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Why Do I Need A Simple Will?

atorney for a will in charlotteProtecting your assets and ensuring your loved ones receive what you wish to leave them is one of the reasons to secure a will. “Why do I need a simple will?” you may ask. The reasons are plenty and intricate. Regardless if you plan nothing else, make sure that you take your legal affairs seriously and attend to them now so that your loved ones won’t have to deal with these complex things during their grieving process.

Who Will Look After the Kids?

It’s the fine details that you get to dictate by implementing a will. Otherwise, the state and local governing authorities will intervene on your behalf. This may lead to expensive administration fees and costly blows to your estate. Figure out who will act as legal guardians for your children in the tragic event that it becomes necessary and secure your wishes with a legal will to protect your loved ones.

You may opt to have the guardians move into the child’s home until they become of age. Keeping them in their familiar surroundings may be the most suitable option. Or, you can request that the kids be relocated to move into their guardian’s home. The options are up to you as every family needs to figure out what best suits their needs.

Naming Your Executor

Choosing a family member or friend to be the Executor of your will can ensure some peace of mind. If you don’t appoint someone, the lawyer will appoint one for you. The executor you name may also decide to let the lawyer take over if the family begins disputing anything or it is too stressful for the individual to manage. Speak with your chosen executor ahead of time. Let them know where your important legal documents are, which bank you deal with, the name of your lawyer and where the key to your safety deposit box is etc.

Protect Your Property

If you wish to leave particular things to certain people, a will can help you document your desires. People divide their personal property including:

  • Jewelry
  • Vehicles
  • Property
  • Vacation Timeshares
  • Heirlooms
  • Furniture
  • Web Addresses and Domain Names
  • Company Assets
  • Business Legalities

Sorting out the myriad of details that comprise your life can save your loved ones thousands of dollars in the future. Don’t let the government take your hard earned assets away due to a simple lack of planning.

Protect Your Health and Mental Competency

In the event that you become incapacitated and need to be hooked up to machines, who’s got your back? If you start to suffer from symptoms of dementia years from now, who will provide for your basic needs? If you become unable to manage your finances, do you have someone you trust to take over? These questions are vital to pursue. It can be difficult to think about certain “what ifs” however, if you want to protect yourself and everything you have ever worked for, it is necessary to look at the hard truth in an objective way.

Communicate Your Plan With the Loved Ones Involved

Many people simply start their will by writing lists of who gets what. This is a great way to begin brainstorming and encourage discussion with your loved ones. If you have a clear plan and solidify your lists in a simple will, you can hopefully avoid any feuding between family in the future. Let your family know who the appointed executor is.

There is no guarantee that probate law will not be involved down the road. Much of this will depend on the amount you are leaving and how involved your assets are. Sadly, many families dispute everything in court until there is absolutely nothing left. If your family is full of greed or speaks with a sense of entitlement when discussing YOUR assets; perhaps you wish to address these issues now. Remember, you can always will your goodies to your favorite charity or anywhere you feel your assets will be most appreciated.

Am I Eligible For a Simple Will?

Are you under 50 years of age? Are you in good health? If your assets are not expected to be subject to estate taxes, a simple will may suffice. The best course of action may be to speak with reputable lawyer during a free consultation. Bring a detailed list of your items in order to depict a clear picture of what you are trying to protect.

If you have multiple properties or any kind of personal business, you may require more than a simple will. Your best bet is to consult with a lawyer who specializes in will and estate planning. Make sure you connect with the person you hire. After all, they are essentially in charge of distributing everything you have worked so hard for.

For your planning needs contact Meek Law Firm Charlotte NC

What Kinds of Legal Trusts Are There?

What Is a Legal Trust?

legal tust lawyer charlotte ncThere are numerous types of legal trusts available in order to help you plan how you prefer your finances to be handled while you are alive and after your death. People often add legal trusts to their existing will in order to ensure all of their assets are secure. Trusts may be utilized for large estates, marriage and to ensure minor children are taken care of in the event of your demise.

A trust consists of a legal agreement that enables you to dictate how you want your finances taken care of. Some people create a trust independently of their last will and testament; while others create one in conjunction with their will. Your lawyer will be able to listen to your wishes and recommend the best type of estate planning for your situation.

How Do I Create a Trust?

As this is a legal document, you will have to sit down and discuss the pertinent details with your lawyer. The initial step includes you or your lawyer creating a draft of a trust agreement or trust which indicates that you are the grantor of the estate, also known as the “settlor.” This document additionally clarifies who will act as trustee.

