Why We Might Need Something More Than a Will
Attorney Andrew J. Cobin, a partner at Brady Cobin Law Group, appeared on WPTF’s Triangle Afternoon News program and discussed questions with radio hosts Rick and Donna Martinez about making a will and why a will by itself may not be enough.
Andrew Cobin is among a small percentage of attorneys recognized by the North Carolina State Bar as Board-Certified Specialists in Estate Planning and Probate Law. He focuses his legal practice in this area of law.
Cobin said everyone needs a will. A last will and testament directs the distribution of most of your assets. However, you may need to create some other essential legal documents as part of a well-constructed estate plan, he says.
Why You Need to Create Powers of Attorney
People need to consider what will happen if they become incapacitated and cannot make decisions on their own behalf.
“A will doesn’t help with that,” Cobin says. “We need some powers of attorney certainly.”
Powers of attorney direct who will make medical decisions and financial decisions on your behalf, if you are incapacitated and unable to do so. There are different types of powers of attorney to address various needs.
When he meets with clients, Andrew Cobin frequently spends time educating clients about the issues they should be concerned about addressing as part of an estate plan.
What Trusts Do for Your Estate Plan
To transfer assets more efficiently, Cobin says it may be a good idea to create a trust rather than rely solely on a will. You don’t have to be wealthy to benefit from placing certain assets in a trust to be conveyed to your beneficiaries as you direct after your death.
“That is something that is a good fit for a lot of clients, but certainly not every client,” Cobin says.
A properly structured trust offers many advantages and can simplify the transfer of assets and bypass the North Carolina probate process, which is administered by the court.
“If we can cut the court out of it, we can make life tremendously easier,” Cobin says.
Estate Planning During Covid-19
That is especially true in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has slowed the court’s handling of cases. “Unfortunately, it’s taking four-plus months to get a response back from the courts,” he says.
Cobin says many people contact Brady Cobin with inquiries about helping them through the probate process after a family member’s death.
Creating a will or estate plan can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with the process, Cobin says. But having an estate plan in place is a real gift to loved ones. When planning for young families, Cobin says a lot of focus is on selecting a guardian to look after the children if something should happen to the parents, before the children are old enough to look after themselves.
“That is a big part of our discussion with clients, finding the right role players,” he says. “A lot of times it does fall to a family member, but sometimes people don’t have a lot of families. It’s a Plan B. Plan A is that you live, and you are there to guide the children. If you are not, you are left with Plan B.”
Cobin said the selection of an estate executor also is an important consideration.
“I like to say that you are not doing anyone a favor by naming them as your executor,” Cobin says. “It is a huge responsibility. Really, you should look at who is the best person for the job.”
Cobin said it’s easy to work with an attorney who handles wills and estate planning and get the basics in place.
How Brady Cobin Law Group Operates During the Pandemic
The attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group have made some changes in how they operate to observe safety precautions during the pandemic. They often take advantage of online technology to meet with clients by video conference to discuss legal matters. They also can schedule in-person appointments in the law firm’s offices in Raleigh or Wake Forest.
“Some clients still want to come in and meet with us face to face,” Cobin says. “We will accommodate that if it is necessary. Obviously, we will be wearing masks.”
The compassionate estate planning attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group help clients in all phases of life understand the issues that need to be addressed in an estate plan. They craft plans that honor each client’s lifetime of work, charitable interests, and wishes for the future.
Whether you need assistance with drafting a will, creating powers of attorney, making updates to a will to address changes in family circumstances, creating a guardianship, or planning for the future, the attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group are ready to help. Call Brady Cobin Law Group at (919) 782-3500 to schedule an appointment.