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Pandemics & Legal Considerations

Pandemics & Legal Considerations

We are living in an unprecedented time, facing a virus that we cannot see whose impact is being felt across the globe. We are hearing advice from all corners (some good, some bad). Most of us are coping with daily life while trying to work from home, educate our children until online learning options are available or they return to their classrooms, and maintain physical distance from friends and loved ones. As we watch the news, it seems like the situation changes hourly. Knowing this is temporary and things will improve helps. County, state and federal officials are working to manage and direct responses to the pandemic, and we see true heroes daily as most everyone pitches in to help. We thank the first responders, healthcare workers, truck drivers, delivery teams, and employees of essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies. There are other heroes behind the scenes taking small steps to help – from people donating blood to help address the blood shortage, to teachers checking in on their kids, to those checking daily on an elderly neighbor with no local family. There are too many to list here, but know we appreciate all of you. We wanted to share some thoughts around the pandemic and these challenging times: Take care of yourself and your loved ones. The global scale of the pandemic should make us all recognize health or a long life are never guaranteed. If you do not have a will, advance directives, or other estate plans in place, now is an excellent time to take care of this vital task. Much of this work can...
COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

As of March 26, 2020 Legal providers have been labeled as an essential business so our office will remain open and operating with our regular hours.  Some of the precautions we are taking include spacing out appointments to have fewer people in the office at one time; a drop box right inside our door for the delivery of documents; and we’re offering the option for virtual or telephone appointments if you would like to schedule one. For various reasons some of us may be working remotely during this time.  If you call to reach us be sure and leave a message and your call will be returned within 24 hours. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause as we work to comply with the recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  As of March 16,2020 The health and well-being of our employees and clients is our highest priority. In light of recommendations from NCDHHS and CDC, we are asking that if you are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, please avoid coming into the offices, even to deliver or pick up documents. Of course, please avoid coming into our offices for the safety of others if you are confirmed to have COVID-19 or have a family member at home that is confirmed to have COVID-19. We will be rescheduling matters that are not time sensitive. Our website’s “contact us” page and email will be the most efficient way to reach us if it becomes necessary for our team to work from home. You may also leave a message at our main...
Do You Have Enough Auto Insurance?

Do You Have Enough Auto Insurance?

By Roy L. McDonald, II, Attorney at Law Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) cause more than 30,000 deaths each year and are a top ten cause of death among people aged 1-54.  In 2017, a total of 275,067 MVAs occurred on North Carolina roadways, an increase of 9,000 from the previous year.  A total of 81,865 North Carolina MVAs resulted in an injury and 1,297 resulted in a fatality. The average economic cost of a non-fatal disabling injury in a MVA is $61,600.00.  The average economic cost of a death resulting from a MVA is $1,130,000.  The average cost of a new car is $36,718.00.  A fully loaded 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Premier Plus retails for more than $75,000.00. Not having enough automobile insurance could cause you to have personal financial responsibility for your own or someone else’s bodily injury or property damage after a MVA, so it is important that you have the right kind and the right amount of automobile insurance coverage. Liability Coverage Liability coverage protects you if you cause a MVA.  It is divided into bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage.  Bodily injury coverage is separated into per person and per accident limits.  You are legally required to carry a minimum of $30,000.00 per person/$60,000.00 per accident in bodily injury coverage.  This means that if you have only the required minimum amount of bodily injury coverage and cause a MVA your policy will pay no more than $30,000.00 to each person injured.  This also means that if more than one person is injured, your policy will pay no more than $60,000.00 among all the people...
Three Questions to Ask Before You Start a New Business

