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    RECENT CHANGES TO NORTH CAROLINA’S TRUSTS AND ESTATES STATUTES NOW ALLOW LIVING PROBATE FOR TRUSTS IN ADDITION TO WILLS

    Probate is a judicial procedure through which the validity of a testamentary document is established.  Typically, probate occurs after the testator dies.  However, some states allow for “living probate,” in which the validity of the testamentary document is established while the testator is still alive.  A living probate, therefore, can limit the likelihood that the validity of a testator’s will, codicil, or trust will be successfully challenged after the testator’s death.  A testator who believes his or her will, codicil, and/or trust is likely to be challenged—such as where the testator disinherits a child or spouse—may desire to accelerate the estate dispute and determine issues of validity while he or…

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    TENNESSEE COURT OF APPEALS DETERMINES HANDWRITTEN NOTE IN BIBLE LEGALLY AMENDED WILL—WOULD A NORTH CAROLINA COURT REACH THE SAME RESULT?

    The Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville recently held that a decedent’s handwritten note in a Bible—which belonged to a close friend but was found among the decedent’s personal effects after her death—constituted a valid codicil that amended her will.  A codicil is “[a] written amendment or addition to an existing will,” and, as with the preparation and execution of wills themselves, states have specific requirements that must be met for a codicil to be valid and legally change the decedent’s will.  In addition, some states allow wills and codicils to be handwritten, or “holographic,” and apply a more lenient set of requirements for the execution of such documents. In…

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    NO CONTEST CLAUSES IN WILLS: WHAT ARE THEY, AND DOES NORTH CAROLINA ENFORCE THEM?

    When you create an estate plan, you plan out how you want your assets to be distributed after you die.  However, what many people do not plan for in creating their estate plans is the possibility of someone challenging their will later on, for example, by arguing you lacked the testamentary capacity required to create a valid will.  One option to discourage challenges to your will after you die is the inclusion of a “no contest clause,” also known as an “in terrorem clause” (translated from Latin to mean “so as to produce terror”).  A no contest clause is a provision in a will stating that if a devisee challenges…

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    ALEX MURDAUGH FACING FELONY CHARGES AND DENIED BOND FOR STEALING $3 MILLION SETTLEMENT FROM LAWSUIT HE ORCHESTRATED AGAINST HIMSELF

    Now-suspended South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh has been ever-present in the news lately regarding a string of suspicious deaths and illegal activity.  After the still-unsolved double homicide of his wife and son in early June, Murdaugh’s resignation from his law firm amid allegations of misappropriation of client funds, an apparent botched suicide-for-hire plot in early September, and the South Carolina Supreme Court suspending his law license, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) opened a criminal investigation into Murdaugh regarding the death and estate proceedings of Gloria Satterfield, Murdaugh’s former housekeeper who died of injuries from an apparent trip-and-fall accident she sustained while working in Murdaugh’s home in February 2018.…

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    CHANGES TO NORTH CAROLINA’S STATUTES LOWER THE BAR FOR VALID HOLOGRAPHIC WILLS

    When it comes to end of life planning, ideally you will consult an attorney to assist you in preparing your estate plan.  However, not everyone has access to legal help, and people might find themselves in a situation in which there is insufficient time to consult an attorney, such as in the case of rapidly declining health.  For this reason, many states, including North Carolina, have statutes regarding “holographic wills.”  A holographic will is generally a handwritten document signed by the testator and is typically not witnessed or notarized. In North Carolina, a holographic will was previously defined as a will (1) written entirely in the handwriting of the testator,…

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    Lindley Law is Now Hiring a Full Time Legal Administrative Assistant!

      Full-Time Legal Administrative Assistant Pay: Salaried pay based on experience. Competitive benefits including healthcare coverage, 401k matching contributions, and short term and long term disability coverage. Overview: Lindley Law is a dynamic and innovative law firm that strives to build excellent relationships with clients while accomplishing their legal goals. We practice civil litigation in the fields of complex business litigation, trust and estate litigation, construction law, employment law, and various other civil practice areas. We are a small firm of three attorneys and an office manager with room to grow. We are looking for a highly enthusiastic individual that desires to work in the legal field and help grow…

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    Lindley Law is Hiring a Part Time Legal Administrative Assistant

    Lindley Law is now hiring a part time Legal Administrative Assistant. If you or someone you know is interested in joining our team, please have them contact Mary Pavlinchak (contact info below) for additional information. Pay: Hourly pay based on experience. Overview: Lindley Law is a dynamic and innovative law firm that strives to build excellent relationships with clients while accomplishing their legal goals. We practice civil litigation in the fields of complex business litigation, trust and estate litigation, construction law, employment law, and various other civil practice areas. We are a small firm of three attorneys and an office manager with room to grow. We are looking for a…

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    NFL PLAYER MICHAEL THOMAS SUES LANDLORD FOR $1M OVER ISSUES WITH HIS $60K-PER-MONTH RENTAL HOUSE

    Michael Thomas, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, is suing his landlord for over $1 million regarding a 9,800-square-foot house he rented in Bel Air, California.  The house had six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a gym, and a pool, and Thomas committed to rent the property for $60,000 per month for two months during the NFL’s offseason.  Thomas reportedly moved out of the rental property after multiple maintenance issues with the pool, garage, and kitchen appliances as well as repeated, unannounced visits by his landlord in violation of California law, which requires a landlord to give “reasonable notice” before entering the property.  After paying $120,000 for two months’ rent…

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    RECENT CHANGES TO THE NORTH CAROLINA WAGE AND HOUR ACT

    The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act is codified at N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95‑25.1 et seq. and governs employment-related topics such as minimum wage, overtime, youth employment, wage payment, payment to separated employees, wages in dispute, withholding of wages, vacation pay plans, and notice and recordkeeping requirements.  Both employers and employees should be familiar with the provisions of the Act, as employers who violate the Act can be liable for two times the amount of any wrongfully withheld wages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as other monetary penalties for violating other provisions of the Act. Recently, on July 8, 2021, Senate Bill 208 was ratified and became…

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    KENDALL JENNER SUED FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT FOR SKIPPING A PHOTO SHOOT DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC: DOES SHE HAVE A VALID DEFENSE?

    Reality show icon, fashion model, and now “defendant”—Kendall Jenner was recently sued for $1.8 million by Italian fashion company Liu Jo for allegedly breaching a modeling contract.  The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims Jenner agreed to appear in two photo shoots but only participated in one.  The contract purportedly stated Jenner would receive $1.5 million and a 20% service fee for appearing in both photo shoots, and Liu Jo delivered a “significant portion” of this total payment to Jenner, expending about $1.3 million after travel expenses and other costs associated with Jenner’s singular appearance.  The second photo shoot, which Jenner…