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How Does Your Attorney Fit into the Overall Planning Picture?

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Where does your attorney fit in with your current insurance agent and financial planner? Your attorney can craft the plan. I believe in a collaborative effort and team approach. I’ll work with an insurance agent, financial planner, banker, or any other individuals that I need to in order to get the best result for you. Don’t be concerned about conflict between professionals. We work together to make sure that the job is done correctly and that you and your assets are legally protected.

Executors: Every Ship Needs a Captain

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An executor is much like the captain of a ship and the probate process is comparable to navigating through the sometimes treacherous open ocean. Hopefully, you can stay out of trouble in these legal waters, but every will and every estate plan needs an executor to help you avoid certain dangers. An executor should be the one who gets you where you’re going with the least difficulty.

They’re not to be confused with an administrator, the difference being that the former is appointed by yourself through your will and an administrator is chosen by the clerk of court in the event that you haven’t already prepared one at the time of your passing. This is known as dying in testate.

Why is establishing an executor so important? They are literally going to be in charge of making sure that your property gets to the person you want to have it. You’ll also need to designate a secondary executor who will take their place in the event that they are disabled, incapacitated, not in good health, or simply decline the job when the time comes for them to carry out your wishes. Think of them as someone waiting in the batter’s box in case the primary executor is unable to perform his or her job.

One of the key attributes to look for in a potential executor is trustworthiness. You’ll want someone you can count on to captain that ship and avoid all the icebergs out there. You’ve spent time planning your legacy and making the right choices, building your ship from the ground up, if you will. All of that hard work could disappear in an instant if you don’t set sail with the right captain. It’s important to choose wisely or your whole plan could sink.

When you start thinking about it, there will likely be a short list of people that come to mind. Either a child, trusted friend, or another family member who is financially responsible and could be trusted with your estate. There are also some things you may want to think about allowing this person as your executor. You might want to let them serve without bond so they don’t have to get bonded by an insurance company.

You could give them power to sell land at a public or private auction to allow them to more easily liquidate or move property through your estate and avoid drawn out legal battles caused by disagreements between family members or other petitions to partition, which are lawsuits to split property that could occur. These are just a few of the things you should think about and discuss with your attorney while drafting a will and picking an executor.

Now that you understand the importance of an executor, where should you start? Begin by creating a plan of action. First, seek legal counsel. Next, speak with them about having a will drafted. There’s an old saying that says there’s no such thing as a simple will. The counsel you select should be able to tell you about the potential dangers you’ll face and whether a simple will meets your needs.

Come in prepared to name an executor, whether it’s a trustworthy child, another family member, or close friend who you think will be a great captain to your ship. You can also consider appointing co-executors, though having a single leader executing the final orders is often an easy way to avoid squabbling and in-fighting.

The quickest way to get this ball rolling, plan in motion, ship built, or will drafted, is to call an attorney. I have an excellent ebook on my website and other materials that can educate more on this subject. You can access this e-book and  the rest of the information by going directly to and check out that e-book along with my other materials that I’ve written on this subject.

Estate Taxes. To Plan or Not to Plan? There is No Question!

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Today, we’re going to talk about estate tax. Currently, you can give five million dollars to an heir through your estate and incur no estate taxes whatsoever. You might be asking, what is the importance of thinking about estate tax planning when deciding how to leave your hard earned assets to your children and grandchildren? There’s an easy answer for that: you have to plan for it. It’s negligent not to think about it and have a financial adviser and attorney help you to look at the future.

Change is constant. That’s one thing that we can be sure of. Even if the limit is five million dollars today, we know that policies alter. Laws are repealed. It happens all the time. One regime will be exchanged for another regime, in Washington and at the state level. Looking at history, we can be certain that the laws and policies are going to differ with each new administration.

This means we have to anticipate that the estate tax will increase or decrease from the current five million dollars, so make sure that your attorney and your financial planner or adviser thinks about those factors when you’re crafting an estate plan. These two professionals should be working in combination. The attorney to develop the vehicle for you to get to where you want to go and the financial planner to fill that vehicle with the gas.

