What Does that Mean?

It’s important to be aware and informed of all your duties as Executor or Administrator of your loved one’s estate. This is partially because a lot of your duties and tasks are going to be prompted by deadlines, which starts from the day you qualified and were appointed Executor or Administrator of the estate.

 

You’re likely getting a “Notice to File”, which is sent by the clerk’s office of where the estate is being probated, and you’re receiving it 30 days in advance of the Inventory being due. Should you miss a deadline, you may expect a second reminder, but more likely to be an “Order to File” and often served to you by the local Sheriff’s Office. And anytime the Sheriff’s Office has to get involved, it does generate a cost of $30.00 each time, for their service. If you’re unsure of what an Inventory is, please see our other blog post, detailing what an Inventory should entail.

 

Please be reminded to consult with an estate administration attorney or clerk to see what your options are and how to remain in compliance, to avoid unnecessary costs to the estate.

 

 

 

 

What is an Inventory?

 

 

When looking at the Inventory form, it would appear overwhelming to see what is being requested on the form. To simplify it, an Inventory is a snapshot of what the decedent owned upon passing away – so some things may or may not need to be listed at all.

 

Part I of the Inventory is where you have to list assets that were not beneficiary designated or only payable to the decedent or the estate. In this section, you’re being asked to list the asset in the appropriate category by type of asset, and to confirm what the value of the asset was on the date of passing a/k/a date of death. You’ll also find that you’ll have furnish some written documentation issued by the institution housing the asset, to confirm this value. Often times, when it comes to a cash account, a bank statement is generally provided to confirm the value of the asset. For titled tangible assets, like a vehicle, you’ll want to gather a copy of the title of the vehicle and the Kelley Blue Book assessment of what the vehicle would be worth, if sold privately. Once Part I of the Inventory has been completed, you’ll find a total value at the bottom (right) of page 1, which will give you the amount that you are required to pay on filing fees. You can calculate this by knowing that you’ll be required to pay $0.40 of every $100.00, to the clerk’s office, or $15.00, whichever is greater. The clerk cannot collect more than $6,000.00 in filing fees, so if the estate is of substantial value, please monitor all fees paid to the clerk’s office, from the point of qualification to the close of the estate – and this includes the initial payment of the qualification fee of $120.00.

 

Part II of the Inventory includes assets that were jointly owned with rights of survivorship. The documents you’ll gather are similar to Part I, but with certain types of assets, you’ll also have to provide documentation to confirm you were listed jointly and had rights of survivorship. For cash accounts, this can be a signature card or a letter from the bank confirming as much – which should appear on the bank’s letterhead and signed off by a representative of the bank. These assets are only listed at half value on the form, as in you were seen as having owned half of the asset prior to the date of death and the decedent owned half up to the date of death. Although Part II requests jointly owned assets, it does not request beneficiary designated assets. So, anything that passed to you as “payable on death” or simply beneficiary designated, then you may leave it off the form; and only check the bottom below the section noting that there were IRAs, etc. paid out to beneficiaries.

 

Real Estate

 

One item that you always want to be aware of is real estate owned by the decedent solely. If there are any real estate in the decedent’s name, whether owned by them in whole or in part, you’ll want to list the address and legal description of the plot in Part II and list the value (of the property) owned by the decedent. So, if the decedent only owned 1/3 of the plot, you’ll list only 1/3 of the value of the plot. If it appears that the decedent owned land in a different state or county from the domiciliary county of probate, then you’ll want to request exemplified and/or certified true copies from the domiciliary county to file in the county where the plot/land is located. If the plot or land is within the domiciliary state, but outside of the domiciliary county, you’ll want to request certified true copies. If the plot or land is outside of the domiciliary state, then you’ll want to request exemplified copies.

 

The work that goes into preparing an Inventory can be exhausting if you’re unsure of what the decedent owned or didn’t own on the date of death, so it’s best to connect with the former Power of Attorney, financial agent, or surviving spouse of the decedent to ensure you receive full disclosure on all the information you need to complete the Inventory.

When and How to Legally Change a Decedent’s Mailing Address

Who Is Responsible vs. Who Has Authority?

