October 21, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
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Start Estate Planning, Today!

Are you considering starting your estate plan? If so congratulations. Estate planning in Raleigh NC is an important part of life but some people choose to ignore. However, at some point we will all pass on and our belongings will need to be distributed to our loved ones. If you are ready to start a state planning, consider the following tips.

Beginner Tips for Estate Planning in Raleigh!

Working With a lawyer. An estate lawyer in Raleigh can help you ensure your will and other documents included in an estate plan is valid. Working alone might result in your estate plan going through probate at some point. Contact her estate lawyers today to learn more.

Power of attorney. You will need to appoint a power of attorney to ensure on your finances are taken care of at some point should you pass untimely or in the event that you become incapacitated.

Health Care. It’s important to include health care wishes in your estate plan. It’s impossible to predict what might happen in the future. You might find that at some point in your life, you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, or you might become incapacitated. Stating your wishes for health care in your estate plan will help loved ones know what to do, should that situation happen.

Leaving a trust. This is something that you may want to talk with and state lawyer about come as well. Contact us today to make your appointment.

Beneficiaries. It’s important to name a beneficiary for all financials. This helps the accounts become automatically payable upon death, to the correct person.
We hope this information helps you understand why it’s important to create an estate plan. Doing so on your own might be stressful and overwhelming. Consider working with her estate lawyers in Raleigh NC, today.

Klish and Eldreth | Estate Planning in Raleigh NC

Remember, estate planning in Raleigh 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. Doing so can result in a court case that will leave your loved ones stuck in probate court. This could be not only time consuming but expensive as well.

Regardless of whether you’re married, single, wealthy, childless or a parent, it’s important for all adults to have an estate plan and the proper documents in place at the beginning of each year. If you’re ready to begin planning your estate contact our estate lawyer, today.

 

October 18, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on Elective Share, Continued

Elective Share, Continued

Welcome back. We are here with more information about elective share and the revised statutes that should be followed. If you have questions, contact our estate lawyers in Cary NC.

Elective Share | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

The revised statutes are based solely on the length of marriage and are as follows:

  • A surviving spouse is entitled to 15 percent of total net assets if married less than 5 years.
  • If married at least five years but less than 10 years, the surviving spouse is entitled to 25 percent.
  • If married at least 10 years but less than 15 years, the surviving spouse will get 33 percent.
  • For couples who were married at least 15 years, the surviving spouse is entitled to half of the deceased’s assets.

The “total net assets” are defined as any property the deceased held at the time of his or her death, jointly or individually, plus benefits under life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

Even though the new revisions protect spouses even if it wasn’t their first marriage, they prevent some married couples from getting larger amounts distributed to their surviving spouses. A newly married couple will only see 15 percent of the assets going to the survivor, even if they have been together for longer but not married.

Eight other states, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia, have adopted a similar sliding percentage scale for their elective share statutes.

There are requirements that must be met in order for a surviving spouse to claim the elective share. It also must be done within a certain time period.

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

If you have not updated your will since 2013, when the laws were changed in North Carolina, it may be time to review your estate plan with our estate lawyers in Cary NC to ensure that it still meets your needs under the new elective share rules. Contact us, today to make an appointment

October 17, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
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What Is Elective Share?

When a married person dies, his or her surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of the estate under state law. The portion is called the elective share. It is also known as the statutory share. So, a surviving spouse can claim a portion of the deceased’s estate, even if the will outlines something different. The share is determined by the state’s statutes. Below, our estate lawyers in Cary NC share more information about this matter.

Elective Share | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

The purpose of the law is to keep a surviving spouse from being left with nothing, especially if he or she is unable to support him or herself. It aims to make sure the surviving spouse is treated fairly. Each state has its own laws pertaining to how much a spouse is entitled to receive, and whether the length of marriage or number of children determines the amount.

If someone leaves less to their spouse than is outlined under the elective share law, the surviving spouse can contest it so that he or she can receive the amount determined by the state.

In North Carolina, the amount of elective share is determined by the length of marriage only. It was revised in 2013. Previous statues were seen an unfair to the deceased’s children. It also reduced the amount if the surviving spouse was the second spouse. In some cases, the amount the surviving spouse received could be as little as one-sixth. Now the smallest amount a surviving spouse can receive is 15 percent.

 

Even though the new revisions protect spouses even if it wasn’t their first marriage, they prevent some married couples from getting larger amounts distributed to their surviving spouses. A newly married couple will only see 15 percent of the assets going to the survivor, even if they have been together for longer but not married.

Eight other states, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia, have adopted a similar sliding percentage scale for their elective share statutes.

There are requirements that must be met in order for a surviving spouse to claim the elective share. It also must be done within a certain time period. To learn more, visit back with our continuing blog post. 

