Love giving to Charity? The Charitable Remainder Trust May be Just What You Need

Charitable Remainder Trust

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a friend of mine who has several clients with low-basis, highly appreciated stocks. They were looking to diversify, minimize taxes, provide some additional income, and keep some level of control over their investments. I initially thought a charitable remainder trust would be a great option… And … Read more

Should You use a Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship as an Estate Planning Tool?

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

A joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a way that several people can hold legal title to an asset such as a piece of property, a bank or investment account, or even a car. When two or more people own a bank account or piece of property as joint tenants with right of survivorship, … Read more

Privacy and Estate Planning

privacy and estate planning

I’m amazed at the number of clients I have that have not truly considered the privacy implications of their estate plans. From the dawn of time, humans have been concerned about privacy. Privacy keeps us safe from predators, enemies, and even in some cases, our closest friends. But at the same time, many people forget about … Read more

What is a Power of Attorney and Why is it so Important?

What is a power of attorney

I’ve done a lot of posts on this blog talking about powers of attorney in North Carolina, what they are, why they are important, and why you need to have one. I’ve even talked about some of the pitfalls and mistakes people make with powers of attorney.

I’ve had a number of clients recently that have made some mistakes when it comes to their powers of attorney. And right now I’m in the midst of filing a guardianship for one client because of a faulty power of attorney.

The bottom line is that these mistakes are easily avoided with proper legal counsel and a strong power of attorney. But you need to understand how this document works and how it fits into your overall estate plan.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Here is a quick video I recorded last week to talk about powers of attorney in North Carolina and why this document is so important.

Please don’t take this important document for granted, and don’t assume that just because you found a form document online for free that it will solve all your legal issues.

It won’t.

Having an improper power of attorney is an expensive proposition. Guardianship proceedings can cost upwards of $10,000 to $15,000.

Be smart, get your power of attorney done correctly the first time.

Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me, and Why It Should Be Important to YOU too

Why Estate Planning is so important

Today I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about why estate planning is so important to me, and why it should be important to you too. So many people just pass off estate planning as something they need to do, but never actually get around to doing it.

Frankly, this is a terrible mistake and one that is easily avoidable. Check out this video to learn more about what I mean.

Here’s a full transcript of the video…

Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me

Hey there. Good morning, gang. This is Jim Hart here from the Hart Law Firm, and I thought I’d do a quick video today to talk about the three Ps of estate planning, and why they’re so important to you. The reason this is important is because I was talking to a potential client yesterday, and they scheduled a meeting with me. Then they canceled really quick, and that always … It’s always interesting to me, because if you don’t have an estate plan in place, and you’ve got family, you’ve got kids, sometimes I feel like people that don’t do that maybe don’t understand all the full benefits. I don’t fault them, I don’t fault this person for canceling the appointment. If that’s you out there, I don’t fault you for that. It took me a long time to do my first estate plan, but once we had our firstborn child, that was when we really decided we needed to get things in order, we need to get this estate plan together.

Estate planning is really important and a lot of people don’t really understand why. They think that something’s going to happen to them someday, and that’s okay, their family’s going to be able to figure it out. It’ll be easy, it’ll be no problems. I’ll give you another example. I had somebody call me yesterday who, their brother is disabled and was living with another family member. Their brother was actually on the deed to the house, and the other family member passed away. The brother was basically evicted by another family member from the house, even though he had legal claim to the house. I’m confident that the person that passed away, that’s not what they wanted, but because they didn’t have an estate plan in place, these type of things happen sometimes. What we’re trying to do with estate planning is really prevent any type of conflict from happening later on in the future with your loved ones over you, and over the stuff that you have, and things like that.

That kind of ties into what we want to talk about today, the three Ps of estate planning. The first P of estate planning is people. By people, I mean it’s the people that you love and care about and want to see benefit from your estate plan. Because honestly, the estate planning that we do, the estate planning that I’ve done for my family, and the estate planning that you’re going to do for your family is not really about you, and it’s not about me. It’s about the people that we love and care so much about, because we want to make sure that we leave a legacy to them that is going to make their life easier.

The last thing you want to do, I’m sure, is when you either become incapacitated or pass on, that’s a big key distinction too. A lot of people don’t understand that estate planning has to do with incapacity, not just when somebody passes away. When that happens, you want to make sure that the people you love are taken care of, and that they don’t have to deal with more heartache and tragedy than they’re already dealing with, because they just lost you. That’s the first thing I ask people to think about, is people.

The second P of estate planning is property. The property is the property you own. It could be real estate, it could be investments, it could be retirement accounts, it could be life insurance, it could be your car. It could be anything that you own, personal property as well. It could be anything you own that you want to make sure finds it’s way to the right people after something happens to you, or is protected from predators after something happens to you.

That’s another thing that we can do with estate planning and incapacity planning that most people don’t realize is we can protect against predators such as … In the event that you leave property to somebody who ends up getting divorced, who ends up filing bankruptcy, who has creditors that are coming after them for whatever reason, maybe they’re financially responsible, who has a drug addiction or alcohol problem, or perhaps they just were good people, made a mistake, and were driving down the street one day and accidentally hit somebody and killed them. So you want to protect against lawsuits as well. Those are all some of the things that you want to protect against that we talk about in terms of property, What we’re going to do with the property is make sure the property goes to the people we want it to go to, and is protected from those predators. So that’s kind of two Ps in one. A little bonus there for you.

The final P in the whole estate planning process is what’s called planning. Planning is how we tie the people and the property together, and bring it all together and make sure that everything happens the way you want it to happen. That’s one of the things that we can help with here at our law firm, is we help you protect the people that you love, to make sure they get the property that you care so much about, in the way that you want it to happen so that you plan ahead for how that’s going to look.

Those are the three Ps of estate planning. That’s all I got for today. I hope you have a great day, folks, and I will catch you again sometime very soon. Take care. Bye bye.


Why Updating Beneficiary Designations Does NOT Count as Estate Planning

beneficiary designations

Today I did a quick Facebook Live Video to discuss something that is really ticking me off lately. Let me be clear – just because you have updated beneficiary designations does NOT mean you have a good estate plan in place! Watch the whole video for my reasons why… Full Transcript – Why Beneficiary Designations … Read more