Our Practice Areas Include:
- Residential & Commercial Real Estate
- Estate Planning & Administration
- Asset Protection Planning
- Special Needs Planning
- Business Creation & Planning
Residential & Commercial Real Estate
Real estate buyers, sellers and developers come to us for our business approach to transactions and understanding of their needs. They stay with us because we understand the Outer Banks region and its somewhat unique requirements for real estate transactions. At our firm, we represent buyers and sellers in all types of commercial and residential projects. Our services include: contract preparation, interpretation and enforcement, preparation of purchase agreements, deeds, and bills of sale, closings, title issues, ancillary estates, coordination of section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, commercial and retail leases, zoning, land-use, variances and planning issues, workouts of troubled real estate projects, land acquisition and development, construction projects and liens, and covenants and restrictions.
Our services include:
- Residential and Commercial Purchases and Sales
- Commercial Leasing
- Developer Representation
- Lender Representation
- Landlord Tenant Matters
- Construction Associated with Development
- Boundary Disputes
- Title Claims
- Licensing Issues
- Comprehensive Real Estate Litigation
- Section 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges
Estate Planning & Administration
We handle a wide variety of estate planning matters, including planning for the distribution of an individual’s property at his or her death and taking into account wills, taxes, insurance, property, and trusts so as to gain the maximum benefit of all laws, while, at the same time, carrying out the person’s wishes. By way of example, estate planning may include wills, spousal and children’s trusts, insurance trusts, special needs trusts, pet trusts, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, advance medical directives, powers of attorney (general, specific, and medical), as well as an array of sophisticated planning techniques used to protect assets from unnecessary probate costs and taxation.
Revocable trusts are a very popular estate planning tool. Revocable trusts are used to allow clients to avoid the probate process and provide a means for proper asset distribution and management of assets in the event of incapacity. Revocable trusts name a trustee to manage one’s assets in the event of permanent loss of capacity, temporary unavailability or upon death. A revocable trust may be used to retain assets for later generations while properly planning for all available tax benefits. In addition, a revocable trust can provide for protective trusts for beneficiaries who may be too young or immature to receive the assets or who are disabled or going through a divorce.
In addition to estate planning, we also assist clients with Probate and Estate Administration. Probate is the legal process by which a person’s assets are paid and assets are distributed upon his or her death. Estate Administration includes the probate process as well as the non-probate transfer of the deceased’s assets. Individual state laws vary greatly, so, it is important to consult a firm with expertise in the area of the law to ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed correctly.
Our services include:
- Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts
- Durable General and Durable Limited Powers of Attorney
- Durable Medical Powers of Attorney
- Disability Planning
- Funding of Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts
- Deeds and Assignments
- Family Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
- Gifting Programs/Planning
- Children’s Trusts
- Premarital and Marital Agreements
- Fiduciary Responsibilities
- Preparation of Inventories and Accountings
- Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings
Asset Protection Planning
Asset protection planning is a primary area of our practice. Asset protection planning involves protecting yourself and your assets from loss due to lawsuits, creditors, bankruptcies as well as the devastation that can be caused by a serious illness. We are here to assist you with the creation of strategies geared to protect your assets against the claims of existing or prospective clients.
As family members age, it is important to plan for future health issues. The average monthly cost in a skilled nursing home has now reached $7300.00. It is a common misconception that Medicare will cover the entire cost of a nursing home stay. The maximum days for full coverage from Medicare is 20 days and the maximum number of days of partial coverage is 80. This only applies if the nursing home resident continues to show signs of improvement during the 100-day total period. Medicaid is a joint federal and state-funded program that pays for the majority of long-term care costs for individuals in the U.S. To qualify, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria – both financial and non-financial.
Most people do not automatically qualify for Medicaid and believe they must exhaust their net worth before receiving financial assistance, leaving nothing behind for their children and loved ones. With proper advance planning, a family may be able to preserve significant assets for future generations, protect those assets from a future estate recovery claim by the State, and still qualify a loved one for Medicaid benefits when it is needed.
