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Estate Planning for Seniors in North Carolina: Basic Issues

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Everyone will have an estate, and only by developing an estate plan can you take control over what happens to yours. Learn more about estate planning for seniors in North Carolina in this presentation.

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Estate Planning for Seniors in North Carolina: Basic Issues

  1. 1. “Everyone will have an estate, and only by developing an estate plan can you take control over what happens to yours.” ESTATE PLANNING FOR SENIORS IN NORTH CAROLINA– PART1– BASIC ISSUES CHERYL K. DAVID North Carolina Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney
  2. 2. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 3 At the law offices of Cheryl David, we routinely recommend that every adult in the state of North Carolina create an estate plan as soon as they turn 18. We also recommend that seniors, or those nearing the age of 65, speak to an estate planning attorney as soon as possible, especially if they don't have an estate plan in place. While a good estate plan is something that every responsible adult should take the time to create, seniors are in a much greater need of having a plan than most others. So, in this first of a two-part discussion on estate planning for seniors in North Carolina, we are going to take a look at some common issues and concerns surrounding the estate planning process with which seniors should be aware. UNDERSTANDING YOUR ESTATE. It's fairly common to hear people say that they don't need an estate plan because they don't have an estate. After all, if you are not wealthy, don't have a large home, and don't have a lot of money in the bank, what do you need to worry about? While this seems like sound reasoning, it is anything but.
  3. 3. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 4 The legal reality is that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, will leave behind an estate if they become incapacitated, or die. The term “estate” is simply a legal term that refers to the property and legal issues you leave behind after death or incapacitation. Everyone will have an estate, and only by developing an estate plan can you take control over what happens to yours nces. UNDERSTANDING ESTATE PLANS If everyone has an estate, does that mean that everyone has to create an estate plan? No. There is no legal requirement that forces you, or anyone else, to create an estate plan. However, should you die or become incapacitated without an estate plan in place, the questions that you leave behind will nevertheless need to be answered. Who will answer these questions? Who, for example, gets to
  4. 4. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 5 determine who inherits your property if you don't leave behind a last will and testament? The effective answer to these types of questions is that you already have an estate plan in place even if you don't realize it. The laws of the state of North Carolina, as well as certain federal laws, create a default estate plan that applies to everyone. If you don't create a plan of your own, or create a plan that doesn't meet legal requirements, this default estate plan will apply to your estate. Note, however, that this default plan does not take into consideration your desires. Regardless what you would have wanted to happen to your state, the default planning laws make decisions about your estate without your input. The only way to change this is to make an estate plan that protects your individual decisions.
  5. 5. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 6 CREATING ESTATE PLANNING TOOLS Though we will discuss in detail some of the more specific estate planning tools your plan will rely upon in our next discussion on this topic, seniors need to be aware that there are a variety of issues that will require you to create some specific estate planning tools in order to protect yourself, your estate, and your wishes. For example, if you have specific wishes about the kinds of health care treatment you do were do not wish to receive in the event you become incapacitated, the only way to protect those desires is to create specific documents. If you fail to create these documents, or fail to create them in the right way, you have no way of guaranteeing that your choices will be honored.
  6. 6. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 7 YOU SHOULD TALK TO A LAWYER FOR ADVICE Estate planning is often a popular discussion topic for many seniors. There are endless resources available that seek to provide you with estate planning advice. And even though most of this information is reliable and useful, it will never be, and can never be, a substitute for the legal advice and guidance that only an experienced attorney can provide. If you are a senior who lives in the Greensboro, North Carolina area and have questions about estate planning, are worried about estate planning topics, or want to begin the process of creating an estate plan of your own, you need to reach out and contact us as soon as possible. Though we have
  7. 7. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 8 years of experience crafting estate plans for seniors in North Carolina, we can only begin helping you if you make the choice to contact us.
  8. 8. Estate Planning For Seniors in North Carolina – Part 1 – Basic Issues www.cheryldavid.com 9 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cheryl David is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Baltimore School of Law, and the prestigious Trial Lawyer’s College presided over by Gerry Spence. A former Administrative Judge, Cheryl is certified as an Estate Planning Law Specialist by the ABA accredited Estate Law Specialists Board, Inc. She is also a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Medicaid Practice Systems and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. In 2008, Cheryl received the honor of becoming a Fellow with the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. The Fellow program recognizes Academy Members who demonstrate advanced expertise and significant practical experience in the total estate planning, trust, tax planning, guardianship, probate and estate administration fields. In order to maintain this advanced expertise, Cheryl takes over 36 hours of continuing education in Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Taxation each year. Also a Financial Planner, she holds the Series 7 and 66 Investment Licenses in addition to both Insurance and Long Term Care/Medicare designations. Her professional capabilities, together with over 25 years in practice, have combined to bring positive change to the lives of over 4500 clients and their families. 528 College Road Greensboro, NC 27410 Phone: (336) 547-9999 Fax: (336) 547-9477 WWW.CHERYLDAVID.COM

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