A well thought out and comprehensive estate plan can do so much more than simply create a roadmap to be followed during the probate of your estate. In fact, your estate plan has the potential to help guard and grow your assets throughout your lifetime, protect you and your loved ones in the event of incapacity, and help provide for your family after you are gone. Given everything your estate plan can do for you, choosing the right estate planning attorney to help you create and update that plan should be a priority. The Durham, North Carolina estate planning attorneys at Clarity Legal Group are committed to helping our clients create a successful estate plan that accomplishes all of their estate planning goals both now and in the years to come.
Durham, North Carolina
Located in north central North Carolina, the City of Durham serves as the county seat of Durham County. Covering just over 100 square miles, Durham had an estimated population of about 250,000 as of 2014; however, Durham is also the core of the four-county Durham-Chapel Hill Metropolitan Area which had an estimated population of 542,710 that same year.
Before European settlors made it to the area, the Eno and the Occaneechi (related to the Sioux) tribes lived and farmed in the area that would one day become the City of Durham. As far back as the mid-1700s, however, English, Scots, and Irish colonists began to settle in the area. Form that time until the Civil War, settlers established some of the largest plantations in the south around Durham. The area remained largely agricultural land until the railroad came to town. In 1849, Dr. Bartlett Durham donated land for a railroad stop — a gesture that led to the city’s name. The City of Durham cemented its place in history after Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox when the Union’s General Sherman and the Confederacy’s General Johnston negotiated the largest surrender and the end of the Civil War at what became known as “Bennett Place” in Durham. As both armies made there way home after the end of the war, they discovered the mild flavor of the area’s Brightleaf Tobacco. Those soldiers liked the tobacco so much that they wrote letters asking for more when they arrived home which led to the formation of one of the biggest tobacco companies in the world –Bull Durham Tobacco Company. Shortly thereafter, in 1898, John Merrick founded North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, which today is the largest and oldest African American-owned life insurance company in the nation. Not surprisingly, the combination led to rapid growth and expansion in Durham during the turn of the 20th century.
Duke Power (now Duke Energy) electrified the area in the early part of the 20th century which contributed to the textile industry locating just outside Durham. That, in turn, led to a doubling of the population of the city. Unfortunately, both the tobacco and textile industry were experiencing an economic decline by the middle of the 20th century. It was about that time that Duke University, along with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, persuaded the North Carolina Legislature to purchase a large tract of land in southern Durham County where they created the nation’s first “science park” for industry. That park would eventually be named Research Triangle Park and would bring economic prosperity and growth to the area well into the next century. RTP scientists have developed everything from Astroturf to AZT and won Nobel Prizes in the process.
Durham in the 21st Century
Like many cities, Durham experienced urban decline during the 20th century. Also like many other cities, Durham launched a downtown revitalization project that has led to somewhat of an economic and cultural renaissance. The American Tobacco Historic District has attracted a number of upper scale restaurants and entertainment venues.
Residents and visitors alike will find plenty to do in Durham. If you are looking for cultural options, the Durham Performing Arts Center now ranks in the top ten in theater ticket sales in the US according to Pollstar magazine and you won’t want to miss the American Dance Festival, the most important modern dance festival in the country. History buffs can visit Bennett Place and Historic Stagville for a glimpse into the past. Museums of all types abound in Durham as do sporting attractions and outdoor activities. You will also find numerous dining and shopping options throughout Durham, including in the newly revitalized downtown area.
Clarity Legal Group in the Durham, North Carolina Community
When you take into consideration the importance of your estate plan, selecting the right estate planning attorney to work with you on that plan should take on a heightened importance. At Clarity Legal Group we understand what your estate plan means to you and we are dedicated to helping you create a plan that accomplishes everything you need it to accomplish. Moreover, our goal is to create a lifelong relationship with each of our Durham, North Carolina clients to ensure that the estate plan you create today continues to work for you in the years ahead.
One of the most common estate planning mistakes people make is to create an estate plan and then forget about it. Your estate plan, however, must grow along with you in order to continue to be effective. The plan you create when you are young, single, and just beginning your career will not work as effectively 20 years down the road when you are middle aged, married, and have amassed significant estate assets. That initial estate plan, for example, may focus solely on ensuring that you do not leave behind an intestate estate in the unlikely event of your death. As such, a Last Will and Testament may be all you need at that time. Changes in your life though, should trigger corresponding changes to your estate plan. Married and parenthood, for instance, means you need to change beneficiary and fiduciary designations in your plan. It should also cause you to incorporate an incapacity planning component and tools for parents with minor children, such as a living trust, into your plan. As your asset portfolio grows, you may need to include asset protection along with probate and tax avoidance strategies into your estate plan. Looking toward your retirement years should prompt you to blend your retirement plan and estate plan to ensure that they work well together. In addition, long-term care planning may necessitate the addition of a Medicaid planning component within your overall estate plan. Lastly, if you feel strongly about end of life medical treatment, you should consider executing an advance directive to ensure that your wishes will be followed when the time comes.
The estate planning attorneys at Clarity Legal Group would be honored to help you create an estate plan that protects everything that matters to you, both now and in the future.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, or wish to make an appointment to get started on an estate plan, contact the experienced Durham, North Carolina estate planning attorneys at Clarity Legal Group by calling 919-484-0012 to schedule your appointment today.