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...
BWS Update | January 2017

BWS Update | January 2017

2017 Estate Planning Guide By Attorney Ryan McNeill We’ve updated our Estate Planning Guide for 2017! How can you limit inheritance tax? Would a trust benefit you? How can you avoid family squabbles after you are gone? Should you give away part of your estate now? Have you thought about digital assets? What is Estate Planning? I don’t have a lot of assets. Why should I speak with an expert? Estate planning involves making reasoned decisions about how the property or monies you own are distributed upon your death. The simplest of estates can become a costly nightmare for survivors when there are no provisions made for an orderly distribution of assets upon death or responsible individuals named to oversee that process. These problems arise at a time when loved ones are least capable of dealing with complicated and messy legal matters while grieving the loss of a family member. Read more… Free Estate & Nursing Home Planning Seminar Join attorney Ryan McNeill on January 31 in Greensboro for a free seminar titled Estate and Nursing Home Planning. The event will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Smith Senior Center, 2401 Fairview Street, Greensboro, NC, 27405. Come get your questions answered! “Many people put off planning for the future, but that can put you and your family at a disadvantage,” says McNeill. “Having an up-to-date will and other important documents like powers of attorney or healthcare powers of attorney ensures your family is better able to care for you if you ever need long-term care. It’s also helpful to understand exactly what portion of long-term care costs Medicare...
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...
Do I Need a Buy-Sell Agreement?

Do I Need a Buy-Sell Agreement?

By Bradley Hunt, Attorney at Law What is a Buy-Sell Agreement? If you share ownership of a business, you need a buy-sell agreement. Buy-sell agreements are not written when you are buying or selling a company; rather, they outline the rules under which an owner may sell (or be forced to sell) his or her share of the business. They also cover the disposition of this share of the business if the partner is divorcing, files bankruptcy, retires, becomes incapacitated, dies, or fails to meet an obligation to the business. Any of these triggering events may activate the terms of the buy-sell agreement. These agreements can be especially important in family owned businesses as protection for all parties involved. How does a buy-sell agreement work? The buy-sell agreement defines the terms and conditions that will govern transfer of ownership of an owner’s share of the business. In a partnership with three principals where one decides to retire and sell his share, for example, the two remaining partners would be notified of the exiting partner’s intent to sell. They would then be given the first option to purchase this share of the business back. In most cases, the share would be offered with an equal split to the existing partners. The agreement protects the remaining partners by preventing the third partner from selling their share to an outside party or even a competitor. If the third partner has died, the heir(s) may choose to keep the business but must typically abide by the terms of the buy-sell agreement should they wish to sell their share. The selling price is usually...
November Food Drive to Provide Holiday Meals for Seniors

November Food Drive to Provide Holiday Meals for Seniors

Brinkley Walser Stoner annual food drive will benefit Pastor’s Pantry Lexington, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner is holding its annual food drive to target hunger among area seniors. The firm will collect nonperishable holiday food items and financial donations at its Lexington offices now through the end of November. All donations will be given to Pastor’s Pantry. “Hunger and food insecurity is higher in senior populations than in the general public,” says Karen Greene, the firm’s business manager. “Sadly, many seniors are ashamed to ask for help, so this problem isn’t always publicized. The firm is very happy to again be collecting food and monetary donations to help seniors in need in our area.” Recommended food items for donation include: Canned hams (20-ounce size) Cranberry sauce (canned) Boxed stuffing Canned yams Canned green beans Canned corn Instant mashed potatoes Anyone interested in donating food items or making a financial donation may do so at the Brinkley Walser Stoner offices at 10 LSB Plaza in Lexington during business hours (8:30am – 5:30pm, M-F). Questions may be directed to Karen Greene at (336) 249-2101. 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...
Top 3 Estate Disputes

Top 3 Estate Disputes

By David Inabinett Many of our estate planning clients put great thought into their final wishes as they write their wills, create trusts or name executors. Despite the planning, there may still be disputes over how the estate is handled. Here are the three most common estate disputes we see: Division of tangible personal property can be a challenge, especially when the property may have sentimental value or be perceived as valuable. When there are multiple heirs getting “equal” shares per the will, determining value and how the assets will be distributed can lead to animosity. There are a few practical options to avoid this conflict. One of our clients had her children come to her home together and go through her belongings. They worked out a list of who would receive which furnishings, art and jewelry. She included this list, signed and dated by her, with her will. Another option is to bring in an independent appraiser to value all the items in question. These items can then be divided, round-robin style, with each party receiving items up to the value of their share. Items no one wants can be sold and the proceeds split evenly. One important note: should an individual die intestate (without a will), North Carolina law determines how the estate will be distributed. This may not be how the decedent and his or her heirs would have planned and can cause quite a bit of friction or unintended results. Shared real estate is another area where potential conflict can arise. When there are multiple heirs, each may have different ideas about whether to sell...
Are You Ready to Take on a Real Estate Redevelopment Project?