 

As with everything else, when a loved one has passed, the responsibility of who has to check the mail goes under the radar. Instead, most opt to think that it’s simply okay to just access the decedent’s mail until further notice. Even if it sounds okay, the question you have to ask yourself is, “is this legal?”

 

Like online accounts for the decedent, just because you have the login information doesn’t mean you have the existing authority to access the account. Even with a Durable/Financial Power of Attorney, your power to act ceases the day your loved one passed away. The same applies to receiving and accessing postal mail.

 

What Is The Process?

To properly address the mail, you should contact the Post Master at the local Post Office (within the area of residence) and notify them of the date of passing and ask that all of the decedent’s mail be held there until someone has been appointed as an authorized representative of their estate, by the court. Upon receiving the proper court forms, the authorized representative will be in touch with the Post Master to issue a mail forwarding address and issue payment towards any costs associated with the change of address. Find out if there’s a timeline for how long they can hold the mail for and let your attorney know. By letting your attorney know, you’re allowing your attorney to know how fast to act and why.

 

 

How To Avoid a Mess After You Have Passed Away

To avoid the hassle of having to determine who should be receiving your mail after you’re gone, you’ll want to discuss with your attorney about having someone appointed to take care of your estate – the same person who would also be responsible for your mail. The responsibility of tying up loose ends goes on for much longer after you’re gone, so it’s important to plan ahead. Beyond the grief of losing someone, everyone will be seeking direction.

 

NC Planning boasts a team of attorneys who are well-versed in estate planning and equipped with the proper network and tools to help drive your estate planning towards success. We encourage you to schedule a time with one of our attorneys, to discuss your estate plan and what you can do for your family to allow them the luxury of grief and clarity.

 

 

What is the Difference Between an Executor and an Administrator?

What is an Executor

 

An Executor rises into their position and duties by first being nominated through someone’s Last Will & Testament, and then having that Last Will & Testament probated with the county where that someone last resided when they passed away.

 

When an Administrator is Appropriate

 

However, it may sometimes be the case that estate planning may not be the most logical (or even reasonable) way of planning for the distribution of one’s assets simply because the assets are so simple and the beneficiaries are all of age to receive them. Thus, in instances where someone passes without a Last Will & Testament, but their family members are finding that refund checks, debts, and tangible assets (e.g. vehicles, collectable items, etc.) are having to be split among the next of kin, of the decedent, an Administrator will need to be appointed to address these items. To be able to legally address these items without a Will, an Administrator will need to apply to the court to be appointed and their appointment not be contested by the beneficiaries of the estate. The Administrator is generally the next of kin, if not the surviving spouse.

 

How to Avoid Family Drama

 

What if you could help your family to circum-navigate the drama of who will be responsible for what when it comes to your estate and debts, and allow you to determine who you and your love ones trust most to handle these loose ends for you? You’ll want to sit down to discuss a plan with an estate planning attorney to ensure every aspect of your estate plan has been properly and carefully reviewed to know how to plan for success.

 

At NC Planning, your experience and your best interest comes first. Our process allows us to walk you through every aspect of your planning, from your children (young or older) to protecting your assets from possible or unpredictable tax implications – whatever the goal may be in the end. We invite you and the entire family to come in to meet with our Estate Planning team to see what will work best for you and your family. To begin planning for success, give our team a call at (919)900-4720. We look forward to working with you!

 

 

 

 

Can I continue to use the funds out of (deceased member)’s account since I was appointed as their POA? 5-31-2019

 

The powers bestowed to the Power of Attorney by the Grantor ceases the day the Grantor passes away. Starting on the date of death, onwards, the responsibilities of the Power of Attorney now shifts to the (nominated and/or court appointed) Executor or Administrator of the decedent’s Estate. Thus, any bills or creditors can only be addressed by the Executor or Administrator of the Estate, as well as being the only party who can discuss the decedent’s open affairs with an attorney when it comes to administering the estate.

 

If the person appointed is different from who is currently serving, then the nominated Executor or immediate next of kin, if not the spouse, should gather the original death certificates and original Will, if there is one, and speak with the Power of Attorney to obtain asset information and status. This will help to clarify what remains to be addressed by the Executor or Administrator, and if an estate will need to be opened to address any assets.