What has the estate tax been historically? Let’s look at a publication on the IRS’s website,, entitled The Estate Tax: 90 Years and Counting (1). It’s written by some of the experts in the field. It says, “For the past ninety years, and at key points throughout our American history, the federal government has relied on estate and inheritance tax as a source of funding.” That first line tells you something immediately. The federal government is looking at estate tax as a revenue and source of funding.

As someone who’s planned and worked your entire life to accumulate assets, you’ve got to know that they’re going to be looking at this as an income stream. Just looking at that first quote, you know that the five million dollars will eventually move lower. If you want to know how to predict the future, look at the past.

Getting back to the paper, we see, “Proponents have frequently advocated that these taxes are effective tools for preventing the concentration of wealth in the hands of relatively few powerful families, while opponents believe the transfer tax discourages capital accumulation, curbing national and economic growth. This tension, along with fiscal and other considerations, has led to periodic revisions of federal estate tax laws. Effecting both the size of the decedent population subject to the tax and revenue collected.”

That closing segment of the first paragraph lets you know that there are two sides of this coin. While it’s $5 million dollars right now, when the other side comes in with the opposing view, it’s going to go lower. It’s going to be used to collect revenue to run the government. Again, this is straight from the IRS’s website. Essentially, the taxing authority is telling you that these things fluctuate. It’s logical to think that the people in power that are funded by people with these views are going to vote in accordance with them and with their party.

Estate tax is not a new concept, by the way. In this paper, it points out that estate tax can be traced back to ancient Egypt, as early as 700 B.C.. Nearly two thousand years ago, Roman emperor Caesar Augustus imposed the Veselina Hereditation, a tax on succession and legacies to all but close relatives.

We should have been planning for these things back two thousand years ago. It’s not a new idea. You need to plan. Governments are going to use this as a way to fund everything from schools to wars and every other kind of initiative. One of the most interesting parts of the document is Figure C, which shows significant estate tax law changes from 1916 to present. Starting at about $40,000 and all the way up to the present day $5 million. Certainly, an increase is understandable with the change in the economy, but there are fluctuations both higher and lower.

The conclusion of the entire paper states that politics are involved. The paper provides a brief history of the estate tax and it’s impact on the US budget. It also examines the ways in which the economic behavior of the effected population has changed over time in response to the market, technological, and political stimuli. Certainly, those variables, politics included, are involved. You need to plan for it because politics are always shifting.

Are the estate taxes administered when you make a will and trust, estate plan, and buy your investment vehicles? No, the estate tax is administered when someone passes. It’s dependent on what the law is then, not what the law is now or when drafting takes place and planning takes place.

How can you plan appropriately and correctly? There are a number of complicated strategies to do that but to summarize, there are certain ways to pass assets outside of probate and shelter them from estate tax using instruments like trusts and trusts working in combination. There are ways to draft language into trusts that don’t allow a lump sum to pass at one time and allow the recipient to receive income yearly, which is taxed as income tax.

This avoids actually taking ownership of the entire lump sum property or the corpus of the trust, as it’s called, at one time. Do yourself a favor and consult both a financial planner and attorney regarding these matters and how they relate to you. I hope I’ve helped shed some light on why it might be important to plan for estate tax. Even though the estate tax limit might be high right now, that’s just a brief snapshot in history.


[1] The Estate Tax: Ninety Years and Counting:

Lady Bird Deeds

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Today, we’re going to look at Lady Bird Deeds, including what they are, what they do, and how they differ from traditional deeds, like regular general warranty deeds or life estates deeds. We’ll also look at how they fit into your estate planning, especially when considering the option of possible Medicaid or protecting against that.

I love these deeds because they can accomplish lots quickly. Why are they called Lady Bird Deeds? They get their name from Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the commander-in-chief originally responsible for implementing Medicaid.

I’ll be speaking on these deeds as they exist in the legal system of North Carolina because that’s the state where I practice law. However, many other states in the US also use and accept Lady Bird Deeds in much the same way. Let’s start by talking about why they are important to you and your estate plan.