In order to be complete, the trust documentation needs to distinguish the names of your particular beneficiaries. Specific instructions of how you want your assets to be taken care of are included in the documentation.

Who Is the Trustee?

Your appointed trustee is the person who is responsible for managing any financial aspects or assets within the trust.

After the paperwork has become finalized, you may begin the process of transferring your assets’ ownership over to your trustee.

What Kinds of Assets Are Put In Trust?

Valuable items and sentimental ones may be left in a trust. Common examples include:

  • Artwork
  • Bank Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Real Estate
  • Bonds
  • Vehicles
  • Heirlooms
  • Mutual Funds
  • Certificates of Deposit

What Kinds of Legal Trusts Are There?

There are different kinds of legal trusts available depending on what you wish including:

  • Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts
  • Special Purpose Trusts
  • Testamentary vs. Living Trusts

Living Trusts

Additionally referred to as an “inter-vivos trust,” a living trust is in effect while you are alive. In this scenario, you may be your own trustee and have a successor trustee in place to take control after your death.

Living trusts can protect your assets in the event that you become incapacitated. In this event, your successor trustee can handle your financial management to ensure your family has access to their required resources while your bills are still paid etc. This type of trust is often in play for those who operate and own their own business and those who have significant assets.

Testamentary Trusts

This kind of trust only takes effect after you have passed away. A testamentary trust is formed by a particular provision included in your last will and testament.

Revocable Trust

This kind of trust can be revoked or changed at any time before you die and for a variety of reasons. If you wish to exclude a certain beneficiary or want to add or take assets out of the trust, this is an option. Individuals have the choice to revamp the existing trust or to complete revoke it. A new trust may be established to reflect your current wishes.

Irrevocable Trust

Once it has been established, an irrevocable living trust is unable to be changed. Therefore, once a particular asset has been transferred into an irrevocable trust, you are unable to resume ownership of it at a later time. Why would anyone want to roll the dice this way, you may ask? Some people set this up as part of a divorce decree, while elderly family members may wish to permanently transfer particular assets in order to become eligible for medical funding.

Special Purpose Trust

Special purpose trusts can be set up to protect your estate and your beneficiaries from certain creditors’ claims. Those who wish to establish a charitable trust to leave part or all of their assets to a charity also fall into this category.

Special purpose trusts may be set up as credit tax shelter trusts. This helps married couples with substantial estates to reduce their future tax liability upon one spouse’s passing.

Protecting Minors

One of the most common reasons people initiate trusts is to specify what happens to their minor children and name who will look after them if needed. Additional instructions may be left on the restrictions in place for them to achieve their inheritance.

Appointing a person to navigate the children’s accommodations and finances until they become of age is a huge responsibility. Be sure to discuss these details with the people you have in mind prior to having your legal documents prepared.

Regardless of your personal situation, why is it a great idea to find out what kinds of legal trusts are there? Wouldn’t you be devastated to have thought your will was suffice only to find out you would have been better off to include a legal trust in your estate planning? Speak with your attorney to ensure you are protecting your family, your assets and your future in the best way possible.

What Does a Real Estate Closing Lawyer Do?

What-Does-a-Real-Estate-Closing-Lawyer-DoLet’s face it, purchasing a home or property is an expensive decision. Probably one of the largest financial transactions you will make during your lifetime. As such, having an attorney with experience in the matter can potentially save you thousands of dollars. What does a real estate closing lawyer do? Is this a necessary part of the transaction? Keep reading to find out some of the assets an experienced real estate closing lawyer can deliver.

Choosing a Real Estate Closing Lawyer

Perhaps you already have a name on hand of someone who was recommended or you have worked with a real estate closing lawyer in the past. However, if this is your first purchase or if you are in a new city, simply ask your lending bank or your realtor for a recommendation.

Meet with the lawyer and see how you feel. Many firms offer a free consultation. While it may be tempting to rush into a recommended office with your paperwork, it is important to ensure you trust this individual. Closing sale time can be hectic and rushed. Multiple appointments are usually occurring with the home inspection, bank, house insurance and realtor. Have a list of any questions you have written down or punch them into the “Notes” feature on your cell phone.

The lawyer you want to work with will be happy to answer any of your questions and concerns. No question is too silly or small. After all, they may work with this paperwork on a daily basis but you probably don’t. Therefore, your questions are valid and should be welcomed.

