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Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney

I have been practicing law since 1985 preparing wills and trusts, as well as all other estate planning and elder law planning documents. I can be highly technical and detail oriented, but always strive to explain things to my clients in plain and simple English, instead of “legalese.”

A Good Listener

Step one for any estate plan is for your lawyer to understand what matters to you. I take the time to
listen to your needs. Estate and elder law planning is not a “one size fits all.” In a legally confidential
context, I will ask you about your family and relationships, about your life insurance and other assets,
to determine if there are any estate tax or probate issues, and to determine what documents are best
suited to your needs. I then tailor an estate plan specific to your situation, which fulfills your needs
and desires.

Simple Wills & Guardianship

A few clients will only need a simple will, so that their desired distribution of assets will occur at their death. If you do not have a will, a state statute dictates where everything goes, and the administration can become much more complex. If you have minor children, a guardianship provision and a minor’s trust will be required, since children under 18 cannot legally inherit any type of property.

Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Medical Directives

I can draft and explain to you powers of attorney, living wills (which involve the ending of life-
sustaining treatment if you are terminally ill), and health care powers of attorney (which include naming
someone to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated).

Trusts Used to Avoid Probate

In most counties in North and South Carolina, probate (the administration of a decedent’s estate at the
courthouse) has become a relatively slow and expensive process. I can draft revocable living trusts to
avoid the probate process entirely. These trusts also have the advantage of making a much smoother
transition in the event of your incapacity or incompetence. As “revocable” trusts, they can be revoked
or changed by you at any time.

Trusts Used to Avoid Estate Taxes

For very large estates, I can advise you regarding legal and ethical estate tax avoidance. This typically involves various types of advanced revocable and irrevocable trusts. I have experience in drafting these advanced trusts, including charitable remainder and charitable lead trusts, GRATs, GRUTs, and charitable foundations.

Elder Law Issues

I have vast experience in elder law planning, which addresses those issues which arise because of
one’s age. Many clients seek to have Medicare and Medicaid pay for their long term care, and protect
their assets from being eroded by high medical or nursing home costs. This can sometimes be
accomplished by various gifting programs, or by placing assets in an irrevocable living trust. However,
because there are complex government regulations pertaining to these arrangements, including a five-
year “lookback” period, they must be approached with caution. For veterans, I also have experience
setting up VA Trusts to maximize the benefits available to a veteran and his or her spouse. Additionally,
questions about guardianship, legal incompetency, and incapacity, as well as living wills and medical
powers of attorney, are all subjects covered in elder law planning.

International Issues

In the event that your estate or trust involves real property, or personal or commercial interests
overseas, I can seamlessly handle your estate planning needs. I am a proud member of the IR Global International Network, based in London, U.K., with over 1,100 legal and accounting professionals in more than 155 jurisdictions worldwide. I can team up with friends in the IR Global network to give you expert local representation, no matter where assets are located.


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