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Questions Answered by Catherine E Bruce
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: can a PR of an estate make decisions with out consulting the other siblings?...ie..rent the house out to own with asking
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 22, 2015

Yes. The personal representative is entitled to make all decisions relating to the estate on his or her own, without consulting the heirs. However, the PR is under a fiduciary duty to take care of the estate and make prudent decisions about it. If you feel that the PR has acted in a way that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: My mom died. She has a will. My son is 17. His inheritance is under 10k. When can he obtain the funds?

I opened a UTMA account. We live in NC.

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 22, 2015

Did your mother’s will either instruct or authorize her Executor to transfer your son’s inheritance to a custodian? If so, this is a transfer under NCGS 33A-5. For these UTMA accounts, the default is that the money must be transferred to the minor when he reaches 21. However, if the will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for North Carolina on
Q: My mother in law has dementia.my husband has her poa can she choose to move herself from the nursing home to another 1?
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 22, 2015

Making a Power of Attorney gives an Agent the ability to take certain actions, in addition to the Principal (a power of attorney does not affect an individual's ability to make his or her own decisions). However, it sounds like your mother in law may not be capable of making her own decisions... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Health Care Law for North Carolina on
Q: Does Durable Power of Attorney end at death in regards to organ designation in South Carolina?
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 8, 2015

In North Carolina, an agent appointed under a Health Care Power of Attorney has the authority to deal with certain after-death decisions such as organ donation. Typically, an agent appointed under a Durable Power of Attorney is not given such authority (his or her authority ends at the death of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: My dad passed away in Oct 2014and I am his only son and he has a wife,what are my rights,no will

They were separated she lives and has always lived in California, she came here 2 days after he died and took ever thing and went back to calif and sold the house here that was suppose to go to his granddaughter, what are my rights? She won't even give me my great,, great grandfather things that... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 7, 2015

When a North Carolina resident dies without a will, they die “intestate.” When this happens, NC law decides how the person’s property is distributed. Even if your father said he intended for you and your daughters to have certain items or property, it’s not relevant if he didn’t write... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for North Carolina on
Q: My father has a home paperwork. Should we list it as a Will. or put it in trust upon his death

My father is 83 years old. My brother still lives within the home at this time. Upon the death of my father we have done a LegalZoom will. Should we list the home that is his only asset and a Willl or put it in trust for my brother and I upon his death. What is the difference or pros and cons of... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 6, 2015

First of all, you are talking about your father's estate plan. That means that you must abide by your father's documents/decisions. You can’t make those decisions for him. If he has made a will that divides up his property a certain way and he wants to stick with that, you and your brother will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for North Carolina on
Q: Can I convey sole ownership of a home to my son at no value in NC, and what is involved?

Will he still need to pay sales tax on the value? What other fees or expenses may be involved? Can this be accomplished with only a closing attorney, or can this be done through the county offices?

Thank you

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Oct 6, 2015

It is always a good idea to have a real estate attorney prepare deeds to transfer land. You will obviously have to pay the attorney to do this, but it is well worth the security of knowing it was done correctly. Once your attorney prepares the deed, it will have to be filed at the Register of Deeds... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Collections for North Carolina on
Q: My husband died a few weeks ago leaving me 50,000 debt on 2 credit cards. Am I liable in NC?

There isn't much in the way of assets. We are jointly named on a mortgage and any money in the bank will only be from a life insurance policy that hasn't paid out yet. Which isn't much by the way as this was his third time around with cancer and therefore considered uninsurable. There are still... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Sep 18, 2015

I am sorry to hear about your husband's passing. Although your husband’s estate will be responsible for paying his credit card bills and his other debts, you may be able to get most of his assets out of his estate before the creditors receive anything.

First, did your husband name you or...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Is nonresident of NC and named "executor without bond" in NC aunt's will required to post executor bond?

Aunt passed away in Cleveland County NC naming me (TX resident) executor without bond. Am I required to post an executor Bond? If so, how much? Real property worth $112K and and cash plus personal property valued at $68K.

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Sep 18, 2015

Where the will waives the bond requirement, the named executor can serve without posting bond. This applies to both residents and non-residents.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: In North Carolina. My mom passed away yesterday. She has no will.

As the closest relative (my sister too), are I/we required to become the administrator(s)? We had a terrible relationship with her and want nothing to do with this. Will NC force us to be involved as the next of kin? Can we simply do nothing? And if we are not involved how does all the end needs... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Sep 8, 2015

First of all, if you pay for your mother's cremation, you may be able to get reimbursed from her estate before other creditors get their share. North Carolina law provides a priority list indicating which creditors get paid first, and burial/cremation expenses are third on that list. See N.C.G.S.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: I live in N.C. & my father just passed away. He was never married & I'm the only child ,I'm 20 years old !

