Lassiter & Sperati, PLLC
Schedule Your Initial Consultation 252-557-4582
Lassiter & Sperati, PLLC
Schedule Your Initial Consultation 252-557-4582

Rocky Mount North Carolina Legal Blog

Do these things before closing on a new home

If you're in the process of buying a home in North Carolina, it's safe to assume that you're looking forward to the day when you finally get your hands on the keys.

As excited as you may be, you don't want to get ahead of yourself. There are many important steps to take as you inch toward closing day, including the following:

  • Focus on any contingencies: From an inspection contingency to a financing contingency, you must get these in order as quickly as possible. For example, if you have a home inspection contingency, make sure any agreed upon repairs have been taken care of before your closing.
  • Contact your lender: Unless you are buying the home with cash, your mortgage must go through underwriting before you arrive at closing. Start on this process as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to make any necessary adjustments.
  • Review your HUD-1 settlement statement: Also known as a closing disclosure, this breaks down everything from your mortgage payment to the terms and conditions of the loan. If you spot something that doesn't add up, ask your lender for an explanation before closing.
  • Conduct a final walk-through: This is your opportunity to double check on the condition of the home. It's also a good time to make sure all agreed upon repairs are taken care of and that the seller has left everything behind as noted in the contract (such as appliances and window treatments).
  • Gather all the necessary documentation: Your agent and lender can help you get everything in order, but some of the things you'll need include photo ID, home inspection report, a copy of the real estate contract and proof of home insurance.

Aretha Franklin's holographic wills may cause more trouble

It has been in the news of late that the loved ones of the late Aretha Franklin, the famed Queen of Soul, actually did have three handwritten wills hidden in various locations around her home. Until this discovery, the thought was that she had no estate plan.

Of these three wills, two of them, dating from 2010, were found locked in a cabinet. The remaining will, although written four years later in 2014, was found hidden in the cushions of a couch.

Popular foreclosure program winding down

Several years ago, at the height of the economic crisis, North Carolina received federal money through the "Hardest Hit Program," a government-backed relief effort to help those in this state left in dire economic straits because of the so-called Great Recession. With this federal money, the state set up the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund, a state-run program that was able to offer financial support to unemployed North Carolina residents who needed help paying their home loans. The program helped families keep their residential real estate out of a foreclosure situation.

States had to spend the federal funds by 2020. The money for this Fund seem to be drying up about on schedule, even though Congress contributed additional funds to the initiative in 2015. Over its life, the Fund helped well over 25,000 North Carolina residents hang on to their homes, either through direct aid of up to $36,000 or by providing funds that allowed for a form of mortgage modification called a reduction recast.

Overview of the Medicaid look-back period

Previous posts on this blog have touched on the fact that couples in North Carolina who are advancing in years may need to think about how to plan for a long-term stay in a nursing home or other facility.

Because private insurance is expensive and many people just do not have the means to both afford their own late-in-life care and maintain a legacy for their children, many residents of the Rocky Mount area may discover that they are going to have to rely on the federal Medicaid program to cover their extended care.

What is a Drug Recognition Expert?

Many people in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, may not know it, but they can be on the receiving end of a driving while impaired charge even if they have not had a drop to drink. The reason is that, in North Carolina, a person can be charged with DWI for what the law calls an impairing substance.

An impairing substance includes any illegal drug, as well as any other medicine, lawfully prescribed, that can affect a person's mental or physical ability to drive. A combination of drugs and alcohol can also be an impairing substance.

What to prepare for during probate

When a loved one passes away, you may find yourself in the middle of the probate process. Even if you're not the executor of the will, you could still play a major part in the way things unfold. For example, this holds true if you're a beneficiary.

An understanding of what happens during the probate process in North Carolina allows you to plan accordingly. While the process never unfolds the same way twice, there are a few things you should expect:

  • Collection of all property: The executor will collect all property of the decedent, such as bank accounts, real estate and other valuables.
  • Payment of debts and taxes: The executor will also pay all debts, taxes and claims owed by the estate. For example, if the person is overdue on their taxes, this will be settled during the probate process.
  • Collection of all rights to income: For instance, this can include the collection of any dividends and/or past due paychecks.
  • Settlement of disputes: This doesn't always move to the forefront, but it's always a possibility. For example, a family member may claim that the decedent was improperly influenced into creating a will that left them out. Any dispute will add time to the process.
  • Distribution of remaining property: The final step is the distribution of any remaining property to the heirs listed in the will. After this step, the end is near.

Some North Carolina residents have complex estate planning needs

It often pays off for people to have some sort of estate plan in place. Even if they are of modest wealth, there are still some concrete steps they can take to make sure their assets are passed on to their loved ones. Moreover, younger parents who have children at home will want to use an estate plan to appoint a guardian for their children should the parents pass away.

For some residents of this state, however, estate planning promises to be a more complicated process. For instance, many owners of small, closely-held businesses will have to determine whether and how their business will continue to operate when they die or are incapacitated.

Repeat violations can cost drivers their licenses

Like other states, North Carolina has a program under which the state's Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver's operating license for repeat traffic infractions, including infractions that are not criminal in nature.

For instance, North Carolina has a point system under which certain traffic violations get assessed as points against one's license. In theory, more serious traffic violations will lead to more points getting assessed.

Overview of a short sale for lenders

There is a lot of information available about how a short sale works. Much of this information is geared toward either a homeowner who is trying to avoid a foreclosure or a would-be buyer of residential real estate.

The other party who has an interest in the short sale option is the bank which holds the mortgage to the property. In this respect, and as this blog has mentioned, our law office represents banks who are evaluating their options for how to handle a loan that is under distress.

For truckers, under .08 BAC can still create a big legal mess

Like all but one of the other states, North Carolina's state law allows officers and prosecutors to charge a Rocky Mount resident with drunk driving automatically if they test for .08 or greater blood alcohol content, assuming the test was properly administered. While not impossible, someone who has under a .08 BAC is less likely to be accused of drunk driving and, thus, less likely to lose his or her license.

Such is not the case for commercial drivers, including truckers and drivers of other large commercial vehicles. While they may not face criminal charges, if they have .04 or more BAC, drivers can still face the loss of their ability to drive commercial vehicles. One important note, however, is that this lower BAC applies only when a person is operating a commercial vehicle.

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Rocky Mount Office
120 North Franklin St.
Suite A
Rocky Mount, NC 27804

Phone: 252-557-4582
Fax: 252-972-9822
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Rocky Mount Office
P.O. Box 4307
Rocky Mount, NC 27803

Phone: 252-557-4582
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