• Blog Post

    Elder Abuse: When Aging Relatives May Need Their Own Superhero

    Elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or associate of an elderly individual, which causes harm.[1] Financial elder abuse occurs when a trusted friend or family member obtains access to a senior’s financial accounts and uses the assets therein for personal gain. Unfortunately, this abuse is widespread in the United States and can happen to anyone, even the legendary creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee.   In December Stan Lee turned 95 years old. Although he remains in good physical health, Stan Lee, and his reported $50 million estate, became a prime target for elder abuse following the death of his wife, Joan Lee, last year.…

  • Firm News

    Trey Lindley Selected as a 2018 North Carolina Super Lawyer in Estate and Trust Litigation

    Lindley Law is pleased to announce Trey Lindley was selected as a 2018 Super Lawyer in Estate and Trust Litigation by Super Lawyers Magazine making this his seventh consecutive honor from the publication. He was selected as a Rising Star in Estate and Trust Litigation in 2017 and a Rising Star in Business Litigation from 2012 to 2016. Super Lawyers Magazine recognizes outstanding attorneys using a multi-step process that involves soliciting nominations from attorneys across North Carolina (lawyers are not allowed to vote for themselves), a third-party evaluation across 12 key categories, and a peer evaluation by a highly credentialed panel of attorneys. Finalists have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional…

  • Blog Post

    Four Tips for Drafting Jury Instructions: A Tightrope Walk between Clarity and Accuracy

              What’s the best way for attorneys to show appreciation for jurors during the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s Jury Appreciation month? Lavishing them with gifts is prohibited, but one way attorneys can show some appreciation is by drafting jury instructions that make the lives of jurors easier by streamlining the deliberation process.             When it comes to cases with complex statutory language, lawyers may be faced with the task of drafting jury instructions and must learn to bridge the gap between legal jargon and natural language. To add to the pressure of crafting meticulously worded jury instructions, many appeals are based…

  • Blog Post

    Breach of Trustees’ Fiduciary Duty – Part 2: Duty of Loyalty & Duty of Impartiality

              As we’ve mentioned in part 1 of this series, trustees are fiduciaries and, as such, trustees owe a variety of fiduciary duties to multiple parties.  These obligations include both the duty of loyalty and duty of impartiality, which we will discuss this week.  To prove a trustee breached of one of these duties, one must show three things: (1) the existence of a fiduciary relationship; (2) the breach of a fiduciary duty; and (3) damages proximately caused by the breach of the duty.[1]             It is important to keep in mind that the express terms of the trust can modify…

  • Blog Post

    Probate Basics: Questions and Answers

              Losing a loved one is an emotional and difficult time, even without handling the legalities and formalities of the deceased’s affairs.  When you find yourself responsible for handling the deceased’s business at the end of death, where do you start?  This post aims to explain the basics of probate, how it works, and what you should do in North Carolina under typical circumstances.   What is Probate?              Probate is the official legal process by which a will is honored.  When a will is probated, an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) is appointed to administer the estate and carry…

  • Blog Post

    Six Basic Questions and Answers about Executors

              If you have a will or have ever dealt with estate administration, you are probably familiar with the term “executor.”   However, most people don’t know what an executor is or what the executor’s role is.  Additionally, what do you do if you suspect an executor is behaving fraudulently or contrary to the deceased person’s wishes?   What is an executor?             An executor is a person or institution appointed to carry out the terms of a person’s will.  They are appointed by the person who wrote the will, the testator, to conclude the business and financial arrangements the testator had…

  • Blog Post

    Eight Questions and Answers about Fiduciary Litigation

    What is fiduciary litigation?   Fiduciary litigation encompasses a wide range of legal actions including, without limitation, trust and estate litigation, will contests (also referred to as caveat proceedings), breach of individual and corporate fiduciary duty claims, and guardianship proceedings.  Fiduciary litigation is becoming increasingly relevant as the baby boomer generation continues to age.   What is a fiduciary?   A fiduciary is an individual or corporation in whom another places trust and confidence to act in their best interest.  Generally speaking, a fiduciary is tasked with prudently caring for the financial assets of another.   What are the types of fiduciary relationships? Relationships created by statute, such as in…

  • Blog Post

    Accelerating Estate Disputes: The Living Probate Option

              North Carolina joins four other states in providing a path to ensure decedents’ assets are distributed according to their wishes upon death.[1]  The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation amending statutes regarding estate administration by adding a procedure for “living probate.”  This action is usually commenced by a testator – the author of a will – prior to his or her death where he or she anticipates a challenge to the will’s validity.  The court can now declare a will is valid while the testator is alive, thereby preventing potentially more expensive litigation after the testator’s death, when he or she is unable to…

  • Blog Post

    When Heirs Cry: Claiming Prince’s Paternity

              The inheritance saga in the wake of Prince’s death continues.  Since reportedly dying without a will, potential heirs are coming of the proverbial woodwork and claiming they are entitled to a piece of Prince’s fortune.  According to Minnesota law, if there is no will, the deceased’s estate first goes to his spouse. If there is no living spouse, then the estate would go to the deceased’s children.  If there are no living children, then the parents inherit the estate.  Finally, if no living parents, the estate would pass to the deceased’s parents’ descendants (i.e., the siblings of the deceased).            …