Estate Administration – Probate: Expect the Unexpected
Expect the unexpected. Cliche, but when we’re talking about the practice of law, the saying rings true. Our team was recently engaged on an Estate Administration matter that had all of the hallmarks of being “straightforward” – limited financial assets, a home, virtually no debt, and one beneficiary. We went through our standard process of discussing the need to double-check for assets and confirm how they were owned, we stressed the benefits of running a notice to creditors if the beneficiary (who was also the executor) thought she might sell the home owned by the decedent in the near future, and we touched base with the client before and after her qualification as the executor to make sure she hadn’t discovered any additional assets. All was well, and we carried on – business as usual.
Fast forward a few months and, having timely completed the proper filings and verifying there were no unknown creditors of the decedent, we prepared to close the estate. Client emails. She’s trying to sell her personal residence to a third-party. Her closing attorney contacted her and explained that, hidden in the public records, there was an outstanding mortgage on her home, and she was unable to close unless it were paid-off at closing or satisfied. The creditor – her mother. When client purchased her home, her mother had been “the bank” and a Deed of Trust had been filed. There was no information about the loan in mother’s files and client was entirely unaware of how much she still owed, if anything. Due to the passage of time, client did not recall signing the Deed of Trust, but had been paying her mother up until her passing. She only recalled a verbal agreement with her mother that she would keep paying until her mother passed away.
This outstanding Deed of Trust is an asset of the decedent’s estate. Client, now with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars hanging in limbo, is understandably upset. Her simple question: how can I sell this house without having this closing fall apart?
Fortunately, the estate was still open, and we were able to amend our filings to show the outstanding Deed of Trust. Working with the closing attorney, we were able to determine that client had paid her mother in excess of the original principal value and, though we had no indication of an interest rate, we determined that (at reasonable interest) client had likely paid the loan in full. We completed the necessary filings to document our findings and were able to complete the closing contingencies for our client to sell her home.
Expect the unexpected; calmly address it; and work to resolve it.
Business Planning Story- Several Location Dental Practice
The NC Planning team has continually served as effective and efficient outside general counsel to my dental offices. The firm’s team approach brings an unmatched degree of professionalism, attention to detail and advice that aids me as a business owner in planning toward the successful completion of my company objectives.
Acquisitions are a breeze with the NC Planning team by my side. Their comprehensive team approach is tailor fit to my business’s needs throughout the entirety of our relationship–and beyond. Once the transaction has closed, the NC Planning team doesn’t stop there, they continue to be available to answer my questions and offer advice–truly taking the relationship to the next level.
Helping a Deceased Firefighter’s Family
Nervous Planner Relieved
I first met Lauren Maxie when I was with my daughter and granddaughter at an evening lecture hosted by my financial advisor. After we discussed the financial side of estate planning, he introduced Mrs. Lauren Maxie to talk to us about the legal side of estate planning and her law firm, NC Planning.
Lauren was as full of energy at 8:00pm as most people are after their first cup of coffee at 8:00am. I could tell right away that Lauren loved her job. She shared with us that NC Planning partners with financial advisors to provide a seamless process for me to create a financial plan and then share my plan with her. Lauren and her team at NC Planning customized a unique estate plan that meet my needs.
I feel confident working with Lauren to ensure that after I am no longer here my family can continue to feel my love and support. I may not be there to see my great grandchildren accomplish their dreams, but at least I can continue to contribute to their success long after I am gone.
I was named as executor on my mother’s estate and I was the only surviving family member to do the job. I was up to my eyeballs in paperwork and had no idea what to do and then I was ordered to file an annual account by the court to be due in 15 days! I panicked. I was overdue by 2 years and had just put this off until I had no choice but to address it. I had been to the courthouse many times only to leave me frustrated and confused as to what they needed from me. I was turned away over and over again because I did not have what they needed from me. At my wits-end I scheduled an emergency meeting with NC Planning.
Upon sitting down and going over everything with them, they knew exactly where I was with everything and were able to advise on what to provide to satisfy the clerk. I filed the annual accounting on time without any further issues and NC Planning helped me to the remainder of the estate. I was in the middle of an ugly 3 year divorce battle and preparing my 17 year old daughter for college and I was so grateful to be able to let NC Planning guide me through this process so I could focus on what was most important to me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.