Three Questions to Ask Before You Start a New Business

Bradley Hunt| Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. The idea of running your own business, not punching the clock, and not having to answer to a superior is what most people dream of. However, it is not as easy as it seems. To operate a successful business or company there are guidelines, procedures, and laws that you need to adhere to. Name selection, business structure, and licensing are important elements in starting any new business. What Name Should I Choose? A name is more than just a name when starting a new business. The name of your new business is the first thing customers will notice. We recommend coming up with several names in case your first (or second) choice is not available. New business owners don’t always consider that there are state and federal requirements to meet or that someone else may have already registered the name you wanted. The North Carolina Secretary of State website offers guidelines for choosing a business name: “An entity name shall not contain language stating or implying that the entity is organized for any purpose other than a purpose that is lawful and that is permitted by its formation documents. (i.e., Articles of Incorporation)The name must be distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State from the name of any other entity on the business registry. By Administrative Code, the business entity suffix of the name (i.e., Inc., LLC) is not used to determine distinguishability on the records.An entity name shall not contain words offensive to accepted standards of decency.” From a practical perspective, you may not want to choose a...
Direct Impact: The Americans with Disabilities Act

Direct Impact: The Americans with Disabilities Act

By Will Miller, Attorney at Law Most people do not give much daily thought to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I know I didn’t before I lost my eyesight. However, as I adjusted to life with blindness, I learned quite a bit about the intent and implementation of the ADA. The law was enacted in 1990 and has had many amendments throughout the years. The ADA is intended to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities across a wide spectrum. Some of the obvious things we see on a daily basis include buildings with ramps and automated door openers, accessible parking spaces, hotels with walk-in showers and safety railings, and braille lettering on elevator keypads. Less obvious are requirements related to communication and employment. What Does the ADA Cover? The Americans with Disabilities Act has five primary sections, or Titles, that address different aspects: Title I: Employment Title I has the largest impact on most businesses. This section of the law prohibits discrimination during the application and hiring process, training, and firing; it also requires businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations” for job applicants and current employees with a disability. (More on what employers need to know below.) Title II: Public Services Local, state and federal government agencies must ensure programs, services and activities they provide are accessible to individuals with a disability. (This section does not apply to business owners.) Title III: Public Accommodations This Title applies to all business owners and non-profits, regardless of the number of employees. It may also impact your Homeowner’s Association if you have a clubhouse, pool, or other facilities used by the public....
Nelson Participates in “Speed Coaching” for LAUNCH Thomasville

Nelson Participates in “Speed Coaching” for LAUNCH Thomasville

Program creates foundation for good business practices and growth Lexington, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner, PLLC, attorney E. Drew Nelson will meet with LAUNCH Thomasville participants for a “speed coaching” session on February 11, 2020. The coaching session will allow LAUNCH members to ask questions of area business professionals as they begin their eight-week training programs. “LAUNCH Thomasville is an exciting opportunity for current and new business owners to develop a strong base upon which to grow their businesses,” says Nelson. “When the DCCC Small Business Center Director reached out to ask if I would help, I immediately said yes. Being a Davidson County native, I know how important it is to support our local businesses.” Nelson graduated from Elon University with a BA in history/sociology before attending the Elon University School of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree. His practice is concentrated in Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Estate Administration. LAUNCH Thomasville is offered by the DCCC Small Business Center, the City of Thomasville, the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce, and others. The T. Austin Finch Foundation is funding the program. Fifteen businesses were selected to participate at no charge. At the end of the program, they will pitch their business plans; the top two plans will win prize money to invest in their businesses. Brinkley Walser Stoner prides itself on providing new and cutting edge legal counsel built on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Brinkley Walser Stoner’s attorneys are first and foremost counselors, advising clients on their legal rights and options for appropriate solutions. Practice areas include business law, real...
Businesses Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance Beware!

Businesses Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance Beware!

Ryan McNeil|Generally speaking, in North Carolina an employer must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for its employees if it regularly employs three or more people. This coverage kicks in if the employee is injured on the job. Some small business owners do not realize they must provide the required coverage for their employees. Others make a conscious decision to avoid the related expense hoping they are not caught. What is Workers’ Compensation? The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (§ 97, the “Act”) provides protection for employees injured by a specific event, afflicted by occupational disease, or killed during the course of their employment. This Act outlines the procedures the employee must follow to report the injury to the employer and the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC, the state agency responsible for administering the Act). The Act also details required compensation for medical expenses and lost wages during the recovery period, payment for a permanent disability, or the award for lost wages and burial expenses to beneficiaries if the individual is killed on the job. The Three Employee Rule The biggest risk for small business owners is not understanding the three employee rule that triggers the requirement to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. Consider these requirements: You must include part-time employees in the count.Use caution when you classify someone as an independent contractor and issue a 1099.  If the North Carolina Industrial Commission determines the individual should be properly categorized as an employee and not a contract worker, then you may be penalized for not having workers’ compensation insurance.Owners of an LLC or partnership are not treated as employees in the...
January Update

