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North Carolina Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Executor of will changed named beneficiary on retirement account for personal gain? Durable POA not filled. Wake, NC

Executor changed named beneficiary of 25yrs to make himself now the named beneficiary, via internet, on Charles Schwab acct. 3 weeks before my dad passed away. Durable POA not filled with registry of deeds in Wake county

Alexander J Palme
Alexander J Palme
answered on May 28, 2024

The answer to your question will hinge upon the Power of Attorney document’s language. Because your father was living at the time of this beneficiary change, the executor would have been acting in his or her potential role as agent under the Power of Attorney.

An agent has a fiduciary...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for North Carolina on
Q: I live on acre land for 12 years it's in my and brother name now brother trying to sell is he allowed too I verbaly told

It was mind brother trying to take mom got all timer and brother making decisions for her

Ben Corcoran
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Ben Corcoran
answered on May 20, 2024

Your brother can only sell what he owns, so if someone is willing to buy his interest, he can sell it, but he cannot sell your portion. Since he is a part owner, your brother can get a court-ordered sale in which the whole property would be sold. You need to speak with a local attorney for further... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: How do I determine how the unsecured creditors are paid if there’s more debt than assets in NC small estate?

Given it is a small estate I don’t have to do notice, but I have received notice/bills from more creditors than is money to pay. Do I pay pro rata? What happens if more creditors show up after I have closed the estate? Who is liable?

Ben Corcoran
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Ben Corcoran
answered on May 13, 2024

I don't know who told you that you do not have to publish a notice, but the notice is very important in estates with very little assets but lots of debt. The order in which you pay debts is determined by statute, and each class of debt is paid out pro-rata if there isn't enough to pay the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for North Carolina on
Q: My uncle died 4 years ago. Everything went to his only child. 2 years ago, the child died. The uncle had a will, however

It was never filed and the estate was never settled. Uncle had no debt. The son ( deceased heir) has outstanding income tax debt. The son’s criminal attorney has uncles will and refuses to release it to family. My mother and aunt (uncles sisters) are now closest living relatives and heirs to my... View More

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Apr 30, 2024

Hire a NC attorney to probate Uncle's Estate. With Letters of Administration, you will be able to demand the will document, which then is administered by the Executor. You still might be the Administrator with Will Annexed. However the devise might not go to you, and you might be only... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law and Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Can a non-resident of Florida set-up a living trust in Florida to avoid state taxes on investments within the trust.
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 22, 2024

Setting up a living trust in Florida as a non-resident solely to avoid state taxes on investments within the trust may not be a viable strategy. While Florida does not impose state income tax on individuals, there are other factors to consider, such as residency requirements and potential tax... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: Am I responsible for my deceased mother's Medical debt? Can they take her home, deed is in my name, mortgage is in hers

My mother recently passed away. We transferred her home and car into my name a few months before her death, but the mortgage is still in her name which I have been paying. She did not have any estate. Am I responsible for paying her Medical bills prior to her passing and can they take the house... View More

Ben Corcoran
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Ben Corcoran
answered on Feb 15, 2024

Without seeing the actual bills and the deed transferring the property to you, I can't give you an answer. I suggest taking all the paperwork to a local attorney and having them give you specific advice.

The mortgage company will likely require you to get a new mortgage or, if you are...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: How can I leave my property to my married daughter and if she dies before her husband, have the property go to My sis?

I would like to keep my property in my family. If my daughter dies and the property goes to her husband he could leave it to his family in Australia.

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Feb 5, 2024

There are several options. You could make a life estate/remainder deed to your daughter for life, then to someone else at her death. Deeds take effect now with no probate involvement. Contact a competent NC attorney to search the title and execute a transfer to suit you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: Why would my stepsister send me and my siblings a personal property exemption form ....keep all his personal stuff

My father passed in 2021& his wife last year . My siblings and I Were not even notified of my father's passing until he was buried and gone even his brother wasn't notified.im afraid she is up to something

Ethan A. Trice
Ethan A. Trice
answered on Jan 31, 2024

There are a couple forms she could be trying to get you to sign. It sounds like she's trying to get you to waive your inheritance rights. If your father's wife never adopted you and never made a will, realistically the stepsister gets her property. Why she's trying to get you to... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: Who gets house and everything when stepfather then passes?

I am 36 years old. My mom passed away many years ago and so did my only brother. Everything of course was then only my stepdads. My stepdad has been my father since I was 5 years old. I consider him my father of course. We’ve always had a great relationship but recently he has been ill and... View More

Ethan A. Trice
Ethan A. Trice
answered on Jan 31, 2024

If he never adopted you, you don't inherit from him in the absence of a will. Intestacy statutes will apply and the property will either go to his children (if he has any legal children) or his sibling(s). His living sister's daughter won't have a claim (rather the sister herself... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: Who gets house and everything when stepfather then passes?

