The Estate, Probate, & Inheritance Lawyer North Carolina Trusts
If you need help opening an estate after the death of a loved one or are concerned about your inheritance rights in an estate, Laskody Law Office can help. We assist people in all parts of NC with:
- Estate administration (probate)
- Estate disputes and litigation (will contests & interpretation, breach of fiduciary duty)
- Avoiding disinheritance (spousal elective shares)
An Estate Administration & Probate Lawyer Will Make Your Job Easier
After someone dies, their property is passed to their heirs through a formal legal process called estate administration or probate. This process includes lots of rules, deadlines, paperwork, and accountings. These rules and procedures must be followed whether there is a will or when someone dies without a will.
If the person who died left no will, then the court will follow intestate succession laws in order to find out who will be the beneficiaries of the estate and how much will they get. “Intestate” is a legal term that means dying without a will. In such a case, the surviving spouse will have the priority to become the administrator (also called “personal representative”) of the estate.
When it comes to NC Intestate laws regarding children, minor kids can be beneficiaries, but they can’t get their share in their name until they are 18. If a deceased person had one child, then the surviving spouse inherits the first $60,000 of the decedent’s personal property, half of the intestate real estate, and half of the remaining assets. The child inherits half of the intestate real estate and the remaining intestate personal property. If there was more than one child, then the surviving spouse inherits the first $60,000 of the decedent’s personal property, one-third of the intestate real estate, and one-third of the remaining assets. The children split the remaining share of intestate real estate and the remaining intestate personal property.
We are familiar with the probation law process. Laskody Law can help you navigate each step of the intestate inheritance process and make it as easy as possible for our clients.
Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Estate Litigation Lawyer
Are you concerned that there is a mistake or foul play related to an estate? If so, it is important to talk with an experienced estate litigation lawyer. The sooner the better because it can be hard to recover assets that are mishandled or improperly distributed. It is important to understand the legal situation and begin investigation quickly.
At Laskody Law Office we protect the rights of heirs in estates. Sometimes this is as simple as reviewing and auditing the estate file and communicating with the executor or attorney for the estate. In other cases, it is necessary to remove the executor or administrator of the estate.
Turn to an Inheritance Lawyer North Carolina to Stop Disinheritance
The North Carolina Elective Share law protects spouses against disinheritance. As a top inheritance lawyer in NC, attorney Lee Laskody helps his clients get their fair share of the property, including real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, and life insurance benefits.
Finding out that a deceased loved one has left you out of their will during their estate planning process can be devastating, but thankfully, you have options. Laskody Law Office, PC will fight to protect you against disinheritance and ensure you receive a share of an estate.
In North Carolina, a state statute exists to protect the surviving spouse from being disinherited by the decedent (the person who died). The elective share law will give the surviving spouse a portion of the property that was owned or controlled by the decedent – for example, land, houses, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other types of assets. The surviving spouse may be entitled to as much as half of the assets, depending on the length of the marriage.
The amount of the elective share is different and depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Although the formula for calculating the share is simplified, many things shouldn’t be overlooked, including continuing estate planning and marriages that lasted more than one of the benchmark years.
Spouses can also waive the Elective Share rights. However, that has to be done before or during the marriage, and they have to consent to the waiver in writing. There are also partial waivers, so it’s best to discuss your options with a qualified lawyer.
If you want to protect your family, your finances, and your legacy, having a North Carolina inheritance lawyer on your side is essential. Attorney Lee Laskody has the expertise and knowledge to answer any questions you may have regarding NC inheritance and elective share law. No matter your circumstances, our law office will listen attentively to your story and help you and your loved ones begin moving forward.
We treat clients like family
Easy To Reach Clear
My clients are in the difficult situation of grieving a loved one, and having to deal with a legal estate process. Some learn they may be cut out of the estate. This is often a matter of financial survival for our clients. There are laws to protect surviving spouses from disinheritance, and it is so satisfying to see my clients receive their fair share of the estate.
Practicing since: 1998
Licensed in: North Carolina
Law school: UNC-Chapel Hill
Memberships: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, North Carolina Bar Association – Fiduciary Litigation Section, Orange County Bar Association
From Murphy to Manteo: Estate, Probate, and Family Inheritance Lawyer in North Carolina
We take cases in all 100 counties in NC. The same North Carolina laws apply to cases in all counties, although there is local variation in procedural details.
When you need an attorney to open an estate, for estate litigation, to protect your rights in an estate, or to avoid disinheritance through an elective share proceeding, we make it easy to hire an experienced lawyer. Most consultations can be done using video conferencing or by phone, so you do not have to travel to our office. For more complex matters we can come to you.