January Update

Estate Planning Guide Estate planning is important for all people and not just for senior citizens. Preparing documents, outlining procedures to follow and assigning assets to the right beneficiaries is essential in estate planning. In North Carolina, if you don’t have a Will, current state law will determine who receives your assets and in what portions. Not having a set plan can quickly become a costly nightmare for survivors or responsible individuals named after a loved one’s death. READ MORE  What You Need to Know About the Secure Act The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (or SECURE) Act is intended to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement and decrease the percentage of us who outlive retirement funds. It was signed into law on December 20, 2019, and most for its provisions became effective January 1, 2020. Some changes in the act may result in unexpected tax bills for beneficiaries. LEARN MORE Drew Nelson Promoted to Partner Congratulations to our own Drew Nelson on his promotion to partner. He has been with Brinkley Walser Stoner since 2013. Nelson holds a Juris Doctor degree from Elon University School of Law. His area of practice includes, but is not limited to: Estate PlanningElder LawTraffic/Criminal We look forward to Drew continuing to grow and share his knowledge with new associates. READ MORE Dancing With The Potential Stars Brinkley Walser Stoner is a proud sponsor of Dancing (and More) with Potential Stars. The annual dance competition is a fundraiser from the Project Potential of Lexington. The organization has funded more than 500 scholarships since its start in 1994. The winners...
What You Need to Know About the SECURE Act

What You Need to Know About the SECURE Act

By David Inabinett, Attorney at Law The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019) was signed into law December 20, 2019, and most of its provisions became effective January 1, 2020. The Act is intended to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement and decrease the percentage of us who outlive our retirement funds. While the purpose of the Act is positive, some of these changes may result in unanticipated tax bills for beneficiaries who were previously able to defer or “stretch” the withdrawal of such accounts over an entire life expectancy. The key provisions of the SECURE Act include: The age limit to begin mandatory distributions from retirement plans has been increased from 70 and a half years of age to 72 in recognition of the fact that people are living longer. This does NOT impact anyone who turned 70 1/2 before January 1, 2020. If you are still working at 70 1/2, your retirement savings may remain untouched for an extra 18 months.People of any age may now contribute to a traditional IRA. The prior age cap of 70 1/2 has been removed, so if you are still working and want to build your retirement account and get the tax benefits of a traditional IRA, you may do so. Timing is such that those turning 70 1/2 in 2019 will not be able to claim the IRA deduction for 2019’s taxes but will be able to do so for 2020 and moving forward. In addition, you now have extra time to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, should...
Drew Nelson Promoted from Associate to Partner

Drew Nelson Promoted from Associate to Partner

Lexington native and Elon University graduate joined Brinkley Walser Stoner in 2013 Lexington, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner, PLLC, today announced that attorney E. Drew Nelson has been promoted from Associate Member to Member (the equivalent of Partner) effective January 1, 2020. His practice is concentrated in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, and Gun Trusts. “We are happy to announce Drew’s promotion to Member,” says David Inabinett, Managing Member. “Over the past several years, Drew has become a valued member of the team, working with clients on a variety of cases and representing the firm at public events and speaking engagements. We look forward to Drew continuing to grow and share his knowledge with new associates.” “I am very pleased to be recognized for my work with the firm,” says Nelson. “Brinkley Walser Stoner has such a strong sense of history and community. I know I made the right choice when I joined the firm almost seven years ago and expect I will probably retire from the firm in the distant future!” Nelson became licensed to practice law in North Carolina in 2012. He graduated from Elon University with a BA in history/sociology before attending the Elon University School of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree. Brinkley Walser Stoner prides itself on providing new and cutting edge legal counsel built on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Brinkley Walser Stoner’s attorneys are first and foremost counselors, advising clients on their legal rights and options for appropriate solutions. Practice areas include business law, real estate, litigation, elder law, estate planning, injury and...