If a North Carolina resident is named the executor of an estate, that person is responsible for overseeing and protecting an estate's assets throughout the probate process. While the job may seem overwhelming, it may be possible to do it properly by staying organized. An important step in settling an estate's affairs is to obtain a death certificate. Typically, multiple copies will be needed, and executors should order more than they think will be needed.
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.
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.
North Carolina residents might wonder how they can arrange their estates to avoid probate. One man named his daughter as a beneficiary on investments and left her his car and home in his will. He wondered if there might be a better way of doing this.
As an increasing number of North Carolina residents are establishing new estate plans, trusts are becoming more complex. Today's trusts contain many more assets, including entire businesses. As new trusts evolve, more litigation is occurring to test these plans. It is important that trustees understand their roles and the potential risks of litigation so that they can protect themselves.
There are several factors North Carolina residents who are setting up a trust should consider when choosing a trustee. It is important to choose someone who agrees to be a fiduciary. A fiduciary has a legal obligation to look after the settlor's interests. It is also important for the person to have the right expertise. This includes knowledge of tax and investing, but additional specialized knowledge might be necessary as well depending on the nature of the trust. In these circumstances, multiple trustees with different areas of expertise might be appointed.
According to a survey recently conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, just 33 percent of older Americans have saved enough money to pay for long-term care that they may require. The survey also indicated that more than half of Americans who are 40 years of age or older share the belief that the federal government should contribute to long-term care expenses.
An irrevocable life insurance trust may have many estate planning benefits when drafted and administered properly. Trustees in North Carolina are urged to be aware of their fiduciary duties, which means that their administrative actions must be in the trust beneficiary's best interests. They must also be sure that it is administered in accordance with the relevant trust provisions.
Google’s innovations continue to amaze consumers and intrigue investors. Much has been said about its development of autonomous cars that will allow drivers to sit back and leave the driving to an onboard computer. Indeed, pieces of autonomous driving components can be seen in today’s vehicles (e.g. lane departure warning systems, self-parking mechanisms).
North Carolina residents named as a trustee might wonder what their duties and responsibilities are. While they do not have to be a financial expert, they do need to manage the trust effectively. This may include making new investments to increase the value of the trust or selling some assets to cover expenses. The trustee may work with a financial professional in making these decisions, but it is still a good idea to have a document that explains the investment strategy in case a beneficiary queries it.