Hogan & Betts PLLC
215 Racine Drive., Suite 204
Wilmington, NC 28403
Wilmington NC Estate Planning, Retirement Planning Lawyers
Part of a proper "Estate Plan" is to have your "Will" in place. Your Will is a powerful document that not only outlines what you want done with your property, but other things such as custody and care for any minor children, and possibly setting up a way that funds are set aside for children and left in the care of another.
If you should die without a will, you will be classified as having died "intestate." This means that the State of North Carolina will then direct what happens to your assets following your death. Additionally, the State may get involved in the guardianship of your children. Providing for guardianship and custody of the kids in a properly executed Will gives a strong presumption to your wishes regarding the kids, and the State generally abides by what you wish.
Properly executing your will (and other estate planning documents) is important. Often times folks can go online and get a draft will prepared by some company (usually outside of North Carolina) and will receive a nice set of forms with their name typed into them. They'll then leave you on your own to sign and execute the documents correctly. Here's where trouble may begin. If it's not done right, you run the risk of all that time and energy being for nothing. At Hogan & Betts, PLLC, we not only prepare the documents for you, but we help you execute them as well. Unlike some commercials you may hear or see, we at Hogan & Betts, PLLC, ARE a law firm, and that carries with it all of the obligations of the Attorney-Client relationship, including the responsibility for executing them correctly.
People often ask about "Trusts." When many "financial professionals" talk about trusts, they are often referring to a "Living Trust." At Hogan & Betts, PLLC, we believe that simpler is better. We try to streamline your affairs as much as possible and avoid unnecessary complexity that carries with it only confusion and cost. Living Trusts, while appropriate in some circumstances, are generally not right for most folks. There are other ways to do what you wish apart from dropping potentially thousands on unneeded documentation.
Some trusts are in fact a good idea. For example, when leaving assets to a child, you generally don't want a kid getting a large amount of money at an early age. You can, by using a "Holdback Trust" make it so that someone YOU name is responsible for funds until such time as the kids reach a certain age. And that age can be whatever you wish. This type of trust is built into your will and generally doesn't cost anything extra to create. Without a Holdback Trust, generally kids will get assets when they turn 18. Personally, I prefer that my kids not have access to funds until they are a little bit older than that, and would prefer that someone else hang on to it until they are, say 21, or 25, or whatever age.
Will and Trusts are complex at times, but can be made simple and understandable if the time is taken with the client to explain everything and help them through it all. That's our goal here at Hogan & Betts, PLLC.