October 3, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on Avoiding Family Disputes over Estate Planning, Part One

Avoiding Family Disputes over Estate Planning, Part One

When someone in a family dies, the last thing anyone wants is a dispute over inheritance. You may not think that your children and other relatives, who care about and respect each other now, would resort to fighting over the details of your estate plan, but it happens. You may be able to prevent it from happening with a few tips from us on how to do you estate planning in Cary NC to avoid those ugly family fights.

Avoiding Disputes With Estate Planning in Cary NC

In this two-part series, we will look at a few steps you can take now to avoid having your loved ones fight over your choices in how your estate is settled.

The first thing that can minimize tension and prevent fights is having a will. If you do not have a will, your estate will have to be settled by the courts, and it may not end up the way you or your family members wanted. State laws determine intestacy, or how things will be distributed. It can vary depending on where you live, your marital status and if you have children. If you want a say on how your assets are handled after you die, then you need to create a valid will. Estate planning in Cary NC

should always incorporate a will. 

The probate process, which is when your will is validated and processed, can be a lengthy ordeal. Family disputes can arise when people are impatient. Most well written wills will pass through the process smoothly, but there are other ways to distribute assets that can avoid probate. You can talk to a lawyer about creating joint ownership of property, creating beneficiaries and trusts, and giving away assets while you are alive in order to avoid probate.

If you have an estate plan and have not shared the details with your loved ones, it can cause disputes after you are gone, especially if you have made decisions that may surprise your family. When your family knows nothing of your plans and just assumes that things will be divided among them evenly, they will be shocked to learn that you decided to go a different route. Some children may think that you will give more to the ones who have less, and may be surprised to find out that you did divided things up evenly. Either way, you may want to explain your choices beforehand so there will be no surprises later on. It is your prerogative to decide how you want your assets to be distributed and if you want to disclose it now, but if you want to avoid those fights after you are gone, it may be best to make your choices known and give your reasons behind them.

If you do decide to explain your choices to your family, remember that they do not have to agree with you. In some cases they may not, but at least they will be able to ask why you made certain choices. We would like to believe that people would not become upset over material things, but it does happen. We attach sentimental value to things, so when your daughter is upset because she is not getting your wedding ring, it is not because of the monetary value; it’s the feelings she has associated with it.

In the next part of this series we will talk more about how to avoid family disputes with estate planning in Cary NC. Check back to read more!

Klish and Eldreth | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

Contact us today, to learn more about estate planning in Cary NC. Our estate lawyers will be able to help you create a valid will and other documents that ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death.

September 25, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Four

What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Four

When someone puts pressure on another person in a situation with legal significance, it is called undue influence. It is often used in the context of estate planning in Raleigh NC, or more specifically, writing a will. When someone writes a will and has been pressured by another person, such as a family member or caregiver, to write it in such a way that he or she benefits, it is considered undue influence.

How to Prove Undue Influence | Estate Planning in Raleigh NC

Welcome back. We are here today to discuss final information on undue influence. If you missed previous blogs, visit back with them before moving on.

Factors that can prove it

If you approach the courts about your concerns over undue influence and the validity of your loved one’s will, there are factors they will look into to determine if it is valid. The courts will look at the activities of the beneficiary and the relationship between that person and the deceased. Here are a few questions that may be asked to determine if undue influence was used.

  • Was the beneficiary present when the will was executed?
  • Did the beneficiary know the contents of the will before it was officially disclosed?
  • Was the attorney who drafted the will recommended by the beneficiary?
  • Were the witnesses brought in by the beneficiary?

If someone steps in because Aunt Sue was taken advantage of, he or she will need to show that the niece did use undue influence in order to benefit from her estate. If the niece did any of the things listed above, it is likely she will be seen as liable.

If a will is challenged for its validity because someone believes undue influence was exerted over the testator, the court will deem all or part of it invalid. The assets will go to intestate succession, which is how the assets are divided when there is no will. Unfortunately for the deceased, his or her original wishes may not be carried out if they differ from state laws regarding intestate succession.

If you missed our previous blog, be sure visit back with it, for more information.

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC

Estate planning in Raleigh NC is important. It’s a way to ensure your loved ones are cared for after you’ve passed. It’s also a way to distribute your belongings to specific loved ones as well. It’s important that one not pass without this document. Contact us to start planning, today.

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September 25, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Three

What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Three

Undue influence occurs when someone coerces or places pressure on another person to change his or her estate plan so that he or she benefits. In the first post in this two-part series, we talked about how it can happen and factors needed to prove it occurred while estate planning in Cary NC.