 

 

Who can serve as an Executor?

The Parties

 

The parties nominated in the decedent’s Last Will & Testament can serve as Executor of the decedent’s estate. The order of parties listed matters a great deal when determining of who gets appointed first. Should there be any parties prior to any other listed party, wishing to serve, those nominated must renounce their right to serve first. For example, if the following were named in the following order:

 

  1. John Doe
  2. Steve Doe
  3. Jane Doe
  4. Stephanie Doe

 

and Stephanie wishes to serve, she’ll need to seek a renunciation from John Doe, Steve Doe, and Jane Doe before she can apply to the courts to become Executor of the Estate. Should any of the prior parties not resign, Stephanie cannot serve as Executor of the Estate.

 

The only party free to apply without a renunciation is the first nominee.

 

 

 

8/23/19 – KLD – What do I need to bring with me when consulting with an attorney?

 

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what to bring when you meet with an attorney to discuss the probating your loved one’s estate. However, for those who don’t like to go too long without a plan, this one’s for you.

 

The first thing to know about probate is that it’s not friendly to our rainforests – many trees suffer at the hands of probate. While our court systems work towards catching up with the future of communications, in the meantime, we’re still pushing paper for all of our solutions.

For this reason, we always ask that the following documents be made accessible to us at this time before all else:

 

  • At least 5 death certificates
  • Funeral invoice showing a zero-dollar balance owed or stamped “Paid in Full” – if not yet paid in full, please confirm with the attorney at your meeting
  • Bills, outstanding invoices and statements for decedent – before and after date of death
  • Uncashed checks or cash belonging to the decedent
  • List of contacts and contacts’ information at financial institutions where decedent held assets
  • List of contacts and contact’s information for creditors of the estate or the decedent, or invoices/bills/statements
  • Decedent’s original Last Will and Testament and Codicils
  • Decedent’s original Trust documents

 

The above documents plus any questionnaires you might have to complete to disclose financial and personal information related to the decedent will equip your attorney with the best advice you can receive at the initial meeting. In estate administration, there’s no such thing as too much information or paperwork. And when you’re paying for the consult, it’s best to be prepared.

Can I Use Estate Funds to Reimburse Myself as Executor?

Of course! But the answer goes a little deeper than this. We have to identify exactly what you’re seeking reimbursement for and what you have to support your claim. The reason we categorize reimbursements is because each is prioritized differently, per statute.

 

How to Categorize Reimbursements

The starting point would be determining how much is actually passing through the court a/k/a probate. Based on the value of the probated estate, is it worth pursuing a reimbursement?

 

The second is to determine which category each of your claim (for a reimbursement) falls under, and how statute governs how each should be handled. The process of categorizing your claims will help you to determine which claim holds a priority over the other.

 

Going by NCGS 28A-19-6(a), your claims will be paid in the order in which it falls under.

 

Administrative Fees/Expenses

Administrative fees and/or expenses are incurred while serving and acting in your capacity as Administrator/Executor of the Estate. Any fees and expenses that fall under administrative is considered a priority to all other claims – with the exception of a yearly allowance, if one filed. Administrative fees and/or expenses generally include legal fees, CPA fees, court filing fees and costs, and postage costs to send items. Through a Petition for Reimbursement and/or proper supporting documents to show that personal funds were used, the court will review the expenses and issue an Order for Reimbursement of expenses that were considered and approved.

 

Funeral Expenses

For funeral expenses, any reimbursements sought will have to depend heavily on how much remains in the estate after administrative fees have been paid or reimbursed to the Administrator/Executor. If there are insufficient funds to satisfy the full amount of the funeral expenses paid for using personal funds, then it’ll be subject to part two of the above statute, which ultimately leaves it in the court’s discretion. Regardless, this bill has to be paid. If the estate can’t satisfy it in full, then the party who obtained the contract would be responsible for paying it off using personal funds. You can’t close the estate without a paid-in-full funeral receipt.