Medicaid can put a lien on your house and take it when you pass if you have to draw on the system at any point to pay for long-term care. We’ve discussed before how 70% of seniors over 65 years of age are going to require some kind of long-term care, whether it’s in-home or at a nursing facility, before we pass. In order to qualify for Medicaid, we have to spend out of our own assets or have in place long-term care insurance and some type of plan to protect our assets. Lady Bird Deeds can help with that and be used to avoid having to give up your home at your passing to pay the lien that Medicaid may place on that house.

Let us compare Lady Bird Deeds to other deeds.  There are general warranty deeds or regular fee simple deeds, which is when you pass everything to a grantee or whomever you may appoint. You may have chosen a life estate deed. These have been around for a long time and work a bit differently than a general warranty deed. Life estate deeds allow you to give away a future interest in property. You retain what’s called a life estate or a life interest in that property which allows you to sell or mortgage said life interest.

However, it is a very limited interest. At your passing, whomever you sold that life estate, that deed would automatically be jerked from that person’s possession and passed to whomever the future interest holder may perhaps be a son or daughter. This means life estate deeds are very limited. Also, life estate deeds do count as a transfer of assets and that would stick you with a penalty or prevent you from drawing Medicaid.

 You would later have to void that transfer or re-transfer the property back to yourself to be able to qualify for Medicaid. A Lady Bird Deed is really the best of both worlds. This deed allows you to reserve a life interest in a property but it qualifies or defines that life interest as one that is like a fee simple full-ownership interest. You are still allowed to mortgage, sell, or gift the property and extinguish the future interest holder. You can control it fully, but you’ve already named a future interest holder in that Lady Bird Deed, which may be the son or daughter that you want to receive it once you pass.

A Medicaid lien will not attach to the property but because you’ve retained control of it, and it is not a countable asset transfer that will give you a penalty for time to qualify for Medicaid or otherwise deny you eligibility for Medicaid. You can literally give away the home and any surrounding contiguous property, which means property that is not separated by boundaries then go and apply for Medicaid the next day.

This works very well in North Carolina right now.

States such as Georgia and South Carolina, however, do not allow Lady Bird Deeds. At this point in time, they are allowable in North Carolina and this is a very good way, especially in an emergency situation, to transfer assets. There is a possibility in the future that the policy will change but that is always a possibility.

There are other ways to shield property, such as Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, that are more advanced. However, Lady Bird Deeds are a simple way to transfer property and still qualify for Medicaid, while not allowing a Medicaid lien to be placed against your property. So, what should you do? By doing nothing, you risk losing your home that you have worked for. Some people have worked to pay off their home for 30+ years, meaning you have put a lot of time and energy into this property.

You would be losing, essentially, the American dream. Your home is part of that dream. Protect it by getting your property deeds in order. You can do this by using Lady Bird Deeds and other strategies, which can help save your property, but only if you take action.

Remember that a Medicaid look-back period is important in a lot of pre-planning and emergency situations involving a home. The clock is ticking, so contact an elder law attorney. You can visit our website at or feel free to contact my office directly at (704) 259-7040. We would be glad to consult with you regarding the best approach to use to keep your hard earned properties, savings, and assets.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby


Thank You for Coming to Our Seminar on Alzheimer’s Care Issues!

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Thank you Carillon Assisted Living for partnering with us today for our seminar at The LeGrand Center!

I had a blast speaking at this event today. I really get excited when forming these new relationships and solving problems that help families and change lives.
Billy Peeler, from Carillon, doing a great presentation about their memory care focus and how they help Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients lead fuller, longer lives.
We were very blessed to have such a great group of folks today at the seminar.
#ElderLaw101 #AlzheimersCare

Elder Law Topics Interview with Cleveland County Chamber – March, 2014 – Full Episode

in Elder Law TV by Greg McIntyre 2 Comments

I had a great time being interviewed by Jackie Sibley with the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce for their March television broadcast. In this interview Jackie and I cover many elder law and estate planning topics from Lady Bird Deeds and Charitable Trusts to Pet Trusts… So grateful to Jackie and the Chamber and feeling blessed.

Beat the Odds…

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Check out our new brochure which gives you a quick scoop on some of the basics of elder law planning:

Elder Law Brochure - General1

Elder Law Brochure - General2

Vacationing and Healthcare Directives

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Healthcare documents and Powers of Attorney are important to have in place at all times but especially prior to taking a trip. Just like dad would always check the oil in the car prior to heading on a long road trip. Better safe than sorry. Greg also discusses the firm’s eDocs Access service and why it is especially valuable to anyone who travels.

