Raleigh Comprehensive Estate Planning Lawyer Helping Families Prepare For the Future
Just because you’ve made some estate planning decisions regarding your future does not mean that all of your bases are covered. Estate planning is complex, so many people create incomplete plans that omit crucial details. Having experienced Raleigh estate planning attorneys to help you through the planning process makes estate planning less intimidating and less stressful.
Turn to an estate planning lawyer at NC Planning to ensure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place that protects your assets and prepares your family for the future. Our attorneys take a comprehensive and customized approach to estate planning, which means we ensure you are completely protected. As your life continues to evolve and change, so should your comprehensive estate plan strategy to meet your and your loved one’s needs.
What Do Estate Planning Attorneys Do?
Estate planning attorneys are experienced law professionals that have a thorough understanding of the federal and state laws that affect your estate. Following a death, an estate is inventoried, valued, taxed, and dispersed, all according to those laws. An estate planning attorney from NC Planning can answer all your questions, then guide you through the process. The NC Planning team goes above and beyond to help you reach your goals. Our advisors, designers and planners work with clients and their families as a proactive relationship to ensure the right decisions are made, the right plan is implemented and the plan is updated along with life’s changes. Whether you want to create a will, designate beneficiaries, establish trusts or powers of attorney, avoid the court process, or find ways to reduce taxes, our estate planning attorneys can help you protect your family and your legacy.
What Are the Benefits of Having an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney?
When you work with knowledgeable Raleigh estate planning attorneys from NC Planning, you receive the following benefits:
- You are able to work with an experienced attorney who has a deep understanding of current North Carolina estate planning laws. Your attorney will help you plan while ensuring your choices are legally enforceable.
- A highly individualized estate plan will be based on your unique situation and specific needs.
- Your questions and concerns are addressed by an attorney with a high degree of knowledge and experience regarding North Carolina estate planning. When your estate plan requires changes or updates, your NC Planning attorney will ensure those take place in a timely manner.
- If you have power of attorney over a recently deceased person’s estate, have been named executor, or are a successor trustee, an estate planning attorney can help you through probate, trust administration, or the issues you are facing as power of attorney.
What Are the Risks of Not Having an Estate Planning Attorney?
When you either have no estate plan or have an estate plan that you have prepared yourself (perhaps with a DIY “kit” from the Internet), you and your loved ones could face many challenges. If you have no estate plan at all, following your death a North Carolina court will appoint an executor to your estate, and a guardian for your children, then will distribute your estate as per NC statute—regardless of how you would have wanted your assets distributed or your children taken care of. When you prepare your own estate plan without the benefit of an estate planning attorney’s knowledge and experience, you risk the following:
- You’ve named only one beneficiary for your assets without naming a contingent beneficiary who would be next in line in the event your named beneficiary passes away before you do.
- Power of Attorneys or healthcare representatives are forgotten about, therefore, in the event you become incapacitated your family will be forced to go to court to petition for conservatorship so decisions can be made on your behalf.
- You’ve made no provisions for final arrangements in terms of funeral or burial arrangements.
- Digital assets (online banking, social media, etc.) have been left out of your estate plan.
- There has been no allocation for charities that you consider important.
- You’ve neglected to name a guardian for your children or failed to include directions on how guardians should spend assets to take care of your children or benefit them in other ways
- Your estate plan is too specific—assets you own at the time you prepare your estate plan are no longer owned at the time of your death.
- A trust you set up is improperly funded—titling assets, obtaining taxpayer identification numbers, and handling personal property and assets that do not have titles can make funding a trust extremely difficult.
- You’ve failed to plan for tax liabilities.
- Your heirs are unable to locate your estate plan.
- You’ve failed to update your estate plan, so when you die the provisions are out of date.
What Is A Comprehensive Estate Plan?
Everyone’s financial situation is different, which is why no two estate plans are alike. Because of this, it’s important to work with an attorney who will work tirelessly to learn more about your situation and ensure you have not omitted any crucial details in your estate plan.
An estate plan may consist of:
- A last will and testament
- A living will
- Guardianship for minors
- Powers of attorney for healthcare or financial matters
- A revocable trust
These are the basics of estate planning. But an estate plan is comprehensive when it also addresses other important issues, including:
- Estate and gift taxes
- Credit shelter trusts
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Charitable planning
- Elder law
- Protection for beneficiaries
- Reducing taxes
- Avoiding probate
- Business succession planning
- Asset protection planning
The overall goal is to piece together a plan that provides complete protection. If you are ready to create a comprehensive estate plan, contact the attorneys at NC Planning as soon as possible. Tell us about your situation so we can create a comprehensive estate plan to fit your family’s needs.