Our services include:
- Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
- Spendthrift and Discretionary Trusts
- Medicaid Eligibility Planning
- Choice of Entity Planning
- General and Limited Partnerships
- Subchapter S Corporations
- Professional Corporations and Professional Limited Liability Companies
- Registered Agent/Annual Report Service
- Installment Sales
- Employment and Executive Agreements/Contracts
- Non-compete Agreements
In the event an individual is unable to manage his or her personal or financial affairs and advance directives have not been completed, we are here to advise clients regarding all aspects of legal guardianship proceedings.
Guardianship is a legal relationship established by the court in which a person is given legal authority over another person when he or she is unable to make sound decisions regarding his or her personal or financial affairs.
The guardianship process requires the filing of court documents for the adjudication of incompetency and appointment of a Guardian, the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem for the purpose of reporting to the court its recommendation regarding the need for the appointment of a guardian, attendance and presentation of evidence at a court hearing, and the post-appointment filing of court documents which include annual accountings.
We provide consultation services to children and other relatives, such as nieces, nephews and cousins, frequently about their legal rights and obligations when a guardianship proceeding is commenced either by the Adult Protective Services or another family member. In some cases, the children and other relatives live out of state, making it extremely difficult to participate in the guardianship process. We are here to fill this void by attending all hearings scheduled by the court and filing legal papers with the court outlining our clients’ position regarding the need for the appointment of a guardian, who the appointed guardian should be, the development of a care plan for the ward and the development of a financial plan for the management of the ward’s assets.
In some cases, guardianship matters are adversarial due to family conflicts. We haves extensive experience handling contested guardian proceedings. Therefore, we are able to guide our clients through very difficult and often emotional proceedings.
Our services include:
- Incompetency and Guardianship Proceedings
- Development of Care Plan for Ward
- Management of Ward’s assets
- Preparation of Accountings
Special Needs Planning
The United States government provides financial assistance through Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to some extent, but it is rarely sufficient to meet all of the needs of the disabled. We recognize that caregivers do not add up the cost of support and caring for an individual with a disability. Caregivers provide many services naturally and willingly to loved ones to help enhance their quality of life. If you become unable to provide these services or die without planning for the continuation of these services, your loved one’s quality of life may suffer. As the average life span of our population continues to increase, and the elderly and persons with disabilities live longer than ever before, attorneys are challenged to properly protect them.
A special needs trust is an important legal tool which holds assets to care for and protect the elderly and persons with disabilities while allowing them to continue to receive their government benefits. A special needs trust may be created with the proceeds from a judgment or settlement or by a loved one with concerns for a beneficiary in need. Dixon & Dixon Law Offices is prepared to handle all pre- and post-settlement needs of persons with disabilities, as well as proper planning for their future. Special needs trusts have many benefits, including:
- preserving eligibility for government benefits;
- providing funds to pay for “extras,” (e.g., homes, automobiles and prescription drugs);
- protecting a case settlement from being immediately depleted due to the high cost of health care;
- keeping assets within the family; and
- giving family members much needed peace of mind by providing funds to care for their loved ones who may not be able to care for themselves.
We establish comprehensive care plans organized so that monies for your loved one with special needs will not be at risk from estate taxes or the long-term care costs of caregivers.
Our services include:
- Apply and qualify for SSI benefits for a person with disabilities
- Apply and qualify for Medicaid for a person with disabilities
- Provide for a person with special needs in your Will
- Apply for Guardianship
- Set up a Special Needs Trust
- Set up a Supplemental Needs Trust
- Inform you of the estate planning options available to you
- Assist clients with long term care and asset preservation and protection planning for loved ones with disabilities
- Family trusts and agreements
- Family care agreements
- Durable powers of attorney
- Health care proxies and living wills
- Medicaid applications and appeals for nursing home and assisted living facility care
- SSI disability
Business Creation & Planning
General partnerships. Limited partnerships. Limited liability companies. S corporations. C corporations: there are a lot of choices when you are looking at the type of legal entity you want to create. Each has specific tax and liability implications. We will carefully explain the differences to you and, based on your objectives, will make a recommendation regarding the best structure to meet your goals. We will also prepare and file all the necessary documents to establish your enterprise in compliance with North Carolina law, including partnership agreements, articles of incorporation or organization, by-laws and tax registrations.
- Limited Liability Companies
- Buy-sell, Shareholder and Partnerships Agreements
- Sale of Purchase of Business
- Liquidation of Business
- Joint Venture Agreements
If you would like information on any of our services, please contact our office at 252-995-6086