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Beneficiary Designations Revisited

A significant life event such as a marriage, birth or death are all reasons to review your estate plan.  Separation or divorce can be another reason for an individual to review his or her will, trust or powers of attorney.  However, an often overlooked aspect are the beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement […]

The Arrival of Same-Sex Marriage (Finally!)

With the Supreme Court’s historic decision today, the right of same-sex couples to legally marry has been finally settled.  Same-sex couples now enjoy the same fundamental rights as opposite-sex couples in the creation of a familial and marital status for themselves and their children.  But as Justice Kennedy wrote in his opinion, marital status brings […]

Healthcare Consent for Minors

From time to time, most parents will find themselves in a situation where their minor child is staying with someone else.  Most of the time, this involves the expected overnight stay with a friend or relative.  However, under different circumstances, parents might find themselves away from their children for longer periods of time.  A special […]

Planning for Pets

North Carolina is one of a growing number of states that currently allow an individual to create a trust for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals.  These trusts can be created in a will, as part of a revocable or irrevocable trust, or as a stand-alone document just for the […]

2014 Arrives

2014 has arrived!  Each year at this time, many people have ‘finally get a will’ as part of their New Year’s Resolutions.  The process is not as intimidating and stressful as you might think.  Whoever you choose to begin your estate plan, making the call to get on his or her calendar is the first […]

A.R.T. and the Estate Plan

Artwork is a unique asset in an estate plan.  Paintings, sculptures and literary works can present challenging problems when included in a person’s estate plan.  But this post is about another kind of ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology – and it can present even greater challenges. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a growing practice area, […]

Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning?

Considering Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning? It is not something I would recommend for anyone considering whether they need a will. Among the reasons why you might want to consider an attorney, rather than a do-it-yourself estate plan are: estate planning attorneys have special expertise to draft a plan specific to your needs; estate planning attorneys can […]

Back to School

As summer ends and our commutes get longer with back to school traffic, some of us face empty bedrooms and fewer members in our homes.  As September begins, many of our first-born children have left for colleges and universities across the United States.  While many of our students might not consider it too important, the […]

The DOMA Decision

The Supreme Court published its long-awaited decision in the Windsor case today.  In a 5-4 decision, the Court held Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  What this means for same-sex couples across the country will ultimately depend on where they live.  In North Carolina, it is likely that the Court’s decision will […]

Estate Planning for Business Owners

Owners of closely-held businesses face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning.  In addition to planning to pass along the non-business assets, closely-held business owners must concern themselves with developing a business succession plan.  Reasons for investigating a business succession plan can include maintaining a income stream once control or ownership of the business […]