 

Creditors

If you’ve paid any creditors of the decedent and just now realizing you weren’t responsible for it, you’ll want to be sure you’re keeping track of the invoice(s) and the payment(s) issued to them. These documents will come to serve you well in a paper-pushing process.

 

Are you having trouble organizing what you have in front of you to seek reimbursement? Or perhaps you want to know what you can do to prevent your liabilities from falling on someone else after you’re gone. It’s never too late to consult with an attorney on what you need to do to better plan for these expenses. With the right network and team on your side, you’ll be equipped to address the toughest questions for your appointed Agents.

 

We encourage you to review your plans with one of our attorneys and come see how our network of professionals can help you to execute your estate plan.

Who Do I need to Talk to About Starting Probate or Estate Administration?

Your options can be endless, but who you talk to makes all the difference in whether you’re on the right path or not. The below list highlights some of the most common resources.

 

Clerk of Courts

 

Option 1: Call and schedule a time to speak with a Clerk – With this option, you’re able to get direct access to all the forms you’ll need to file within each phase, along with some general information regarding probate or estate administration. Luckily, with our current (2019) elected Clerk of Court, customer service has been a stronger focus – and as it should be. You’ll find that the clerk’s office will provide helpful information on what to file and when to file it by. The catch to all this is whether you know what to ask, whether you’re asking all the right questions, and if you’re asking enough questions. Further, be reminded that without the right information and documentation to present to the clerk, you may be filing the wrong paperwork to open up an estate. Probate is a costly and time-consuming process, so any wrong steps will mean more fees in the long run.

 

Advice from a Friend

 

Option 2: Speak with a friend who has been through this before – We strongly depend on trusted friends and resources when it comes to guidance and referrals. For this reason, we want to believe that our friends will only point us in the right direction. After all, they’ve been through it before, so they should know what they’re doing. However, the things we don’t take into consideration are the many elements to each estate, that determines the course of action for each estate. Much like a puzzle piece, no one estate is going to be like the next. This is why probate or estate administration is a process. We have statutes to guide us and we have an administrative process governed by the Will (if applicable) and the courts to help us navigate probate or estate administration. Without knowledge of what’s applicable to you and if you’re in compliance with state law, or if you’re missing anything vital, you might want to reconsider taking a friend’s advice until you know more about every detail of the circumstances you’re working with. Every bit of detail matter in probate or estate administration, and for this reason, you should speak with someone who knows every facet of every statute and process.

 

Seek Help from an Attorney

 

Option 3: Speak with an Estate Administration/Estate Planning Attorney – In consideration of every estate being a special and unique event of its own, it’s important to know if the attorney you’re consulting with is listening to every facet of your needs and circumstances. Is there someone else in the room to actively listen to your questions and comments, and fully addressing what your course of action should be? At the end of the meeting, you have to ask yourself if you’ve benefited from the consultation at all. Did you leaving feeling the fog has lifted? Did you leave feeling your questions were answered or that you will get a response? Do you feel like you’ve been upsold on a service proposal? Did you benefit from the meeting – having left with more knowledge than you did before you walked in? Do they have a successful process to help you address every moving part of probate or estate administration? Did you feel important? These are the questions you’ll want to ask yourself when you meet with an estate administration/estate planning attorney. There’s no harm in saying no to someone’s offer to assist, as long as you know that when you invest and where you invest matters to the entire process.

 

We may be biased just because we’re a law firm, but it never hurts to invest in a consultation with an estate administration/estate planning attorney to know if you’re on the right course or just to double check if what your friend or the clerk have you on the right track. In fact, it might help you to save or preserve some money in the long run simply to know how to plan your next course of action before executing it.

 

Why wait to be told you’ll need an attorney before actually pursuing one? If that’s the end route, it might as well be where you start.

 

 

Can I Start Paying Creditors as Soon as I Get a Hold of the Decedent’s funds? If not, when?

Follow the Statutes

 

As eager as we are to close out all open matters with a loved one’s estate, there are statutes that all interested parties have to adhere to. This includes timelines and processes that may work against our best interest. But, as the saying goes, there’s a reason why “we can’t have nice things.”

