What Are My Responsibilities Under a Power of Attorney?

What Are My Responsibilities Under a Power of Attorney?

If you have been named as an agent for a loved one under a power of attorney, you have some new legal responsibilities. A power of attorney is a legal document naming another party as an agent – someone who has the legal right to make decisions about money and property on behalf of the person who executed the power of attorney. This agent is also called a fiduciary. There are several types of powers of attorney, ranging from those covering a single transaction, i.e., a wife might sign residential closing documents on behalf of a husband who is unable to attend closing, to an elderly parent worried about becoming unable to care for him or herself. Each power of attorney should specify when the document goes into effect and what responsibilities are covered under the document. If your father (for example) has named you as his agent, and he has reached the point where he is not able to make decisions by himself any longer, it becomes your job to act on his behalf. You have four primary responsibilities under the power of attorney: You must act in your father’s best interests. The power of attorney may outline exactly what role he wants you to play. Make sure you read it carefully. If your father is still able to help, it is a good idea to involve him in decision-making. You must maintain your father’s money and property separately from yours. You do not want there to be any question about your intentions or actions. Money belonging to him should go into accounts in his name, and expenses...
Should I Write Out My Own Will?

Should I Write Out My Own Will?

By David Inabinett, Attorney Clients often ask, “Is it ‘legal’ to write up my own will” or “can I just write in changes to my will?” While a handwritten Will is recognized as “legal” in North Carolina, a June 2017 case decided by the NC Court of Appeals illustrates why that may not be such a good idea. The Matter of the Will of James Paul Allen In The Matter of the Will of James Paul Allen, Mr. Allen had a valid typewritten signed and properly attested will leaving in Article IV a life estate or “lifetime rights” in certain lands to an individual with full ownership in those lands passing to two other people upon the later death of the person given the lifetime right. However, Mr. Allen apparently wrote in the margins of that Will his own handwritten notes saying, “Beginning 7-7-03 do not honor Article IV Void Article IV James Paul Allen.” A dispute arose as to whether there was any legal effect of those handwritten notes since those effectively omitted the life estate and gave all of the land fully to the individual who had previously only been given a lifetime right. The Rules for Handwritten Wills A hand written or “holographic” will must be: Written entirely in the handwriting of the deceased but when all the words appearing on the paper in the handwriting of the deceased are sufficient to constitute a valid holographic will, the fact that other words or printed matter appear thereon not in the handwriting of the deceased, and not affecting the meaning of the words in such handwriting, shall...
BWS Update | June 2017

BWS Update | June 2017

Technology & The Real Estate Closing By Gary J. Bowers, Attorney at Law There is no doubt that technology and modern conveniences touch almost every aspect of our lives. The modern day consumer can purchase almost anything online, and with regard to a real estate loan closing our television promotes how easy it is to apply for a loan online or to close on your loan “faster than a speeding bullet.” At what point must the consumer ask the question, “What quality is being compromised for the sake of instantaneous gratification and a fast real estate closing?” Read more… McNeill to Speak at Piedmont Crossing Join attorney Ryan McNeill at Unity Place at Piedmont Crossing in Thomasville on Tuesday, June 6 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. for Estate Planning Documents Everyone Needs. Many situations can require documents and these situations tend to be unexpected when they involve your care. Learn what documents you need: Will Health care power of attorney Living will Power of attorney Trust The event is free but requires registration. Register by contacting Blair White at 336.474.3605 or bwhite@uchas.org. Happy Father’s Day! Father’s Day is June 18. We wish all the fathers and fathers-to-be out there a wonderful...
Technology and the Real Estate Closing

Technology and the Real Estate Closing

By Gary J. Bowers, Attorney There is no doubt that technology and modern conveniences touch almost every aspect of our lives. The modern day consumer can purchase almost anything online, and with regard to a real estate loan closing our television promotes how easy it is to apply for a loan online or to close on your loan “faster than a speeding bullet.” At what point must the consumer ask the question, “What quality is being compromised for the sake of instantaneous gratification?” We suggest that real estate closings, loan closings and particularly title examinations involved in assuring those acquiring real estate are not to be compromised for the sake of speed and desire to be finished. Speed is not always synonymous with quality and correctness. In my years practicing law in North Carolina, and my years prior to practice assisting attorneys with real estate closings and completing title searches, I have encountered both simple title examinations and extremely complex title examinations. The complexity of the title exam does not discriminate due to the amount of the purchase price, whether it is a cash closing or financed through a loan. Despite the fact that many counties have conveniently provided public records for searching on the internet, every title is different and the time is different. This can be taken for granted by the seller, the realtor, the lender, the buyer, attorneys that do not engage in many real estate transactions, and by your friend who had a transaction that went smoothly in the past. For a title searcher with the goal of performing their task correctly, his or her goal...
BWS Update | May 2017

