WILLS, TRUSTS & ESTATE PLANNING
Do you want to control your property why you are alive and well? What about your loved ones if you become disabled? How will you provide for them? Do you want to ensure that when you die your property goes to whom you want, the way you want and when you want while at the same time minimizing professional fees, court costs and taxes? A well drafted estate plan allows you to answer these questions ahead of time rather than leaving it to others and/or state law to answer them for you.
SMALL BUSINESS PLANNING
Are you running your business giving due regard to the legal formalities which must be followed to ensure that your personal assets are protected from claims against your business? Do you know what those formalities are? Do you co-mingle business assets with personal assets? Is your business undercapitalized? Have you transferred shares or membership units in your business to others in accordance with state and federal securities law? Proper planning will reduce your exposure to personal liability.
Do you understand the legal significance of how your personal assets are titled in terms of protecting those assets from the claims of third parties? Are you a professional such as a doctor, dentist, accountant, architect or engineer who is held personally liable for malpractice? Maybe you have suffered a catastrophic illness or injury and have accumulated an inordinate amount of medical expenses. Maybe you buy and sell businesses or invest in real estate and are susceptible to claims from persons who later develop buyer’s remorse. Or maybe you have become responsible for the debts of your adult children. A sound asset protection plan will help reduce your exposure to personal liability and protect your assets from third party claims.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Meeting the legal needs of a loved one with a disability can prove to be challenging due to the complex nature of the different alternatives available. Depending on the situation, there are several core planning strategies that may be used to provide for the extraordinary needs of a disabled person without affecting their eligibility for SSI and Medicaid. These alternatives include Special Needs Trusts, Third Party Supplemental Needs Trusts and use of a tax free, state based private savings account referred to as an ABLE account.
The law allows for the formation of business entities such as corporations (including s-corps and non-profits), limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies. The choice of entity usually depends on the extent of personal liability protection available and taxation. Considerable time should be dedicated in selecting a business entity and drafting the governing documents. A bad choice of entity and poorly drafted operating agreements will have far reaching negative consequences to your business.
Non-profit Organizations are vastly different from for-profit business entitles such as C- Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Limited Partnerships. The purpose of a Non-profit Corporation or Association is to conduct business for the public good without shareholders and without a profit motive. Non-profit Corporations are a creature of state law and are not automatically tax exempt. Starting and maintaining a Non-profit are not easy tasks. Getting assistance from an attorney with direct experience working with Non-profits is essential to the success of your cause.
A Guardian is a person who is appointed by the Clerk of Superior Court with the legal authority to act on behalf of the personal or property interests of another, called a ward. Under North Carolina law there are three types of guardianships available to adult persons who have been declared incompetent to manage their own affairs, they are: Guardian of the Person, Guardian of the Estate and a General Guardianship. Every situation is different and therefore petitioning for the correct guardianship from the outset is important as each type of guardianship has certain limitations.