My father's brother has taken all his personal property & ect. What are my rights & steps I need to take! He also owened a store but his family didn't speak to me .how can I find info

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 25, 2015

You need to file to be appointed as Administrator or Executor of your father's estate at the Clerk of Court's office in the county in which your father lived at his death. That will give you the ability to recover property taken from the estate, and the authority to gather, preserve, and distribute... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: it's been over 2 years and there were no claims for medical bills after the public add ran for estate should we inquire?

my mom passed in 2013 and as executor i went to clerk of court and ran the adds. i have finished with the clerk of court. there was only one claim and i paid it. there were no medical bills filed against the estate so should i check into the debt when the property sells?

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 25, 2015

There are effectively three parts to your question. First, will the sale of the property at this point be valid against creditors. Second, will the creditors be able to claim the funds from the sale. And third, can you be personally liable as Executor to additional creditors.

FIRST:...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: Legal or Not?Father passed away one day after signing deed for land over to one of two children.

Father has stock and 401K in company he retired from. He has a bank account and multiple vehicles. He, also, has enormous medical bills. The bank account, stock, vehicles and land should have been put into the estate to settle the creditors, correct? Is it legal to give the land away before... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 25, 2015

First of all, you will not be liable for the estate’s debts simply because you are the son of the decedent. The debts of a decedent do not pass on to his devisees. If the debts outweigh the value of the decedent’s assets, the creditors will each only get a prorated portion of what is owed to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: how do I become my father's beneficiary? I am trying to get certain things in order before and thing tragic happen

I am asking because my father did not sign my birth certificate. Also can he still sign it?

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 25, 2015

Your father can name you on any of his beneficiary on any assets that allow him to name a beneficiary. Often, this includes life insurance and retirement accounts. This is up to your father to do: you cannot make his estate plan for him (unless you have a Power of Attorney from your father that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: If my grandparents deed the land to me is there a risk that that the land can be taken from me by nursing home 5 yr ?

My grandparents are in bad health. If they deed their land to me and have to later enter a nursing facility what are the rules? I was told the land could be claimed by nursing home in 5 year? Im confused? How can i protect it?

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 21, 2015

Medicaid has a Five-Year Lookback period. This means that Medicaid can look back five years from the date that an applicant enters a nursing facility. Any gifts or transfers made for less than fair market value in the five years preceding the date of entry will disqualify the recipient from... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Life Estate/REM

My grandma left her house to my dad and I when she died. He is listed as EST (life estate) and I am listed as REM (Remainder.) I know I don't get the house till my dad dies. He however already has a house and doesn't want to live in it. Am I able to use/sell it, or can I not do anything with it at... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 19, 2015

A life tenant has the right to possession and use of the property during his lifetime, unlike a person with a remainder interest. However, I think you have three options. (1) You and your father could come to an informal agreement whereby you use the house. Your father is entitled to do what he... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Are step children entitled to my mothers estate after its all settled?

My father passed away 2 years ago and now my mother has passed away. My step brothers that are from my dads previous marriage are trying to take all of my mothers stuff. However I have been appointed as the executive of her estate. Once the estate has settled are the step sons entitled to any of... Read more »

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 19, 2015

Because your mother died without a will, her property will be divided up according to North Carolina's Intestacy Statute. Intestacy does not provide anything for stepchildren, unless they were legally adopted by the decedent at some point before she passed away. It sounds like you and any siblings... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Can a POA be created via snail mail or does the attorney in fact have to be present in person and everyone sign in front

The pt creating the POA lives in NC and the family member (attorney in fact the pt wants to designate) lives in W.Virginia.

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 19, 2015

The principal (the person creating the POA) must sign the document and have his signature notarized. The attorney in fact (the person receiving the power) does not have to sign the POA or be present when the principal signs it. So, the only two people who have to be in the same room are the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Can a will be changed during separation period in North Carolina
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 19, 2015

Unless something like a separation agreement forbids it, you can revoke or change your will while you are separated from your spouse in North Carolina. If you pass away while you are separated, your spouse may still be able to claim an "Elective Share" of your estate (unless they are prohibited... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Does inherited property in NC have to be in a will?

My father orally told me he was giving me his house in NC, but he died before he had it put in his will. Do I have any chance of getting it?

Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce answered on Aug 19, 2015

North Carolina only recognizes a very limited type of oral will. A nuncupative will must be made either (1) before two witnesses by declaring that this is the testator's will and that he is asking them to specifically bear witness to it, or (2) when the testator was in his "final illness" or in... Read more »

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