Firm principal Jim Hickmon is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Our Firm assists families, executives and entrepreneurs with designing and implementing personal estate planning and wealth preservation strategies.
Our Firm’s estate planning process starts with investing the time to learn about each client’s long-term goals, family situation, investment structure, business holdings, tax status and insurance coverages to ensure we understand the comprehensive picture before recommending and implementing a course of action. Each estate plan is customized to each client’s individual circumstances and may include wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney and advance directives.
Our attorneys may also recommend estate planning structures designed to protect assets, achieve favorable tax treatment, enhance charitable giving or mitigate fiduciary litigation risk. Our estate planning attorneys also work closely with business owners to review and develop business succession planning structures to preserve value and transition control in the event of unexpected illness or death.
What Exactly Is Estate Planning And When Do We Need It?
Estate planning encompasses a wide variety of subject matter, from how your assets may be titled and who is the beneficiary of your insurance to IRAs and 401(k)s, to the creation of business entities, the establishment of buy-sell agreements, the creation of trusts and gifting during your lifetime. The process allows you, rather than a state’s intestate succession laws, to decide who’s going to inherit your property at your death. Estate planning can be an emotionally charged process for a lot of people…Read More
What Are the Most Important Components That Should Be Part of Everyone’s Estate Plan?
Determining what the objectives are, implementing a plan that meets those objectives in a way that conforms to the laws of the tax code and treasury regulations is important when planning any estate. To accomplish this, our approach is to sit down to listen to the client. The first question we ask is, “Tell us about your family and what do you want it to look like in five, ten, or twenty years?” Determining those objectives early on is important, then we can craft the estate plan around those objectives…Read More
How Often Should I Review My Estate Planning Documents?
In a perfect world, you should review your estate planning documents every time there is a life event, such as a, Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce, or Retirement. You also want to review them with the acquisition or sale of a significant asset, like that of a business. These are times to pull out your estate planning documents and review them…Read More
What Happens In The Administration Of An Estate Or Trust When Someone Dies Who Had Proper Estate Planning Documents In Place Versus Someone Who Did Not?
We can demonstrate the importance of estate planning by comparing two estates with different approaches to estate planning. On one side of the continuum, we have an individual who has assets but no estate planning. On the other end of the continuum, we’ll have someone who has assets of the exact same nature, but they do have a well-thought-out nor properly drafted estate plan… Read More
What Happens If Somebody Dies With Property But No Will?
In my experience, it is a common assumption between spouses that at the death of the first spouse to die, the surviving spouse will inherit all the deceased’s property. This is usually not the case. If the individual or the deceased spouse has any children, whether from the first marriage or by the marriage to the surviving spouse, the property is not going to go entirely to the surviving spouse. Real estate, for example, would be any real estate that is not owned jointly with rights of survivorship between the two spouses and is not otherwise owned by an entity—like a trust or a closely held business. In that instance, one-half of the real property is going to go to the surviving spouse and the other one-half interest will go to the child(ren) of the deceased…Read More