Parts of an Effective North Carolina Estate Plan
To provide further details on the necessary parts of an effective estate plan, consider the following:
- Will—A will is a legal document that clearly expresses your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets as well as the care of your minor children following your death.
- Living Will—A revocable will is a document that outlines your desires regarding medical treatments in the event you become incapacitated.
- Guardianship—A guardianship, also known as a conservatorship, is a legal process under which a person petitions the court to make decisions for a person who can no longer make those decisions on their own behalf. Guardianships should only be considered after other alternatives have been exhausted because they remove considerable rights from an individual.
- Power of Attorney—A power of attorney is a written authorization that allows one person to represent or act on another’s behalf, whether in making medical decisions, financial affairs, or private affairs.
- Revocable Trust—A revocable trust is an estate planning tool that bypasses probate, benefitting the person making the trust during their lifetime as well as beneficiaries of the trust maker after his or her death.
Common Additions to Comprehensive Estate Planning
- Credit Shelter Trusts are tools used by married individuals to maximize their estate tax exemptions. The strategy involves creating two separate trusts following the passing of one spouse.
- Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts are established as a means of providing legal protection for the trustor or grantor’s assets, making sure those assets are distributed according to the grantor’s wishes following death. A trust avoids probate, saving time, and often reducing estate and inheritance taxes. There are many different types of trusts that can be used for specific situations.
- Family LLPs allow family members to profit according to their proportion of general partnership and limited partnership shares.
- Charitable Planning allows you to leave money to the charities you care about after your death, as well as to plan for charitable giving while you are alive.
- LTC Planning considers the need for a nursing home or other long-term care in the future, ensuring that assets are not considered “countable” so you will qualify for Medicaid assistance.
- Final Expense planning ensures your funeral and burial expenses are paid for so your family members will have one less thing to worry about.
- Retirement Account Planning can be crucial to your future; the SECURE Act, passed in 2019, has a number of provisions that benefit retirement savers as well as employers.
What is Estate & Gift Tax Planning?
Your loved ones may need to pay taxes on the assets they are awarded from your estate. Fortunately, an effective estate plan can help your loved ones minimize or avoid estate and gift taxes. Our estate planning attorneys can help you ensure that your loved ones aren’t left with massive tax bills after your death.
Credit Shelter & Other Complex Revocable Trusts
Establishing a credit shelter trust allows certain individuals to minimize or completely avoid estate taxes imposed on assets passed on to heirs. Many people don’t consider credit shelter trusts because they assume that they are only for high-net-worth individuals. It’s true that high-net-worth individuals often take advantage of these trusts, but that does not mean that others can’t benefit from a credit shelter trust as well. You should explore all of your options, including credit shelter trusts, with the help of an estate planning attorney at NC Planning.
What Are Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts?
If you want to put your life insurance policy in a trust, you may want to consider establishing an irrevocable life insurance trust. An irrevocable life insurance trust cannot be amended or modified once it has been established. For this reason, many people hesitate to create this type of trust, but it’s something you should consider when creating a comprehensive estate plan.
What is Business Succession Planning?
Building a business from the ground up is no easy task—it takes time, resources, and tons of hard work. Most business owners have long-term goals, fantasizing about the day that they’ll be able to pass down the family business to their loved ones or sell the business for a profit. Our estate planning team is ready to help you secure that vision with comprehensive planning that addresses what will happen to your business once you are ready to move on.
How NC Planning Will Help You Plan for the Road Ahead
NC Planning makes it easy for you to organize a thorough and detailed plan for the future. It’s important for us to understand your current situation, your goals, and future plans so that we can build a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs. Plus, our legal planning leaves room for future adjustments as your estate prospers. At NC Planning, we offer a holistic view of estate planning that ensures its effectiveness. The best way to determine your next steps is to give us a call at (919) 568-3681 to schedule a consultation regarding your estate plan. You can also schedule a consultation by submitting your information using the form on this website. Contact NC Planning today to speak to a knowledgeable, experienced estate planning attorney who will help you plan for the road ahead.