December 2017 Archives

Setting up a guardianship for your special needs child

If you have a loved one with special needs, you know that it can be financially, physically and emotionally challenging to provide care. You work hard to provide the support he or she needs, but it is prudent to think about his or her care beyond your lifetime. It is possible that your family member could outlive you, and it is smart to have the necessary legal protections in place to ensure that he or she continues to get the care needed.

Estate planning is emotional as well as financial

For people in North Carolina, preparing for the future includes an estate plan. Estate planning helps to ease the life of heirs and make a family's emotional pain after the death of a loved one far less complicated, as the distribution of assets is provided for through the use of instruments such as wills, trusts and insurance. However, estate planning isn't only a financial issue that can be used to pass down real and personal property. The estate planning process can also be a time to transfer memories, thoughts and values from elders to their surviving loved ones.

Estate planning and tax liability

North Carolina residents who leave property to their loved ones may not realize how taxes can affect beneficiaries when they inherit an estate. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem has come forward to warn others about how the federal government's "death tax" has affected her family. However, according to some experts, it is possible that the problem could have been avoided with a different estate planning strategy.

Digital assets as part of an estate plan

North Carolina residents should incorporate digital asset planning as part of their overall estate plan. This may make it easier for others to clean out, shut down or otherwise manage email accounts, bank accounts and other online properties. In some states such as North Carolina, access to electronic accounts may be governed by the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, or RUFADAA. This generally allows a designated party to access electronic accounts stored in a computer, phone or cloud network.

Cy Pres doctrine allows charitable trusts to adapt and continue

When people in North Carolina choose to form a charitable trust, they might want them to serve their purpose in perpetuity. Unlike other trusts, a charitable trust has the option of continuing its mission indefinitely. This open-ended feature on some charitable trusts, however, could result in the trust outliving the existence of its beneficiary. An educational institution closing its doors represents an example of a beneficiary ceasing to exist. In this situation, the Cy Pres doctrine sanctions the alteration of the trust so that it can continue.

The importance of keeping beneficiary designations current

People in North Carolina who are creating an estate plan should make sure they remember to include beneficiary designations. These are the individuals who receive assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, which do not have to go through probate. Since beneficiary designations are separate from the documents that people often think about when planning their estates, such as wills and trusts, it is not uncommon that they often are forgotten.

Is DIY estate planning worth the risks?

Recently, you may have begun thinking more seriously about creating an estate plan. This desire may have stemmed from the recent birth of a child, a milestone birthday, the death of a loved one or numerous other factors. No matter the reason, creating this type of plan could help you get your affairs in order well before your passing.

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