Estate Planning

Having the right estate plan in place can be very beneficial and offer much more than peace of mind. Estate plans are often used as an effective method to protect assets for you and your loved ones to pass down a legacy. However, estate plans can also be a tool to obtain favorable tax treatment, enhance charitable giving and mitigate the risk of fiduciary litigation.

At North Carolina Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law, our attorneys understand that creating an effective estate plan begins with investing time in each of our clients to get a comprehensive picture of specific needs and circumstances. We know it is critical to take the time to understand our client’s individual long-term goals, tax status, family investment structure, business holdings, and insurance coverage. Once we have gained this understanding of our client's needs and situation, only then can we recommend and implement a tailored course of action that benefits them, and enables them to leave a legacy to their loved ones on their terms.

Our attorneys are well-equipped to assist individuals, families, executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs with designing and implementing estate plans and wealth preservation strategies. Our customized personal estate plans we provide often include the following documents:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Wills
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Guardianships
  • Advance Directives

In addition to providing individuals with personal estate plans, we understand business owners and entrepreneurs need additional planning strategies in order to operate a successful business. Therefore, we work closely with business owners to develop succession planning structures that preserves value and effortlessly transitions control of the business in the event of unexpected illness or death.

At North Carolina Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law, our principal attorney, Jim Hickmon is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. He has worked closely with numerous individuals and business owners and has over 20 years experience in assisting clients in all aspects of estate planning. From complex lifetime and post-mortem issues to estate planning and administration, our attorneys are knowledgeable about all facets of estate matters and can help you make informed decisions about the right estate plan for your needs.

Whether you need assistance in developing an entirely new plan or help with revising a current plan, our attorneys at North Carolina Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law are able to assist you in creating a personalized plan for your needs and wishes. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys, call our office at (704) 248-6325 or complete our online form.

What are the Most Important Components of Every Estate Plan?

First and foremost, determining what the objectives are, and 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. The first question we ask is, “Tell us about your family and what you want it to look like in five, ten, or twenty years?” Determining those objectives early on is essential in crafting the estate plan around those objectives.

Often, clients come in with expectations of how an initial meeting is going to go. They know something about estate planning documents, and they may have heard that they need a will. However, after having an understanding of their needs and desires, we may determine they need an entirely different document.

Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?

Do It Yourself, or “DIY” services have evolved over the years and may work for certain circumstances, but they are still not adequate in most situations. Sometimes clients have objectives they think can be adopted in a fairly easy manner, but there are consequences of certain “do it yourself” types of estate planning that can be detrimental.

All too often we encounter many Do It Yourself estate plans, such as wills and trusts, that are not adequately drafted. They may be ambiguous, contain contradictory terms, or are not executed under the proper formalities required in North Carolina. Sadly these mistakes are found too late after the person passes away and loved ones are left to sort out the details.

With estate planning, if the plan needs to be more complex than leaving everything to a spouse, then to an adult child, you should contact an attorney to help you navigate the process.

How Early Should You Start Estate Planning?

In a perfect world, everyone over the age of 18 should think about the disposition of their assets at the time of death or incapacity. Even though most 18-year-old adults do not have assets to pass on, there are additional factors that should be considered surrounding estate planning.

If you start accumulating wealth of any substantial size, such as a balance in a 401(k) plan or IRA, or the purchase of a home where you are or expect to experience growth in the home’s equity, then it’s a good time to start thinking about estate planning. The initial planning may not be very complex at all. However, it may become more complex over time as assets are acquired, changes in family situations occur, or if the nature of assets changes.

If you’re questioning “when should I do this?” You should have an estate plan when you start developing sufficient assets, or you have family members or individuals you’re responsible for—dependents who would benefit or suffer the consequences of good or bad estate planning.

For more information on Estate Planning Law in North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling us for a confidential consultation at (704) 248-6325, or completing our online form.

If you or your loved one has questions about creating an estate plan, or need an existing plan reviewed and revised, our attorneys at North Carolina Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law are well-equipped to help you navigate through the complexities of estate planning to help you make informed decisions about what type of plan aligns with your best interest. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys, call us at (704) 248-6325 or complete our online form.


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