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Welcome to TrustCounsel's Legal Library

Below you will find resources on estate and trust administration matters. Each guide can be downloaded and printed, and you can come back to this page any time. Our probate and trust attorneys regularly release guides and each new guide will be added here before it is shared publicly. Should you have any questions about probate, trust, or tax concerns, please contact our attorneys to schedule a consultation. 

Trust Law 

Trust Protectors 101 - Everything you need to know to get caught up on trust protectors. This guide reviews the powers and limitations, benefits, and history of trust protectors. Learn how to include, add, or replace trust protectors.

Is Your Trust Unguarded? Use a Trust Protector - Trust protectors are a fairly new addition to domestic trusts. Without a trust protector, modifying irrevocable trusts, removing and replacing trustees, and other administrative matters generally require a court's decision. If your trust does not have a trust protector, you may be able to add one. In this guide, our trust lawyers provide a brief history of trust protectors, the powers granted to trust protectors, and how to make the best choice when selecting one.  

For Executors

5 Tax Issues Executors Should Know to Avoid Trouble in Probate - Executors can be held personally liable for tax errors during estate administration, even unintentional mistakes. This guide reviews important matters concerning date of death valuations, cost basis, how tax applies to the decedent's retirement accounts, and more. These critical issues can help an executor identify items to manage with the counsel of a tax attorney to help prevent costly errors.

5 Tips for North Carolina Executors - What if the decedent left their will in a safe deposit box and the location of the safe deposit box is unknown? Or an executor resides out-of-state? North Carolina laws that apply to these matters can cause delays or administrative challenges during probate. Our Chapel Hill probate attorneys created this guide to help connected executors of North Carolina estates with estate administration guides, statutes, and links to tax forms.

10 Things North Carolina Executors Should Know - How to start the estate administration process, an overview of fiduciary duties, how executors are paid and, subsequently, how these commissions are taxed, and more North Carolina probate matters are included here.


Estate Law

10 Reasons to Review Estate Plans in 2016 (and Every Year) - How assets pass on to loved ones may be clearly detailed in one's estate plan. However, legislative changes, forgetting to fund a trust, life changes of beneficiaries, or simply an outdated plan, could compromise asset transfers or subject the estate to avoidable taxes. While this guide is tailored to estate tax concerns unique to 2016, most of the guide can be applied to planning efforts in any year.

10 Ways to Avoid Probate - Probate can easily last more than one year. Probate documents are also public, so there is no privacy as to assets and beneficiaries. Some planning efforts that avoid probate help expedite the transfer of assets to beneficiaries, preserve confidentiality, and minimize tax consequences. Here our probate attorneys review methods of titling property, establishing trusts, as well as life insurance and gifting that can help achieve estate planning goals while simultaneously bypassing probate.