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

If you have not updated your will since 2013, when the laws were changed in North Carolina, it may be time to review your estate plan with our estate lawyers in Cary NC to ensure that it still meets your needs under the new elective share rules. Contact us, today to make an appointment

October 15, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
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Understanding Inheritance Rights

Inheritance rights are laws governing what your surviving family members inherit. In some cases, depending on state laws, a family member can claim an inheritance regardless of what is written in your will. Below, our estate lawyer in Raleigh takes a look at inheritance rights to get more clarification and see how you can avoid disputes among family members after your death.

Understanding Inheritance Rights | Estate Lawyer in Raleigh

If there is not a will or the will is not valid, inheritance laws can come into play when distributing the deceased’s assets. It is also determined by intestate succession laws, which outline the order in which family members are in line to inherit assets. 

The one most common in the right to claim is the surviving spouse. In community property states, he or she is entitled to half of everything that was acquired during the marriage. These states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. North Carolina is not a community property state, therefore a surviving spouse has the right to claim about one-third of the deceased’s property. If the will leaves the spouse less than that amount, he or she can contest it unless he or she has agreed in writing to take less than the statutory amount.

Most couples plan their estates together and decide the amounts together. In cases where two people are still legally married but not together, the surviving spouse can use this law to his or her advantage in order to get an inheritance even if the deceased did not want that to be the case.

From a legal standpoint, children and grandchildren do not have a right to inheritance. Most people with children do provide for them in their estate plan, and if there is no will, the state’s intestate succession laws apply to them. If children were left out of a will, most states will allow them to contest it. For instance, if a child was born after the will was written and it was not updated, then it is likely the child should be included. It may also apply if a child dies but leaves behind their own children that have been left out of the will. Working with an estate lawyer in Raleigh can help with this situation. 

If there was a reason for leaving a child or grandchild out of a will, it is important to document it clearly so that if he or she contests it, it will be clear to the courts that it was done on purpose.

It is possible to dispute what is written in a will, but courts are reluctant to change the wishes of the deceased if the will was well-drafted and had clear instructions. If someone dies without a will, the laws of the state will determine who gets an inheritance. The laws vary from state to state.

If you have questions about inheritance rights in North Carolina, contact an estate lawyer in Raleigh who knows about local inheritance laws. Having a well-drafted will can ensure that your instructions are carried out and your family members are taken care of in the manner that you wish.

October 13, 2016
by Raleigh Lawyer
Comments Off on How to Avoid Undue Influence Claims 

How to Avoid Undue Influence Claims 

When one person takes advantage of another he or she is placing undue influence on that person in order to gain something. In legal situations, it is often to influence the person’s decisions regarding personal and financial matters. Our lawyer in Raleigh NC has more information about this.

Undue Influence Claim Avoidance | Lawyer Raleigh NC

For example, Mary does not have many family members left to take care of her. She depends on her niece. Sue, her brother’s daughter, has always taken the time to visit her. Now that Mary is older, she has some health problems that make it hard for her to live alone. She asked Sue if she would be willing to live in her home for a while, but Sue was not interested. Sue suggested she think about moving into an assisted living facility. Mary does not feel she needs to make that step just yet, but she does respect Sue’s opinion. Mary does not have anyone else to turn to for advice, so she lets Sue’s excessive insistence change her mind. She moves into the home several months later.

Sue could be seen as having exerted undue influence over Mary.  She knew that Mary did not have anyone else to turn to for advice, and knew that Mary would eventually give in. Sue would probably disagree and say that she was doing what was best for Mary. It is a gray area when it comes to helping people in weaker positions, such as the elderly, sick or mentally disabled, make choices.

If you are in a situation like Sue and someone is claiming that you have exerted undue influence over someone, there are ways you can protect yourself. Let’s take a look at a few of them. 

  1. Put it in writing. When you are offering to work for someone elderly or in poor health for pay, such as helping to take care of them or cleaning their home, have a simple contract drawn up explaining the arrangement. This will protect you from someone alleging that you are simply taking money from that person.
  2. Be open. Transparency is important in businesses, but it is also important in relationships, especially when you are dealing with someone who is in what could be deemed a weaker position. If you are handling financial matters or personal decisions for someone, make sure that you are open to others in that person’s life. If you do not share details it could give the impression that you are doing things that they may not approve of.
  3. Keep track of expenses. When it comes to finances, make sure you keep all receipts. Make purchases with checks or credit cards rather than cash so you have records of everything. Do not mix your own money with the other person’s finances. Contact our lawyer in Raleigh NC with help on this. 
  4. Make sure they have an estate plan. If the person you are caring for has an estate plan, make sure it is up-to-date. You can help him or her reach out to a lawyer for help. If he or she does not have one, but is still able to make sound decisions, reach out to a lawyer in Raleigh NC to help create one. Step back from the process so that you will not been seen as placing undue influence on the details.

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC  | Lawyer in Raleigh NC

While it may be too late for Sue, you can protect yourself against claims like this if you take the proper steps. If you want legal advice on how to handle claims of undue influence, call us, today. Our lawyer in Raleigh NC can help.