Are You Ready to Take on a Real Estate Redevelopment Project?

There have been a lot of changes over the past 50 years, both in the types of jobs Americans have and where and how they live. Many of these changes have left historic buildings vacant. Many small cities and towns have been hit especially hard, with industry moving out of the area (or out of the country). Have you ever looked at one of the old buildings – perhaps an old Mill – and thought, “I’d love to buy that building and renovate it…”? Redeveloping a historic property may not be as far out of reach as you think. There are federal, state and local incentives and grants available to those interested in rehabilitating historic properties. Programs exist through the federal government and the state of North Carolina to help turn these old buildings into income producing properties, for example, apartments, office space, or retail; homeowner credits are also available in NC for rehabilitating old homes. Our area is currently seeing the beginnings of activity for redevelopment projects, including plans for an apartment building at the old Thomasville Furniture Industries plant and changes at the Depot District. Larger projects may be best tackled through public/private partnerships with a goal of long-term economic development. Here are some resources you may find of value if you’re considering rehabilitating a historic property: Uptown Lexington, Inc. coordinates a façade improvement grant program. Learn more at: http://uptownlexingtonnc.com/facade-grant-application/. The State of North Carolina Historic Preservation Office manages a new historic preservation tax credit program that took effect 1/1/2016 and runs through 1/1/2020. Learn more at: http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/ The National Park Services offers up to a 20%...
Americans with Disabilities Act and Hiring

Americans with Disabilities Act and Hiring

If you hire employees, you must be aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal civil rights law designed to remove barriers preventing qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. The rules apply to private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions with 15 or more employees. The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. The ADA rules apply when an individual has a disability eligible for protections under the law AND that individual is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job (these are duties that are fundamental to the job). What is the definition of a disability? ADA defines disability (sometimes referred to as “substantially limiting conditions”) as: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR a person with a record of such an impairment; OR a person who is regarded as having such an impairment. Specific examples of substantially limiting conditions may include: Mobility impairments due to missing limbs or other disorders Cancer Diabetes Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection Transitory impairments such as epilepsy Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia Who is not covered by the ADA? Current users of illegal drugs (employers may conduct drug testing for illegal drugs) Transgender, homosexual, and bisexual individuals Those who have the conditions of compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania People who pose a direct threat Are you are in compliance...
How Is Child Custody Determined in North Carolina?

How Is Child Custody Determined in North Carolina?

The best child custody agreements come from cooperation between the two parents based on their decision to do what is in the best interests of their child (or children). When the parents are not able to agree, the North Carolina courts will determine custody based on the best interests of the child. Without a written agreement, both parents have equal rights – neither is protected should the other parent make a decision on an important issue where the parents disagree. What factors may be considered by the courts in deciding custody? If the parents are unable to come up with a voluntary custody arrangement, a civil district court judge will be assigned to the case. He or she will consider such things as: The age of the child and presence of siblings The relationship between each parent and the child The relationship between the child and siblings The ability of each parent to care for the child (physically, emotionally, and financially) The stability of the home Which parent is the primary caregiver (this may have higher weight with a younger child) The safety of the child and any history of domestic violence Child care arrangements Limiting change in the child’s life (i.e., changing school districts) Sexual conduct of the parent IF the child is negatively impacted The child’s wishes MAY be considered, however there is no requirement in North Carolina that the judge do so North Carolina no longer favors the mother over the father for custody. The combined review of all factors above should be taken into account by the judge. If you believe the other parent to...
Big Toy Day 2016 This Weekend!

Big Toy Day 2016 This Weekend!

Lexington, NC – The annual Big Toy Day event benefiting Communities in Schools of Lexington/Davidson County will take place Saturday, August 27 at the Davidson County Airport from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Area families are invited to come see the big “toys” on display, including fire trucks, planes, boats and more! “Since the inception of this event seven years ago the support we have received from the community has been tremendous and it seems like the event gets bigger and better each year,” says Bradley Hunt, an attorney with Brinkley Walser Stoner and Past Chair of CIS of Lexington/Davidson County. “CIS would not be able to provide the current high level of support to our students without the community’s support and we sincerely appreciate everyone who contributes to make Big Toy a wonderful event year after year.” Communities in Schools of Lexington/Davidson County offers mentors for at-risk students referred by their schools. They also support these students by providing for additional needs like backpacks and school supplies, weekend food programs, doctor visits, and more. 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 has offices at 10 LSB Plaza in...