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

Creating an estate plan for one's health care needs

Rocky Mount, North Carolina, residents may think of estate planning as something that pertains to what happens to a person's property after he or she dies. While this is true, another important aspect to estate planning involves planning for a time in which a person can no longer make medical decisions for herself, even if those decisions involve life or death.

There are a couple of documents a person may use in this respect. The first is formally referred to as an advance directive may commonly be called a living will, even though it is not really a will in the legal sense of the term.

Common reasons people challenge wills

The term probate actually refers to the entire court process of divvying up the assets of a person after that person's death.

However, when many Rocky Mount, North Carolina residents refer to a will being stuck in probate, they may be referring to situations in which a disgruntled family member or even a third party like a charity challenges a person's will, alleging that the will is invalid.

Why am I being expected to buy title insurance?

Although title insurance is technically optional, many would-be buyers of homes in the Rocky Mount, North Carolina, area may have to fork over the money for a policy, usually at the insistence of the bank who is offering the mortgage.

It is actually not always a bad idea to obtain title insurance. While one might not think about it, or even care to, given the way our state determines ownership, it is fairly likely for mistakes or oversights to happen that could mean a person does not legally own all of the property she thinks she purchased.

Important components of an estate plan

Estate planning is a topic that many people don't like to think about. However, all adults must ensure that they have this taken care of. The last thing that your family members need when you pass away is the stress of dividing everything. Your estate plan does a lot more than that. It can also set up a plan for what is going to happen if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

There are several things that you need to include in your estate plan. Each serves a specific purpose. As you go through this list, you might find that you don't need some but that you do need others.

  • Will: Your will outlines who is going to receive your assets. You won't cover anything that is being transferred by another method in the estate plan. When you create the will, ensure that it is done properly so that it will be valid when you pass away.
  • Trusts: You can put assets into trusts to transfer them to others upon your death. There are other benefits, depending on the type of trusts you establish. A special needs trust, for example, can provide for an heir without impacting their eligibility for need- or asset-based programs. Other trusts, namely irrevocable ones, can protect the assets from creditor claims.
  • Guardianship: A guardianship is critical for a parent who has minor children. This sets up a plan for who is going to care for the kids if both parents pass away. You should discuss the designation with the person who is named to ensure they are willing and able to handle this task.
  • Powers of attorney: The powers of attorney place someone else in charge of making financial and medical decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself. You can name the same person for both areas. However, you don't have to. Think about who can handle each set of decisions and plan accordingly.
  • Letter of intent: Your letter of intent isn't a legally binding message. Instead, it is meant to help your beneficiaries and executor to know more about your estate plan. You can write out your reasoning for the decisions you make, provide information about where specific accounts are held and note the location of important paperwork like deeds or insurance documents.
  • Beneficiary designation: Some of the assets that you own are governed by the payable on death designations. You don't include these in the estate plan, but you can leave a list for the people who will handle your estate. The assets impacted are ones like bank, investment and retirement accounts, as well as life insurance policies.

We help drivers minimize the consequences of tickets

Previous posts on this blog have talked about how even non-criminal traffic violations can be serious affairs, especially for motorists who hold a commercial license.

For one, certain traffic violations can lead to one's losing her ability to operate a commercial vehicle, even if these violations otherwise would only result in a fine and points on one's license.

More complications with commercial traffic violations

A previous post on this blog talked about how what would for a private motorist probably be just a traffic ticket can be a serious affair for a commercial driver who operates trucks or other vehicles for a living.

That post pointed that in addition to facing consequences from their employer, who may have to pay higher insurance premiums because of the driver's traffic offenses, a commercial operator can lose his or her credentials for a time even over violations that seem relatively innocuous or, at worst, like one-time mistakes any driver could make.

What can I do now to keep my estate from languishing in probate?

It might well be said that it is not probate itself that Rocky Mount, North Carolina, residents dread but rather the idea that, after their deaths, their loved ones are going to be waiting years, and spending a lot of money, time and emotional energy, while their estates get processed by a court.

However, even if it is otherwise best for a person to expose their estate to probate, say by having a simple will instead of a trust or other document, there are still ways to make sure the process goes as efficiently as possible.

For commercial drivers, traffic offenses are serious affairs

Even for someone who does not drive for a living, a traffic ticket can spell hundreds of dollars in additional insurance premiums and can also have other consequences.

However, for commercial drivers, even one traffic ticket can be a career-killer. In many cases, even if they commit a violation in their own vehicles and on their own time, a trucker's record of violations spells higher insurance premiums for his or her employer, and that, in turn, might not be a price an employer is willing to pay to keep the trucker on staff.

Fighting reckless driving charges may be in your best interest

There are quite a few people who mistakenly believe that the only driving defenses worth fighting against are drunk or drugged driving charges. In reality, there are many kinds of traffic violations that can leave you in a legally precarious position.

Any sort of traffic violation that the courts or law enforcement could consider reckless driving may well warrant a defense. After all, reckless driving is more than just a traffic ticket. It is a misdemeanor offense that can result in fines and even jail time. North Carolina has a reputation for very strict enforcement of traffic laws, so taking a proactive approach is probably smart.

We offer assistance to executors after a loved one's death

Unless one's loved one took several steps to avoid it, a resident of Rocky Mount, North Carolina may find herself in the position of being an executor of a close friend or relative's estate. While this will involve several important responsibilities, this need not be an unduly stressful or complicated endeavor.

Having been in the business of estate planning and probate for over a century, our law office can help a North Carolina executor work through the steps of the probate process. While hopefully the deceased person will have left a will, we can still guide an executor if they are appointed under the laws of the state.

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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
Rocky Mount Law Office Map

Rocky Mount Office
P.O. Box 4307
Rocky Mount, NC 27803

Phone: 252-557-4582
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