You are legally separated from your spouse if you move out of the marital residence with the intent of remaining separate and apart. Once you remain separate and apart from your spouse for a year and a day, you are eligible to file for an absolute divorce. Once the absolute divorce is granted, all bonds of marriage are terminated between you and your spouse. If you need to speak to a family law attorney in regards to a separation and / or divorce, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law has locations in Huntersville and south Charlotte.
1. You determine who gets your property, personal and real, and also who receives your money.
2. Potential arguments between family and friends over who gets what are minimized.
3. You may appoint a guardian for your children. If you do not appoint a guardian, the court will, and that person may not be someone you wish to raise your child.
4. You may appoint trustees for your minor children to oversee the estate they inherited. When you appoint a trustee, you may place specific directions in your will to allow for using your child's inheritance for support, education, and direct how and when your child receives the remainder of their inheritance.
5. You can appoint an executors (or administrator) to determine your assets, pay off any debts, pay any death taxes, and distribute what is left of your estate.
6. If you are an unmarried couple you can ensure that your partner is provided for.
7. If you are separated but not yet divorced your spouse or civil partner may still be able to make a claim on your estate until the divorce is finalized.
8. You can ensure you do not pay more inheritance tax than is necessary. Wills can be utilized to make savings on inheritance tax.
If you would like to speak with an estate planning attorney concerning drafting a will, contact Adkins Law. We have locations in Huntersville and south Charlotte for your convenience.
You can amend you existing Last Will and Testament by executing a codicil. A codicil is a document that you draft that amends certain sections of the Will, instead of drafting a whole new will. A codicil can be any length, like it can be 4 pages, 2 paragraphs, a few sentences or a couple of words. To reduce the possibility of a misinterpretation of the codicil you should be try to make simple changes and not complicated ones, in the case that you want to make a number of changes and some of them are complicated you are better off revoking the current will and drafting a new one. A lot of times it is just as easy to create a new will as it is to modify an existing will.
Drafting a Codicil
When adding a codicil, you must keep three things in mind:
(1) Specify the portions of the Will that are being changed and the changes you wish to make.
(2) State that the changes are effective on the date that the codicil is signed.
(3) State whether any original provisions of the original Will is affected by the codicil.
Two Requirements for a valid codicil:
(1) You must sign your codicil in front of two witnesses. There is no requirement that the codicil be notarized in North Carolina.
(2) Your two witnesses must sign your codicil. The witnesses do not need to read the codicil.
If you want to speak to an estate planning attorney regarding amending a will, contact Adkins Law. We have locations in Lake Norman and Charlotte for your convenience.
Divorcing your spouse who does not live in the United States can be a difficult and frustrating process. Service of court documents is the challenge, and service is required in order to process your divorce. Here is how you obtain service on your spouse in a foreign country:
Step 1. Contact the embassy for your spouse's country of residence. The method for serving your spouse with your divorce papers outside of the United States will depend largely on the laws of his or her country. The U.S. Department of State can also provide you with this information.
Step 2. Mail the divorce complain and summons to your spouse (if your spouse’s country of residence allows service by mail). China, Japan, Germany, Poland, Argentina, Venezuela and Switzerland, for example, are among many countries that do not. If the country your spouse is living in permits service by mail, send your complaint to him by international registered mail, and complete postal Form 2865 for a return receipt.
Step 3. Contact the court where you filed your complaint if your spouse’s country of residence will not accept service by mail. If that country is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention, the court can request process of service as a “letters rogatory” procedure. The court will forward a copy of your complaint to a process server in that country and work through its government to get your complaint served.
Step 4. File your mail return receipt with the court to prove that your spouse received your complaint if you were able to serve him by international registered mail, if you have any questions regarding North Carolina’s form you can call the court clerk and ask. The court clerk can advise you which form you must complete and attach to the international mail receipt. If the court has served your spouse through the "letters rogatory" process, you generally will not be required to do anything more, but check with your court to be sure.