Giving peace of mind this Valentine’s Day

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McIntyre Elder Law
Giving peace of mind this Valentine’s Day
— Today people all over the world will celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolates, perfume, and diamonds.  Giving the people we love material gifts is a wonderful way to express our love, gratitude, and appreciation, but nothing compares to giving them peace of mind.  Estate planning is one major way to make sure you, your spouse, and your heirs, will be taken care of when the time comes.  Handling your end of life issues now can take an enormous burden off your loved ones and give them added peace and assurance.

Here’s what you can give your spouse:

Avoid Taxes. To ensure that no estate tax will be due upon the death of the first spouse, you and your spouse’s estate legal documents must be set up correctly. While the estate tax exemption is presently $5 million, most taxpayers feel this amount will be reduced to enable the government to collect more revenue from estates. Few married couples realize that having the right legal documents in place eliminates tax at the first death regardless of the estate’s value.

Eliminate Probate. Titles to real estate, investment accounts, and other assets in your name are frozen when you die. Access by your spouse to these assets is DENIED. Your spouse will have to go through the often painstaking process of hiring an attorney (hopefully my colleagues don’t push your family around), to hold their hand while they go through a snail-paced court-supervised probate process of transferring your assets to your heirs.

Avoid Descendant and In-Law Problems. If and your spouse establish your estate plan correctly, then when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse does not need to get any of the children (or their spouses) involved in the transition of assets from the married couple to the surviving spouse. Surviving spouses often get frustrated when they learn that they can’t take certain action (sell their home, for example) without getting the signed, written, notarized, permission of others.

Organization and Pre-Arranged. There’s much to be said for leaving things financial, legal, and tax matters organized and well-documented for your loved ones. The difference between settling the affairs of one who left things disorganized versus one who left things “deliberately the right way” can be the difference between “years of chaos” and “days of simplicity.”

IMPORTANT VALENTINE’S DAY P.S. It is common to see people perform “acts of appreciation” for their friends on this special day. On February 14, 2014, our office (215 S. Washington St., Suite 108, Shelby, NC) will be collecting items much-needed by the Cleveland County Rescue Mission. Between 10:00am and 2:30pm on Friday, February 14, drop off the following items at our office: blankets, sleeping bags, roll-up yoga mats (to sleep on), toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, shaving razors, soap, shampoo, deodorant, nail clippers, etc.), back packs (to carry their belongings), used clothes in good condition, unused socks and undergarments, and canned goods/non-perishable food items. Financial donations may also be payable directly to the shelter and dropped off at our office.

Greg McIntyre
Elder Law Attorney

McIntyre Elder Law
“We help seniors maintain their lifestyle and preserve their legacies.”
Phone: 704-259-7040
Fax: 866-908-1278
PO Box 165
Shelby, NC 28151-0165
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Seminar Date Changed to 02/20/2014 – Due to Weather – Attend Our Thursday FREE Seminar at Legrand Center

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215 S. Washington Street, Suite 108
Shelby, NC 28150
Mon – Fri  9:00am – 5:00pm

FREE – Seminar at Legrand Center :

Don’t Let the Government Take it All…

Call to Reserve Your Seat Today!
— We would love for you to join us for coffee and danishes while we discuss legal planning strategies to protect your hard earned assets.

Legrand Center, Thursday, February 20th, 2014
1:00pm to 2:30pm
Call our office at: 704-259-7040 to reserve your seat today.
We’ll be discussing:
– Lady Bird Deeds
– Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (M.A.P.T.)
– The Importance of Supercharged Powers of Attorney
and many more legal topics related to healthcare and asset protection.
Bring your list of questions and we will discuss them at the seminar.
Beat the Odds Seminar: Admit 2

Valid for 02/20/2014 at 1:00pm

Greg McIntyre
Elder Law Attorney

McIntyre Elder Law
“We help seniors maintain their lifestyle and preserve their legacies.”
Phone: 704-259-7040
Fax: 866-908-1278
PO Box 165
Shelby, NC 28151-0165
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