 

Notice to Creditors Required

 

Although it’s understood that your loved one’s probated assets are subject to creditor claims, it should never be assumed that all creditors are known at the start of probate. For this reason, it is required that a Notice to Creditors ad is scheduled to run for four consecutive weeks in the newspaper, to reach out to not just potential and unknown creditors, but potential and unknown debtors, as well. With this ad, three (3) months are given to each (known and unknown) creditor and debtor of the estate to file a claim or come forward with a current invoice to address their claim. Upon the end of the three (3) month window, any creditors who files a claim from thereafter may be barred from further attempts to collect. With this being said, always document when you’ve received the notices or letters from the creditors and keep track of the date of the mail stamp, and hold onto all envelopes which may document the date the letter was actually in transit and how long it took to receive it.

 

Three Month Waiting Period

 

Following the three (3) months, you’ll be able to view the total debts compared to the total liquid assets you have available to pay the creditors. This will allow you to determine if you have sufficient funds to satisfy all creditors of the estate. Please see the following statute to reference the order in which creditors should be paid: NCGS§28A-19-6. Be reminded, that if there is a claim for a yearly allowance on file, that must be satisfied before any creditors of the estate. Currently, NC allots an allowance of $60,000.00 to the surviving spouse of the estate and $5,000.00 to each child born of the decedent. Thus, if the full amount is due to the surviving spouse and the children, it must be documented that this was satisfied.

 

To better understand this process and to know if you’re addressing creditors correctly, we welcome you to schedule a consult with one of our estate administration attorneys to see if you’re in compliance with the letters you’re sending to creditors, and any future correspondences planned with creditors of the estate.

 

 

How Much Does Probate/Estate Administration Generally Cost in Legal Fees?

It’s the question that’s often dreaded, but we would be lying if we said it’s one we hope to never hear. In fact, it’s one we always encourage everyone to ask. The only thing to bear in mind when asking this question is that probate/estate administration is not a cheap process, for the simple fact that it is a process, so the answer will almost always be unpleasant to hear.

 

Attorney Billing Structures

Regardless of how you ask the question, the answers should always be transparent even if it doesn’t align with what you’re seeking. With that being said, you’ll also find that no one attorney will bill the same for their service and that’s because there’s no set rule for how each attorney can bill for their service. Some billing structures are as follows:

 

  • Hourly
  • Percentage of the estate value
  • Fixed fee

 

At NC Planning, we’ve seen legal costs come to $5,000.00 at minimum when billing hourly for legal services.

 

 

Why can’t the vehicle pass to the other owner listed on the title? 07-26-2019

 

There are many assets that can be listed as jointly owned, but to have it transfer upon death of one owner are the magic words, “with rights of survivorship.”  Without these words, an asset is simply just jointly owned, meaning you only own half of the asset. So, upon one of the owner’s passing, their half will not and cannot transfer to the other owner. Thus, the terms “with rights of survivorship” will free you of having to file for the proper forms with the clerk’s office to gain full ownership of the vehicle.

 

 

 

General FAQs

How much will NC Planning’s services cost?

There is no charge to contact our attorney with questions. Whether you do this online, by phone, or coming into the office. After you have chosen the service that fits your situation, there will either be a fixed fee applied or we can quote you if it is an hourly process.

Can NC Planning assist me with legal matters other than Estate Planning or Business Development?

Yes. Although NC Planning focuses on planning matters, we are a service of Lenfestey, Maxie and  Burger. If we can’t help you, our additional attorneys offer a wide arrangement of legal services and would be happy to offer assistance to you.

Does NC Planning offer legal services in states other than North Carolina?

NC Planning does not offer legal services in any state or jurisdiction other than North Carolina.

Do I need to come into the office in order to receive legal services?

No although we do enjoy meeting potential clients in person. NC Planning offers online legal services for convenience and to accommodate your schedule. A potential client can receive legal information, ask questions, and pay for any service they desire online.

What is NC Planning?

NC Planning is a service of Lenfestey, Maxie and  Burger. that focuses on planning for your future. We mainly concentrate on estate planning, business and corporate planning, estate administration, elder law and tax representation. NC Planning also offers legal services in other areas.

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