If you need to speak to a family law attorney regarding a divorce, and obtaining international service, contact Adkins Law. We have locations in Huntersville and Ballantyne for your convenience.
With it being summer time, many people are planning to go on vacation to the beach, mountains, or lake. When you rent a vacation rental property in North Carolina, you need to be aware of the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act. This Act applies to residential property rented for vacation, leisure, or recreational purposes for fewer than 90 days. Renters must have a permanent residence elsewhere to which they intend to return.
If you own a vacation rental property, to be covered by the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act, you must get an agreement in writing with any tenant. The agreement must clearly state that the rental is covered by the Vacation Rental Act, and that you may evict the tenant using an expedited procedure. The agreement is only enforceable after the tenant signs it, pays money to you or a management company on your behalf, or takes possession of the property.
If you purchase a vacation rental home, be sure to check with the seller in regards to any existing vacation rental agreements. As an owner, you must honor any vacation rental agreements that end within 180 days from when you record your interest in the vacation property with the register of deeds. The seller must inform the purchaser of any rental agreements affecting the vacation property, and provide the purchaser with a copy of any agreements within 10 days of the transfer of the vacation property. As the new owner, you must provide notice to any tenant within 20 days of purchasing the property.
As a vacation rental property owner, you have a duty to maintain the property in a fit and habitable condition. This means that you must comply with all building and housing codes, make any and all necessary repairs, keep the property in safe condition, and provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If the owner fails to maintain the vacation property in a fit and habitable condition, the owner must either provide the tenant with a reasonably comparable property, or refund all payments made by the tenant.
A vacation rental property owner may also require a tenant to pay a security deposit. The security deposit may be charged to cover such things as non-payment of rent, damage to the premises, the cost of re-renting the vacation property if the tenant breaches the rental agreement, the costs of unpaid additional utility charges (ex. pay-per-view movie rental expenses or long-distance telephone expenses), and court costs for terminating a tenancy. The security deposit must be held in a North Carolina trust account throughout the tenancy, and must either be applied as permitted, or refunded to the tenant within 45 days of termination of the tenancy.
As any vacation rental property owner has likely experienced, the vacation property will likely sustain damages at some point by a renter. Vacation rental tenants are responsible for any and all damages, defacement, and/or removal of property inside the vacation property during their stay. These expenses may be covered by any potential security deposit, or the owner may have to pursue a legal action in court to recover damages. The renter is not responsible for damage due to ordinary wear and tear, or acts of nature (ex. hurricane or flooding damage to a beach house).
If a renter violates the terms of a rental agreement while occupying the vacation property, the owner may chose to have the renter evicted. The North Carolina Vacation Rental Act allows an owner to evict a tenant in an expedited process. To qualify for an expedited eviction, the renter must have either overstayed their lease, materially breached a vacation rental agreement that by its terms allows for an eviction, failed to pay rent as required, or obtained the property by fraud or misrepresentation (ex. minor children getting their parents to rent a beach house for Spring Break). To initiate the expedited eviction process, the owner must provide the renter with four hours notice (either written or oral notice will suffice). The owner must then file a complaint with the clerk in the county where the property is located, and have a summons issued by the clerk. A law enforcement officer must serve the summons and complaint on the renter, and the eviction hearing will be held not sooner than 12 hours from issuance of the summons, and not longer than 48 hours from issuance of the summons. If the owner is successful at the hearing, a magistrate will issue an order evicting the renter from the property. The renter will then have 8 hours to vacate the property. If the renter chooses to appeal the eviction order, they must provide a bond in an amount that covers any rent due to the owner, and any damages the owner may sustain as a result of having to cancel other potential rental agreements.
If you are interested in renting your vacation home, it is recommended that you use a vacation rental agreement that complies with the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act. The North Carolina Association of Realtors has developed a form contract (No. 411-T) that meets the requirements of the Act. You may also use your own rental agreement, although you may want to consult with an attorney to review the agreement in detail to ensure that it complies with the vacation rental act. If you wish to discuss owning or renting vacation rental properties in North Carolina, contact Adkins Law to arrange a consultation.