Avoiding Family Disinheritance in North Carolina
If you’ve discovered that you’ve been disinherited by your spouse in NC, you do not have to sit back and let it happen. With the right inheritance attorney on your side, you can regain or retain the family assets that are rightfully owed to you.
Case Study: $174,500 Received
Our client was not included in his wife’s will. His wife had children from a previous marriage, who would get everything, including the marital residence. However, our client was on a modest fixed income, and losing his home would be a financial hardship. We filed an Elective Share petition for our client. Because of that, he received $174,500 in distributions. Obviously, this made a big difference for our client. We were delighted for him.
** This is an example; results depend on the particular facts of your situation **
Understanding North Carolina Spousal Inheritance Rights
There are legal protections to help protect you upon your spouse’s death. This is known as North Carolina’s elective share law. Its purpose is to prevent spouses from being treated unfairly under the established will. Elective share means a percentage of the spouse’s assets and property will be left to the surviving spouse, regardless of what the will provides.
It is not something that often comes into play unless the spouse is being treated unfairly by being left with less than the amount mandated under North Carolina law. The amount that should be left to the husband or wife is based on the length of the marriage.
The surviving husband or wife must be given a certain percentage of the spouse’s assets as outlined under the law. The following are the percentages under NC state law:
For a husband and wife who are married for five years or less, the surviving spouse will receive 15% of the total assets.
When a husband and wife are married for at least five years but under ten, the surviving spouse is entitled to 25% of the assets. If the husband and wife are married for at least ten years but under fifteen, the surviving spouse receives 33%.
If the husband and wife are married fifteen years or more, the surviving spouse is entitled to 50% of the assets of the deceased spouse.
State law requires the surviving husband or wife to receive at least this much of the assets, but a spouse may choose to give their husband or wife more than what they are entitled to under the law.
Despite the law, some people still choose to give their husband or wife less then they should have received by the law. This is especially true for extremely large estates or if they have children from previous marriages. This also can occur when there is a family business.
An Inheritance Dispute Lawyer Explains the Elective Share Law
The elective share law is meant to prevent a decedent from disinheriting a surviving husband or wife by requiring a certain percentage of the decedent’s estate or net assets to be left to their spouse upon their death. This means that a surviving spouse is entitled to inherit a portion of the deceased spouse’s total assets, such as investment accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real estate property. If the deceased spouse failed to pass enough of these assets and property along to the surviving spouse, then the elective share law can be used to change the estate plan.
However, bear in mind that elective share is not awarded automatically. Instead, a surviving spouse has to file a request. Any surviving spouse who wishes to use their rights under the elective share law needs to do it in a timely manner or they may only receive what is in their partner’s will. They have to make the claim within six months of the time the letters of administration are issued.
Contact a top-rated inheritance attorney at Laskody Law Office for representation to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under North Carolina state law. You can set up an initial consultation to learn more about our services today!
Let Us Defend Your Rights Under NC Inheritance Laws
If you do not receive part of an estate you believed you were entitled to in NC, you may need a probate lawyer to intervene in the probate process to protect your rights. The term probate has two meanings, one being accepting a will as the proper will, and the other being the estate process of collecting estate assets, paying claims, paying a federal estate tax and other debts, and making distributions to heirs.
Bear in mind that creditors have a priority over the beneficiaries and their rights to distributed property. Creditors may need to receive an official notification of the deceased’s passing, so they can determine the amount of debt that must be paid.
You may wonder what items or property passes through the probate process under NC inheritance laws. In most cases, the decedent’s physical, also called tangible property passes through the estate. This is all the stuff: household items, collectibles, and vehicles. The estate may or may not include monetary assets, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and similar assets, depending on how those accounts were set up. Similarly, real estate, like land and houses, may or may not be included in the estate, depending upon how the land is titled and the terms of the will.
Some assets do not pass through the estate but instead, pass directly to a beneficiary or co-owner. Typical examples of this:
Property co-owned with a “right of survivorship,” meaning that it becomes the property of the co-owner who is still living. This may include real estate, bank accounts, and investment accounts.
Assets that have a death beneficiary. This may include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, joint accounts, and annuities.
Land, houses, and other real estate are usually not part of probate estate unless the will states otherwise or they must be sold to pay estate debts.
The elected Clerk of Superior Court acts as the probate judge in the County in which the deceased spouse was a resident. Elected clerks and their assistants hold most estate hearings and preside over most estate cases. If a will’s validity is challenged in a proceeding, the proceeding will be heard by a Superior Court judge.
If you need help opening an estate, or if you are concerned about your rights in an estate, the trusted team at Laskody Law Office can guide you in the right direction and open a case for you. Call our law firm today at (919) 376-2361 to schedule an initial consultation.