Orsbon & Fenninger, LLP

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

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November 2016 Archives

Blind trusts may not be feasible for President-elect

Most North Carolina residents can maintain investment portfolios without encountering any concerns over conflicts of interest. However, when a person is elected to public office, conflicts of interest are a major concern. To avoid them, many presidents and presidential candidates have tried to keep uncomplicated investment portfolios while using blind trusts to hold assets that could potentially create a conflict of interest.

Bypassing probate in North Carolina

When an estate goes through the probate process, it is an attempt to determine that a testator's will is valid. It may also attempt to locate any beneficiaries or other interested parties if the decedent died without a will. An executor is named by the court who will oversee the distribution of assets either in accordance with the will or with the state's intestacy law.

Using trusts as an incentive

When North Carolina parents or grandparents begin planning their estates, one concern may be that one or more of their heirs will not make the best use of their inheritance. In fact, some may worry that providing someone with a history of personal irresponsibility with a great deal of money will only create more problems for that person. In such situations, trusts are often a useful tool in encouraging responsible behavior.

The important benefits of establishing a trust

While facing your own mortality can be a difficult thing to do, it can also be vital to safeguarding your assets and ensuring that your family is financially protected after you pass on. Setting up a trust can help you build a legacy for your family and control your assets no matter what the future holds. While a trust is particularly important for those with substantial assets, all individuals can enjoy the important benefits that come from establishing an official trust.

Estate tax exemption for 2017

North Carolina does not have an estate tax, and the Internal Revenue Service has raised the estate and gift tax limit for 2017 to $5.49 million for individuals. The gift tax exclusion is still at $14,000 just as it has been since 2014. For couples, the total exemption is $10.98 million. In all, this is a total increase of about $80,000 for a couple. This could be used to fund a trust among other wealth-building strategies.