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...
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...
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

By Bradley Hunt, Attorney at Law There have been several high profile claims of workplace sexual harassment in the news lately, most recently with a claim by a former engineer at Uber that her manager sexually harassed her. Claims of sexual harassment must be taken very seriously by employers, who can be held accountable if the behavior of a harasser is ignored. In the case of Uber, the CEO just hired a third-party to investigate the claims. What is Sexual Harassment? According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex.” The law does not consider occasional teasing or single incidents that are not serious to be harassment, although employers must be aware that behavior that escalates may quickly jump into this category. Behavior becomes harassment when it creates a “hostile or offensive” work environment or results in the victim being fired, demoted or believing he or she has no recourse but to quit the job. It is important to note that both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment, and the harasser may be a manager, coworker, someone else within the company, the employee of a vendor or supplier, or even a client. The law not only protects victims of harassment, but also protects third parties who are...
Common Landlord-Tenant Concerns

Common Landlord-Tenant Concerns

By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney Home ownership rates in the United States reached an all-time high of 69.20% in 2004; while there have been a few upticks, there has been a gradual decline in home ownership over the past decade. During the fourth quarter of 2016, the average home ownership rate was 63.7%[1]. Some people rent because they cannot afford to purchase a home, while others do so for convenience – they may move frequently and like the flexibility of renting, or they may prefer having a landlord to handle all the maintenance and repairs on the property. Whether you are a tenant (also called the renter or lessee) or the landlord (the owner or lessor), having a signed lease agreement provides protection for both parties. If you will be renting a property from another party, here are some common things to look for: What is the term? Commonly leases may be for 12 months, but you may find leases that are written for shorter (or longer) terms, or operate on a month-to-month basis. What are the notice requirements? If you wish to terminate the lease or not to renew it, how much notice must you give to the other party? Can you terminate the lease verbally or via email, or do you have to sign a form at the rental office? Many leases have automatic renewal clauses, so you may end up obligated for another 12 months if you do not provide sufficient notice in the form the lease specifies. Are there extra costs involved? A friend leased an apartment that required all tenants to pay for valet...
Greensboro Seminars on Landlord-Tenant Rights in NC

Greensboro Seminars on Landlord-Tenant Rights in NC

Attorney E. Drew Nelson to present two seminars in February Greensboro, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner attorney E. Drew Nelson will present a free seminar titled, “What Are Your Rights as a Landlord or Tenant?” in Greensboro this month. The first session will be held 2/15/17 at 10am at the Greensboro Senior Center; the second is at the Women’s Resource Center on 2/28 at 11am. “Under North Carolina law, both landlords and tenants have specific rights and responsibilities,” says Nelson. “The law continues to evolve out of necessity, making it even more important for anyone renting or leasing space to understand the implications before signing a lease agreement.” Nelson’s session will cover lease agreements, landlord obligations, tenant obligations, tenant rights, security deposits and the Fair Housing Act, followed by a question and answer session. Details of the seminars are below. February 15, 2017, 10-11:30am Mabel D. Smith Senior Center 2401 Fairview Street, Greensboro, NC 27405 Phone: Ph: 336-373-7566 www.greensboro-nc.gov/Seniors February 28, 2017, 11am – 12:30pm Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro 628 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405 Phone: 336-275-6090 ext. 213 www.womenscentergso.org About Brinkley Walser Stoner, PLLC 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 disability, criminal defense, traffic and DWI, banking, family law, municipal, governmental, and education law, among others. Brinkley Walser Stoner is an AV rated firm by Martindale-Hubble®. The firm...
Carl W. Gray Retires After 40+ Years of Practice

Carl W. Gray Retires After 40+ Years of Practice

Lexington Native Began Legal Practice in 1975 Lexington, NC – Longtime Lexington attorney Carl W. Gray has retired after more than 40 years practicing law in and around Davidson County. He most recently held an Of Counsel role with Brinkley Walser Stoner. Gray joined Brinkley Walser Stoner during the 2015 merger of Brinkley Walser, PLLC and Stoner, Bowers, Gray & McDonald, P.A. “I have worked with Carl for many years,” says attorney Roy L. McDonald, II. “He has always focused on staying current with the latest changes in the law and working to achieve the best result for each client. We will definitely miss having him around, and wish him all the best in his retirement.” Gray began his legal career with Stoner Bowers in 1975 after earning his J.D. at the Wake Forest University School of Law. At the time of the merger, Gray was President and CEO of the firm. Gray is a Certified Superior Court Mediator by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission. Gray is a past member and chairman of the Davidson County Planning and Zoning Board. He is a Lexington native, and is married to Linda Berrier Gray. “Carl has been a tremendous resource for our team,” says David Inabinett, Managing Member of Brinkley Walser Stoner. “His commitment to the community and the clients he has served over the years is unparalleled. We wish Carl and Linda all the best in their retirement.” About Brinkley Walser Stoner, PLLC 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...
7 Ways You Know You’re Ready to Start Your Own Business

7 Ways You Know You’re Ready to Start Your Own Business

How often do you think about starting your own business? When you consider starting a business, is your first thought that you’re not ready or it’s not the right time? So how do you know when it is time to start that business and become an entrepreneur? Here are some clues you might be ready to be your own boss: You have done your research and understand the pros and cons of becoming an entrepreneur. This includes talking to other business owners and developing best case – average – and worst case financial scenarios. You should also look at funding options to begin your journey. You have investigated the best choice to set up your new business and understand the short and long term pros and cons of each. Each form of business – a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, non-profit, etc. – has different benefits and legal requirements. It’s also important to consider shareholder/member buy-out agreements to govern the transfer of ownership in the future. Your family and friends are ready to support your endeavor. You can start a business without a support network, but it’s much harder. You have talked with a small business organization like SCORE or visited your local community college Small Business Center for input and direction. It doesn’t hurt to find a mentor and learn from that person. You have a game plan that includes your goals for the business and for yourself. You have worked with someone to help you identify and address areas of risk in the market(s) and industry your business will serve. You are passionate about the business/industry/cause you’ll...