I am 36 years old. My mom passed away many years ago and so did my only brother. Everything of course was then only my stepdads. My stepdad has been my father since I was 5 years old. I consider him my father of course. We’ve always had a great relationship but recently he has been ill and... View More

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Jan 14, 2024

Your stepdad is mistaken and you are right to be concerned. You are NOT in the line of succession. To inherit from your stepdad he would need to name you as the death beneficiary on his financial accounts (an excellent method) AND sign a will that leaves everything to you (for items that do not... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Adding investment property to living trust

I am from CA and am investing in rental property in North Carolina. We have a living trust established few years back and to which our existing home was added. I was told to add any future property (in CA or out of state) to the trust. As I purchase this new property, is it better to assign the... View More

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Jan 3, 2024

It is doubtful that the lender will take a deed of trust and note with only the trustee's name and signature. They will want the trustee to sign individually. And this is at closing. If transferred to the trust later, it might violate a due on sales clause, but will definitely still... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for North Carolina on
Q: In North Carolina can a nursing home come back and take a family members house at any point?How do we stop it?

Looking to buy my husbands grandmas house, she may eventually need to go into assisted living due to dementia

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 12, 2023

In North Carolina, a nursing home itself typically does not have the authority to "take" a family member's house. However, if your husband's grandmother eventually requires Medicaid to pay for her long-term care, there could be implications for her estate, including her house.... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: My dad's will was never executed probate never happened. He lived in NC, died in SC. Where would probate happen?

Passed in 2021, I just got a copy of the will. My sister was executor, I'm a trustee. My brother sold my dad's land right at 1/2 million, brother took money and bought land and home in brother's name one year before dad's death.

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Nov 29, 2023

An unexecuted will cannot be probated. Apparently the Father's heirs owned the property. You will need a very good real property litigator in the County of the land to file ejectment, quiet title, etc. actions. All interested parties must be parties. However laches will probably prevent... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: If my spouse of 17years dies without a will and unmarried what am I entitled to

Unmarried spouse of 17 years dies suddenly without a will. He has a DBA business. After he died his brother helps my mom with arrangements. He ends up taking over the business. Out of good faith my mother hands him every title to every vehicle there is work vehicles included. Well one by one he had... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 24, 2023

If your spouse passed away without a will, the distribution of their estate, including the business and assets, would be subject to the intestacy laws of the state where you reside. These laws determine how assets are divided among surviving family members in the absence of a will.

As an...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Banking for North Carolina on
Q: Hello, my brother passed away in June of this year. He made me POA of his affairs. I also had a Living Trust

And Living will. My question is how can I close out his bank account to which he added my name to it. The problem is he has a living wife, they had been separated for over twenty years.

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Aug 31, 2023

The POA is terminated at the principal's death. If you are on the signature card, the funds are probably already your property. The Trust may affect your individual ownership of the bank account, or those monies may never have become Trust Corpus.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Banking for North Carolina on
Q: Hello, my brother passed away in June of this year. He made me POA of his affairs. I also had a Living Trust

And Living will. My question is how can I close out his bank account to which he added my name to it. The problem is he has a living wife, they had been separated for over twenty years.

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Aug 31, 2023

Start by reviewing your brother's Living Trust and Living Will to understand his wishes regarding his assets, including the bank account to which your name was added. Notify the bank of his passing and follow their procedures for closing the account, ensuring you have the necessary legal... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: I want to put in place a Power of Attorney that gives my designated agent power only if I become incapacitated.
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
answered on Aug 21, 2023

Theoretically possible but unwise.

Your designated agent may have to secure a final adjudication of your incapacity before others will allow them to use your POA. That could be time-consuming, expensive, and defeat the purpose.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: An executor had a check written to them for the estate and he deposited it into the estate. Is the legal?
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Aug 4, 2023

In North Carolina, an executor is responsible for managing the assets of the estate and ensuring that the estate's debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will or state law.

It is generally not appropriate for an executor to write...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: My husband passed away with a lot of credit card debt and medical debt. Am I responsible to pay off that debt?

I was not on any of the credit accounts, nor did I sign anything for the medical procedures. There is no estate. House was in both our names.

Ben Corcoran
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Ben Corcoran
answered on Jul 26, 2023

I highly advise you to hire an attorney and have them assist you in probating the estate. The credit card debt can likely be wiped out by opening the estate. The medical debt will unfortunately likely follow you since spouses are normally liable for the medical debts incurred by their spouse.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: I had (2) 1/2 siblings that died (mom). Their uncle died (dad) and they were the ONLY next of kin. Am I an heir?

Their uncle was the end of the line for that entire family tree. Our mom and their dad are dead. It's really sad. I was actually contacted by someone executing the estate looking for other relatives. There are probably very distant cousins (like shared a common great-great grandparent), but... View More

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Apr 25, 2023

Determining Heirship can be extremely difficult. Sometimes it is best to attempt to include any suspected heirs as parties, then sue unknown parties to Quiet Title to certain properties via publication notice. Hire a very competent NC attorney to represent you against whoever is trying to... View More

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