Do I need to have a Will Prepared by a Lawyer?
I’ve been involved in many situations after a person’ death where the individual did not have a Will prepared by a lawyer. I’ve seen situations where there was no will, where individuals handwrote wills themselves, where individuals had others to handwrite what they believed to be their wills, and many more unusual situations. In all cases where a lawyer did not prepare the will, it causes problems, in some cases devastating problems.
To the layman, writing a will seems simple in process of thought, but it is much more complex. Many scenarios can evolve, and careful planning is highly suggested. It is just not logical for you to work your entire life, and then not spend a reasonable sum to prepare where your assets go after your death. Hiring a lawyer not only can firmly and professionally establish your wishes in a will, but it will also give you a significant peace of mind knowing you have prepared for the future.
None of us know what the future holds, but if you are ready to prepare for yours, consider contacting us to discuss the options that will be best for you. We can be reached at 336.633.4529.
No one likes to be stopped by the sound of sirens with the blue lights pulling in behind you on the highway. At some point, there is great likelihood that you may find yourself in this situation. This short article will attempt to explain what you should do after receiving a ticket for speeding or other traffic offense.
- Most traffic offenses are categorized as ‘moving offenses.’ Pleading guilty to a moving offense in North Carolina will result in points on your driver’s license and/or insurance points, which can ultimately significantly negatively affect the cost of your automobile insurance.
- Some traffic citations you receive will give you the option to avoid the Court process by paying the citation. However, simply paying the citation will result in a technical plea of guilty to the moving violation, wherein you will be surprised with an insurance hike. Thus, the best option in most cases is not to simply pay the ticket in advance.
- A good option is to hire an attorney to handle the traffic citation for you. If you do, you will likely avoid having to go to Court, and through the attorney’s experience, s/he can based upon many factors attempt to get your citation reduced from a ‘moving’ violation to a ‘non-moving’ violation.
- Offenses to which you plea guilty to a non-moving violation do not result in insurance points assigned to your automobile insurance, thus no increase in your insurance will occur.
If you find yourself with the blue lights behind you on the highway, remember the pointers above. If you need the assistance of an attorney, we would be glad to help you through the process and will work hard on your behalf to seek the best possible outcome in your matter.
No one likes to think about one’s own death. However, planning ahead can help your family avoid unnecessary complications, delay, and expense. This may be done through wills, trusts, joint ownership, and life insurance. In addition, modern estate planning also includes “life” planning through powers of attorney and health care proxies. These enable someone else to act for you in the event of your incapacity. Understanding the following terms is the first step toward planning your estate. However, no estate planning steps should be taken without consulting with a qualified professional. Please contact us at 336.633.4529 to schedule your time to speak with Shaun L. Hayes Attorney. You can find our website by clicking on this link: Your Estate Lawyer
This is the name for the process in the Probate Court through which the ownership of your assets passes to your heirs. It includes the collection of your assets, the payment of your bills, and the distribution of your estate. It only covers what you own outright, not joint property, trust property, or life insurance proceeds.
Your will is a legally binding statement of who will receive your property at your death. It also appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. However, the will only covers probate property, not joint property, trust property, or life insurance proceeds.
- Estate Tax
The estate tax applies to both the probate and the nonprobate property of the decedent. With proper planning, you may be able to avoid and/or eliminate these taxes if your estate falls beyond the limits.
- Marital Deduction
On the federal level, anything passing to the surviving spouse of a decedent is not included in the taxable estate and, consequently, is not subject to taxation. All of the couple’s assets are then taxed upon the death of the surviving spouse, unless an estate tax plan has been executed.
A trust is a legal entity under which one person—the “trustee” —holds legal title to property for the benefit of others—the “beneficiaries.” The trustee must follow the rules provided in the trust instrument. An irrevocable trust is one that cannot be changed after it has been created. A revocable trust is one that may be changed or rescinded by the person who created it. Trusts are often used for tax planning, to provide for someone with expertise to manage assets, or to shelter assets to protect them from creditors or for long-term care planning.
- Durable Power of Attorney
Under a power of attorney, you may appoint someone else to act for you when you are unable to do so yourself. The reason may be your mental incapacity or your inability to be somewhere when needed. The person you appoint—your “attorney-in-fact” —must always act in your best interest and try to make choices you would make if you were able to do so.
- Health Care Proxy
Similar to a power of attorney, through a health care proxy you may appoint someone else to act as your agent—but for medical, as opposed to financial, decisions. Unlike a power of attorney, the health care proxy does not take effect until your doctor determines that you are incapable of making decisions yourself. Before that decision, your agent may make no decisions on your behalf. You may include in your proxy a guideline for your agent to use in making decisions. These may include directions to refuse or remove life support in the event you are in a coma or a vegetative state. On the other hand, your instructions may be to use all efforts to keep you alive, no matter the circumstances.
- Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA)
If your spouse has to move to a nursing home, you will have to pay for his or her care out of pocket until he or she qualifies for Medicaid. Under the Medicaid program the nursing home spouse may only have $2,000 in “countable” assets. (Noncountable assets include your home, household belongings, one car, and prepaid funeral plans.) The amount the healthy spouse is permitted to keep under the Medicaid program is known as the “community spouse resource allowance” or “CSRA.” The CSRA is all of the couple’s combined assets up to a cap of $101,640 (in 2007). In some cases, the community spouse is entitled to retain assets above the $101,640 limit when her income is less than the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance, which is described below.
- Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA)
The Medicaid rules also govern the amount of income the community spouse is entitled to once the nursing home spouse qualifies for Medicaid. Normally, the community spouse keeps his or her income and the nursing home spouse pays his or her income to the nursing home, keeping only a $60-a-month “personal needs allowance.” However, if the healthy spouse’s income is low, he or she may be entitled to a share of the nursing home spouse’s income. In each case where a married nursing home resident qualifies for Medicaid, the Division of Medical Assistance calculates a “minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance” or “MMMNA” for the community spouse based on his or her housing costs. If the community spouse’s own income is below his or her MMMNA, he or she will be entitled to a share of the nursing home spouse’s income to make up the difference.