Undue Influence and Estate Planning in Cary NC

We talked about Aunt Sue, who was taken care of by her niece in her old age. Her niece moved in with her and then talked her into changing her will so that she benefited from it over her other cousins. Originally Aunt Sue wanted to leave money evenly to all of her nieces and nephews because she never had children of her own.

Whether Aunt Sue suffers from the early signs of dementia, or just from being a nice lady, she could easily be pressured by her niece into making changes to her will that she did not want. In many cases, the elderly are easily susceptible to being talked into doing things they do not want to do in order to please their loved ones, or simply because they may not have the mental clarity to know any better.

Signs of undue influence

If you suspect a loved one is being pressured to make changes to his or her estate plan by someone exerting undue influence, here are some questions to ask your loved one if he or she is cognizant of the situation.

  • Is anyone making special requests regarding your financial plans that has never had input before?
  • Has anyone asked you to change something without consulting another family member, or asked you to keep it a secret?
  • Has anyone urged you to not talk about estate planning in Cary NC with anyone other than your lawyer?
  • Has anyone insisted on meeting with you and your lawyer about your estate plan?

In the case of Aunt Sue, her niece probably attempted to keep everyone else in the family out of her legal affairs by saying that she had a lawyer who was taking care of things. She also probably urged Aunt Sue not to talk to others about her plans for the estate and her finances.

To learn more, visit back with our next blog post. If you missed our previous blog, be sure visit back with it, for more information.

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC

Estate planning in Cary NC is important. It’s a way to ensure your loved ones are cared for after you’ve passed. It’s also a way to distribute your belongings to specific loved ones as well. It’s important that one not pass without this document. Contact us to start planning, today.

Visit other blogs in this series, below:

September 23, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Two

What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part Two

Welcome back. We are here today to talk more about estate planning in Cary NC and how undue influence can be proven.

Proving Undue Influence | Estate Planning in Cary NC

If someone contests a will, he or she must prove that it was written under someone else’s undue influence and that the testator did not knowingly outline their wishes as they currently stand. In order to do so, he or she must show the following:

  • The assets were left in a way that makes no sense or leaves out key people who were likely to be included. For Aunt Sue, this could mean that she left everything to her niece even though she had other nieces and nephews who were present in her life.
  • The testator relied on the person who is thought to have exerted undue influence. This can be a family member, a close friend or a caregiver. In Aunt Sue’s case, it was a niece who cared for her because she had no children or her own. The niece may have even moved into Sue’s home in order to take care of her, but also talked her into leaving the home to her even though Sue may have wanted to have it sold and the funds donated among her other nieces and nephews.
  • The testator was more susceptible to influence than most. Aunt Sue may have started showing signs of old age and could have spells where she is not completely aware of her surroundings. This can play a big part in proving that she did succumb to influence from someone trying to take advantage of her.

Be sure to visit back soon for more information about undue influence in estate planning in Cary NC. If you have questions, contact our office.

Klish and Eldreth | Estate Planning in Cary NC

Remember, if you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our estate lawyer is here to help you get your estate planning in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our office.

As always, feel free to contact us at our office to schedule a consultation with if you are looking for a lawyer to represent you in other legal matters. We are here to assist you with small business needs, trademarking, copyrighting and  DWI issues.

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September 23, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part One

What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part One

When someone puts pressure on another person in a situation with legal significance, it is called undue influence. It is often used in the context of estate planning, or more specifically, writing a will. When someone writes a will and has been pressured by another person, such as a family member or caregiver, to write it in such a way that he or she benefits, it is considered undue influence.

Undue Influence | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

In this two-part series, our estate lawyers in Cary NC are going to look at undue influence when it comes to estate planning.

An example of undue influence

For instance, if Aunt Sue has a niece who has taken care of her in her old age, she may want to write her into her will so that she can leave something to that niece. But if the niece talks Sue into giving her more than she had originally intended, or if she includes provisions that weren’t included previously, it can be considered undue influence.

Aunt Sue may be starting to show signs of dementia and may not always be fully aware of what is going on, and that niece could take advantage of it to her benefit. Or, on the other hand, Aunt Sue may be perfectly fine mentally, but may feel as if she owes her niece something. Her niece could guilt her into leaving more than she originally wanted.

Both situations are considered undue influence and they can undermine the validity of a will if it is contested by someone who suspects it has occurred. When it is challenged, the courts must decide if the person who wrote the will, or the testator, wanted the will written in that way.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, visit back with our next blog post. We will talk about how it can be proven.

Come back for the second part in this series about undue influence in estate planning where our estate lawyers in Cary NC will discuss signs to look for and what to do if it is proven. Contact our office to set up an appointment to speak with our lawyers, should you need help with this matter. 

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