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    JEFFREY EPSTEIN TRUST

    Millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself on August 10, 2019 while in prison awaiting trial for charges including federal sex trafficking.  Shortly before his death, Epstein signed a pour-over will placing approximately $577 million in assets into a trust.  Many believe the creation of this trust was an attempt by Epstein to shield his vast wealth from civil lawsuits brought by his many accusers.  What is a pour-over will, and will Epstein’s attempt prove successful?   Pour-Over Wills   Pour-over wills are common tools for estate planning.  They are wills used in conjunction with a living trust.  When a settlor (the creator of a trust) creates a living trust, certain…

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    Trustworthy Pets

    Are you a cat person or a dog person?  The truth is many of us love animals.  In fact, approximately 68 percent of American households own at least one pet. In some of those households, care for a pet is part of the estate plan.  Consider, for example, millionaire head of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, who is believed to have left a significant portion of his $195 million fortune to his cat, Choupette.  Talk about the cat’s meow! Trust for the Care of an Animal North Carolina recognizes trusts created to care for an animal.  Conversely, because North Carolina considers pets property, a pet cannot directly inherit money left to it…

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    Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence

    In 2015 and 2016, media magnate Sumner Redstone amended his trust, which was challenged by former companion Manuela Herzer.  A California court recently ruled that Mr. Redstone possessed the required mental capacity to amend his estate plan. In North Carolina, whether an individual is a billionaire business mogul or anyone else, the requirements for testamentary capacity, or the required mental capacity to create a will or a trust, is the same. Testamentary Capacity To have testamentary capacity a person must be “of sound mind, and 18 years of age or over[.]”  In practice, this means that the person creating the will, otherwise known as the testator, must be able to…

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    Congratulations to Trey Lindley and Satie Munn

    Lindley Law is pleased to announce Trey Lindley was selected as a 2019 Super Lawyer in Estate and Trust Litigation by Super Lawyers Magazine, making this his eighth consecutive honor from the publication. Lindley Law is also pleased to announce Satie Munn was selected as a 2019 Rising Star in Business Litigation by Super Lawyers Magazine, her first such honor from the publication. 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…

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    Holographic Wills and Statutory Requirements to Modify Them

    The law distinguishes between typewritten wills, typically prepared by an attorney, and those which are handwritten by oneself. Handwritten wills, known as holographic wills, must meet the statutory requirements set forth by N.C Gen. Stat. S 31-3.4 (2015). These requirements include: (1) the will must be written entirely by hand by the testator; (2) must be subscribed by the testator;  and (3) must be found among the testator’s valuable papers or effects. In some cases after a will is drafted, whether by hand or typewritten, the testator my wish to make modifications. An addition or supplement that explains, modifies, or revokes a will, or part of a will, is a…

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    Florida Detectives attempt to unlock a cell phone with a dead man’s finger

    In today’s technology driven world it seems our phones are attached to our hips whether we like it or not. We are driven by the accessibility and connection that these tiny machines provide us. But what right do you have regarding your phone after your death? In March, Florida police pulled over Linus Phillips for illegally tinted windows.  Upon speaking with Mr. Phillips, Officer Steiner detected the smell of marijuana.  However, before Officer Steiner was able to perform a search of the vehicle, Mr. Phillips began driving in reverse.  Officer Steiner was dragged by the vehicle before he fired his weapon in self-defense and killed Mr. Phillips. Detectives wanted to…

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    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…

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    Four Legal Documents Dementia Patients Should Have in Place

          A diagnosis of dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss and/or cognitive reasoning disorders, is potentially devastating for both the patient and their family. Following a dementia diagnosis, it is important to execute these four essential planning documents to avoid further hardship in the form of costly court battles. (1) Durable Power of Attorney – A durable power of attorney allows the diagnosed person (the “principal”) to appoint another person (the “power of attorney”) to act on the principal’s behalf if and when the principal becomes incapacitated.  A power of attorney can have a wide range of authority and discretion, from paying bills to selling…

  • John C Lindley III
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    Six Ways to Challenge a Will’s Validity

              Wills must meet several basic requirements to be valid and enforceable under state law.  If any of the below factors are at work, then a will’s validity may be challenged.   (1) Undue Influence              Undue influence exists when a person uses coercion to influence the testator (the person creating a will) into executing a will that does not accurately reflect the testator’s true wishes.  There are several red flags to keep in mind if you are suspicious a loved one’s will is the product of undue influence.  Unusual dispositions of property, sickness and vulnerability of the testator to undue influence,…

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    What Happens if You Die Without a Will? Taking a Lesson from Prince

              On Tuesday, Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, filed an emergency motion in Carver County District Court requesting that the Court appoint a special administrator to gather and protect Prince’s assets.  She also claimed that, to the best of her knowledge, no will existed.  The assets are estimated to be worth $100 – $500 million and are comprised of real estate holdings, including his Paisley Park Complex outside of Minneapolis; his music catalog, including licensing rights for television, film, and commercials; and album sales.  It is estimated that in the week after his death, 2.8 million of his songs – and over 650,000 albums –  were sold…