BWS Update | May 2017

Filing a Claim Against Your Long-Term Care Insurance Policy By Ryan McNeill, Attorney at Law Many financial planning experts recommend purchasing long-term care insurance. Long-term care policies may cover part of the cost of at home health care, assisted living, nursing home care, or some combination of the above, depending on the plan. At the point in time you need to use the coverage – either for a single incident or a permanent change in your health – you must file a claim to receive your benefits. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), in 2015 insurance carriers paid $8.16 billion in long-term care claims to more than a quarter of a million plan holders. In many cases, these claims are filed by family members on behalf of the person needing care. It is good practice to have completed a durable power of attorney and have that on file so the insurance company can legally speak with your representatives. Read more… Estate Planning Seminar Join attorney Ryan McNeill on June 6 at 2 p.m. at Piedmont Crossing United Church Homes and Services for Estate Planning Documents EVERYONE Needs. This free seminar will discuss situations that arise unexpectedly when it is important to have your long-term care documents in place. Ryan will discuss powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, living wills, wills and trusts. Register by contacting Blair White at (336) 474-3605 or bwhite@uchas.org. May is Older Americans Month Aging looks much different in 2017 than it did many years ago, with seniors staying active, remaining independent, working, and staying engaged well into their “golden” years....
Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Two of our elder law attorneys, David Inabinett and Ryan McNeill, were recently interviewed for a video on considerations when choosing the right senior living community. Check out the video...
Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

By Ryan McNeill, Attorney at Law Many financial planning experts recommend purchasing long-term care insurance. Long-term care policies may cover part of the cost of at home health care, assisted living, nursing home care, or some combination of the above, depending on the plan. At the point in time you need to use the coverage – either for a single incident or a permanent change in your health – you must file a claim to receive your benefits. According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), in 2015 insurance carriers paid $8.16 billion in long-term care claims to more than a quarter of a million plan holders. In many cases, these claims are filed by family members on behalf of the person needing care. It is good practice to have completed a durable power of attorney and have that on file so the insurance company can legally speak with your representatives. You may also wish to send them a copy of your health care power of attorney, just to be certain you cover all contingencies. Following these steps may improve the chances of your claim being paid when initially filed: Carefully review the terms of your insurance coverage to determine exactly what services are covered and in what environments. Older policies may restrict coverage to care received in a nursing home and exclude care at an assisted living facility or at-home care. If you have misplaced your copy of the policy, you may request one from the insurance company. Understand how your insurance policy determines your eligibility for benefits. This is called the “benefit trigger.” Your...
BWS Update | April 2017

BWS Update | April 2017

Interest Rates & Spring Home Sales By Gary Bowers, Attorney at Law In mid-March, the Federal Reserve announced a .25% rate increase, the first of what is expected to be three small interest rate increases in 2017. According to NerdWallet, mortgage rates prior to the 2016 election were around 3.75%; after the election, rates began to inch upward in anticipation of rate increases by the Fed. For that reason, yesterday’s announcement did not cause an immediate jump in rates. Rates in North Carolina for a 30-year mortgage are currently over 4.1% (see current NC mortgage rates at Bankrate.com). Experts expect mortgage rates may be in the 4.6 to 4.8% range by the end of the year, though those estimates could be impacted by changes made by the current administration. Read more… BWS Attorneys on SilverLife Attorneys David Inabinett and Ryan McNeill were recently interviewed for a new video series for SilverLife Marketing. The first video, titled Decision Time: Transitioning to an Easier Lifestyle, talks about when moving to a senior living community might be the right decision for you. David and Ryan cover legal topics related to moving. Read David’s article, Legal Considerations When Moving to a Senior Living Community, and watch for the release of the video to see David and Ryan in action! National Autism Awareness Month Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a range of development disabilities and impacts how an individual is able to communicate with others. ASD is classified as a “spectrum” disorder, meaning symptoms may range from very mild to severe. Identifying and treating autism early may result in better outcomes for the child....
Will Interest Rate Increase Impact Spring Home Sales?

Will Interest Rate Increase Impact Spring Home Sales?

In mid-March, the Federal Reserve announced a .25% rate increase, the first of what is expected to be three small interest rate increases in 2017. According to NerdWallet, mortgage rates prior to the 2016 election were around 3.75%; after the election, rates began to inch upward in anticipation of rate increases by the Fed. For that reason, yesterday’s announcement did not cause an immediate jump in rates. Rates in North Carolina for a 30-year mortgage are currently around 4% (see current NC mortgage rates at Bankrate.com). Experts expect mortgage rates may be in the 4.6 to 4.8% range by the end of the year, though those estimates could be impacted by changes made by the current administration. Spring in North Carolina typically sees a jump in home sales. The rate increase is not expected to have a big impact on the market, but may cause potential buyers to re-evaluate the amount of house they can afford. Rates are not expected to decrease in 2017, so anyone looking to buy, sell or refinance may wish to do so early in the year. Seller’s Checklist Here are some things to remember if you are considering selling your home this spring: Look at your home with a “buyers eye.” The half-finished repair job that doesn’t bother you may detract buyers. If there are outstanding maintenance issues, take care of them before you put the house on the market. Clean and declutter to make your house look larger and better. Trim bushes, cut grass and spruce up your yard. A welcoming pot of flowers on the porch is always a good idea. Make...
McDonald Awarded Armed Forces Reserve Medal

McDonald Awarded Armed Forces Reserve Medal

Brinkley Walser Stoner attorney Roy L. McDonald II has been awarded the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with a silver hourglass and “M” device, signifying twenty years of service and mobilization with the U.S. Army Reserve. “We are very proud of Roy’s continuing service to our country and our community,” says Brinkley Walser Stoner managing partner, David Inabinett. Mr. McDonald began his more than thirty years of military service at age seventeen as an infantry private in the United States Marine Corps and currently serves as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate Corps assigned to the 134th Legal Operations Detachment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Brinkley Walser Stoner has been twice recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program, for its support to the national defense, receiving both the Patriot Award and the Above and Beyond Award. Mr. McDonald’s law practice is focused on business law and civil...