Benefits Of Having a Reputable Lawyer

There are pages and pages of legal documents that come alongside any property transaction. These can be tricky to decipher for the average person. Having someone looking out for your best interests is crucial to ensure you are getting what you pay for and not a bunch of extra things you never knew about.

For instance, is part of your property on a creek, crown land or close to a nature ravine? Some properties have environmental protection plans included on certain parts of the property. You are not allowed to build retaining walls, plant trees or remove existing ones etc. for fear of disrupting the stream or removing some species of protected forest that could be home to an endangered bird, reptile or insect.

Having all of the legal aspects of your purchase outlined before you sign on the dotted line will protect you from potential fines down the road if you want to build that shed or plant that hedge. Your lawyer will be able to read all of the information and translate it to you in a way you understand.

Estimate On Legal Costs

During your initial meeting or telephone call, ask the attorney to describe their fee structure and provide you with an estimate of what your legal fees will look like upon closing. Be sure to budget accordingly and take these fees into account.

Protecting Yourself and Your Purchase

There can be a myriad of issues to take into consideration any time property transfers ownership between individuals. Some of the things that can come up unexpectedly include:

  • Zoning legislation
  • Fraud
  • Unpaid property taxes that need to be addressed prior to the purchase
  • Government legislation

Reading Through the Fine Print

What happens when you think everything is in order only to discover that there is an unpaid debt such as property taxes outstanding? Does the seller take care of the bill or is the purchaser responsible? Many things are dependent on your mortgage approval. All subjects have to be removed successfully in order for a smooth sale to occur.

Let your real estate closing lawyer help you lay a successful foundation on this monumental purchase. The very last thing you want to do is enter into a financially huge deal without having yourself protected. Your attorney can read through the fine print and ensure you have completed all tasks correctly and that the other party has adhered to the fine print as well.

Closing the Sale

Closing the deal involves a lengthy checklist; most of which will be handled by your lawyer including:

  • Searching the property title
  • Reviewing your finalized mortgage documents prior to your signing them
  • Ensuring your homeowner’s insurance is in place on your closing date (or your mortgage will not be approved)

By choosing a successful real estate lawyer from the beginning, you minimize your risk of any costly surprises or issues arising last minute. Always ask someone you trust for a recommendation and read the lawyer’s reviews from other clients. A few thousand dollars in legal fees can protect you in the future from expensive repairs, permits and potential fines from the city. It is vital to legally cover your back to ensure that both parties best interests are taken care of.

Meek Law Firm Charlotte NC

The Benefits of Real Estate Planning

-Real-Estate-PlanningDetermining what will become of your property, your personal items, vehicles, and financial savings can be a lot to think about. Many people put off making an official will and unintentionally end up costing their loved ones extra grief during their time of loss.

Unfinished business may leave the majority of your assets for the government to attend to. This can be an expensive and lengthy probate process that takes money away from your family instead of providing them with it.

Planning For the Future

Taking some time now to research your options may leave your family with thousands of extra dollars that otherwise may end up going to taxes. Beneficiaries and loved ones may have to pay an estate tax up to 35% if you don’t play your cards properly. Planning on how to take care of your estate consists of much more than simply preparing a will. It functions as a vital planning process to lessen the financial impact your death will have on your remaining family members. It provides an outline for your loved ones to follow during their time of need and the means to prepare and resolve any potential issues that may occur along the way.

Creating A Will

This important legal document does cost some time, energy and money to prepare. However, leaving the distribution of your assets in a guided, legal document can help ensure that your final wishes are secured. Being able to clearly state your intentions can help your family avoid conflict in the future.
Many people think about the main residence when it comes to reviewing one’s estate. However, there are a variety of properties or residences that need to be taken into consideration including:

  • Recreational property
  • Pre-purchased burial plots
  • Commercial or Business property
  • Land
  • Rental property

It is important to designate your assets ahead of time and communicate your wishes through a will. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to share your plans with all of the involved family members ahead of time and thus avoid future conflict. Sadly, many families will choose to dispute their loved one’s final wishes either way.

Save On Taxes

Parting with your assets while you are still alive can be a way to significantly reduce copious amounts of your estate being swallowed up by taxes after you die. Depending on where you live, you may be able to “gift” various items to loved ones to provide them with a tax shelter. Of course, signing over large amounts of property or cash prior to your passing has to be done only with those whom you completely trust.

Hiring a Great Lawyer

Trying to negotiate all of the fine print when discussing such complex issues is not recommended. Having a reputable lawyer whom you can trust on hand can help you organize your business. The benefits of real estate planning can ensure you pay off your mortgage on time or early and that you have something to leave to your loved ones later on.

Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have regarding your property division. For example, many people want to leave their home to their kids but do not want to have their children’s spouses’ benefit in the event of divorce etc. Be as honest and direct with your lawyer as possible so that they have all of the crucial components when wording your legal documents. Protecting your assets and the future of your beneficiaries is important.

Let Your Property Earn Cash

The benefits of real estate planning don’t have to refer solely to what happens later in life. By efficiently crunching the numbers, you may decide that by renting a room or renting out the upper or lower floor of your home will enable you to pay off your mortgage much sooner than your original amortization. This can leave you debt free much sooner than you planned.

Alternatively, all the interest you saved by paying off your mortgage early could amount to another down payment for a subsequent piece of property. By choosing to be a landlord of a commercial or residential space, you can have the renters paying your mortgage for you. This is an excellent way to have an income property in place.

Real estate planning is much easier to accomplish when you rely on sound advice from an experienced lawyer. Isn’t it time you reviewed your current estate plan to see if everything has been settled as efficiently and smoothly as possible?

Hire an Attorney for a Child Custody Dispute

hild custody attorney charlotte ncA separation or a divorce can be one of the most intense emotional situations one will ever endure, especially if children are involved. This is a crucial time to ensure that your children’s needs and well-being are secured. Hire an attorney for a child custody dispute and protect yourself from the start.

Hope for the Best and Expect the Worst

Many couples wish to separate amicably. Plans are often laid out regarding how things will proceed only to have one party completely change gears during the process. Even if you have verbally agreed upon specific details, hire a Child custody lawyer to ensure that fair is fair legally on paper. Protect yourself and your children from expensive legal fees down the road by having a great lawyer by your side in court.

Child Support

When it comes to child support, having a reliable lawyer on hand to protect your interests is vital. The custodial parent will need to have enough child support to cover the essential needs of the kids. If you will be the non-custodial parent, you will want to make sure you are paying an adequate amount for your children. However, it is essential to have secure legal representation to ensure the financial figures requested are not some kind of financial punishment. Provide yourself with peace of mind and protect the interests of you and your children.

Past Transgressions

The past literally can come back to haunt you if you don’t have an experienced lawyer fighting for you in your corner. Previous mistakes could damage your custody chances. Many individuals have skeletons in their closets including substance abuse or a previous conviction. Understand that your spouse’s lawyer will have all of this information available to paint you in a less than ideal light. In fact, your overall parental ability will be examined in detail. Protect yourself and maximize the amount of time you have with your child by having an experienced lawyer handle the tough questions. Your lawyer can help depict how much more responsible and reliable you have become and how much you have learned from taking responsibility for your less than savory actions.

Child Safety

Divorce and separation from immediate family members can be one of the most stressful experiences ever. Many people do not have healthy coping mechanisms. It is unfortunate that some people choose to make unsafe decisions when they are feeling depressed and tense. Ensuring the safety of your child at all times is a huge consideration in any child custody case. If you are suspicious that your spouse has been drinking and driving with your children or was emotionally or verbally abusive during the exchange, take note. Keeping a record of any concerns you have for your child’s well-being may be a factor in determining future custody arrangements.

Lawyer Liaison

Imagine not having to talk to your estranged spouse during the custody battle. Having a compassionate lawyer you can rely on is an integral part of your success. We understand the process and can answer any questions or concerns you may have along the way. Divorce and custody issues can be difficult waters to navigate. This is even more true if you are dealing with intimidation issues or any form of verbal or emotional abuse. Eliminate your need to communicate with your ex if you prefer by having a reputable lawyer speak on your behalf.

Secure Your Peace Of Mind

Meek Law Firm has a successful track record regarding the numerous child custody cases we have represented in the past. We look forward to helping you settle your family concerns. Hire an attorney for a child custody dispute and secure your peace of mind. Critical things to protect and plan for include:

  • Best Interests of the Child
  • Divided Custody
  • Holiday Visitation
  • Travelling Out of State
  • Financial Obligations (Medical, Dental, Health Insurance, Education Funds, Extracurricular fees, Legal fees etc.)
  • Co-Parenting Plans
  • Consequences If Legal Plans Changed Or Ignored

Understanding your parental rights will help you determine if your custody arrangements are adequate. Knowledge is power. Keep yourself educated throughout the process by speaking with your lawyer as situations arise. Communication is key in order for your lawyer to be able to best represent you.