Orsbon & Fenninger, LLP

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

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December 2016 Archives

How people might avoid the probate process

Many North Carolina want to avoid having their estates go through the probate process, but they may not be sure how they can do so. For real estate and other types of property, including cars, people may avoid probate by jointly owning the assets. When a person dies and has a home that he or she shares ownership with another person, the property will pass directly to that other person without going through probate court if it is held as a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship or as a joint tenancy by the entirety.

Will the estate tax be repealed?

North Carolina voters likely know that a debate has been brewing regarding the enforcement of estate and gift taxes. Donald Trump inquired about the possibility of repealing the federal estate tax. It is suggested that if this tax is repealed, it may be altered in a couple of ways based on the new president's decisions. However, implications are made suggesting that instead of the tax being a general tax it would be a capital gains tax. This tax is termed "deemed sale at death", although it's not certain what the tax will be targeted towards.

How special needs trusts help North Carolina residents

A special needs trust may be an effective tool for parents who are concerned about their child's welfare after they are gone. Putting assets into such a trust may ensure that the child is eligible for Medicaid while still having access to them if necessary. By transferring the assets into a trust, it also avoids the look-back period that could impact eligibility.

Ending a trust

A trust is a tool for property management, and one that is set up in North Carolina or anywhere else will eventually come to an end. In general, a trust ends when there is no more property in the trust or on the date or at the milestone set by the grantor.The grantor is the person who creates the trust. The beneficiary receives distributions from the trust, and the trustee is appointed to manage the trust.

Estate planning can provide peace of mind the 2nd time around

More than half the nation's citizens who are over 55 years old are in second, third or subsequent marriages. This number includes seniors in all states including North Carolina, and it represents research by the Pew Research Center -- a neutral entity that researches and provides information on public opinion, social issues and demographic trends that shape the United States.