What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution for parties involved in civil litigation. Mediation is a negotiation facilitated by a mediator (a trained, neutral third party). During mediation, the parties work to resolve their disputes in hopes of avoiding...

What is an Executor/Executrix/Personal Representative?

An executor or executrix is a person named by a testator (deceased person with a will) to carry out the terms of the testator’s will. Executor is the masculine version of the noun, while executrix is the feminine version of the noun. Personal representative and...

What is an Easement?

An easement is a right of use over the property of another. The party gaining the benefit of the easement is the dominant estate and the party granting the easement is the servient estate. The dominant estate does not have the right to exclude others from the...

What is a Default Judgment?

A default judgment is a judgment entered by a court against a party when said party fails to perform a court-ordered action. Typically default judgments arise when a Plaintiff has filed a suit and a Defendant has failed to file an Answer to the Complaint within the...

What is Intestate Succession?

Intestate succession is the legal phrase for distributing the assets of a deceased person who died without a valid will. Intestate refers to a person who dies without a valid will. Succession refers to how that person’s estate is distributed. The law of intestate...

What is Due Diligence?

Due diligence is a period of time after signing a purchase and sell contract to buy a property in which the buyer of a property conducts inspections, appraisals, surveys, etc at the buyer’s own expense. Buyers should make thorough inquiries into whether the property...

What is Litigation?

Litigation is the process of taking legal action against one or more parties in a court of law. Generally, parties find themselves in litigation as a result of failed negotiations or mediation after a dispute has arisen. The process begins when a party (the Plaintiff)...

What is an eClosing?

An eClosing is the electronic signing of some or all mortgage loan closing documents in a secure digital environment, as opposed to the traditional pen and paper signing. North Carolina's first eClosing occurred in May 2017. An eClosing offers a potentially more...

What is Summary Judgment?

Summary Judgment is a mechanism by which parties can resolve some or all of the pending claims in a civil action. Summary Judgment is governed by Rule 56 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. A motion for summary judgment shall be rendered if the record...

What can Sellers do about a Low Appraisal?

Sellers can order a second appraisal, offer a list of comparable properties that have recently sold, or lower the contract price after receipt of a low appraisal. When an appraisal comes in low, tensions can get high. There are many potential reasons for a low...

What is Probate?

Probate has 2 definitions: Probate is the process for determining whether a Will is valid. Probate also refers to the administration of a Decedent’s estate. The person who has died is often referred to as a Decedent. When a Decedent has a Will in place, the Court will...

What is Estate Litigation?

Litigation is the process of working through a legal action in Court. There are many situations where litigation could arise. When a Will or Trust is disputed, when competency is challenged, or when there is a dispute about the person administering the Trust or Will,...

Is the Will Valid? (Caveat)

Disputes can arise over the question of whether the Will is valid, whether the Will is truly the last Will and Testament of the Decedent. Caveat is the name given to a legal action challenging the validity of a Will that has been submitted for Probate. The purpose of...

Who Administers the Estate?

Typically, the Will identifies the person who will oversee the distribution of the estate. The person is often referred to as Executor or, if a woman, an Executrix. The Executor/Executrix will apply for Letters Testamentary. If there is no Will, a person may apply for...

What is Testamentary Capacity?

A Will must comply with very specific legal requirements. The Testator (person creating the Will) must have sufficient mental capacity to make and execute the Will. If the Testator does not understand any one of the elements below at the time the Will is signed, then...

What is Guardianship?

A Guardianship Proceeding is a type of Estate Litigation. It is a Court action where the Clerk of Court determines whether a person is incompetent. If the Clerk decides that the person is incompetent, the Clerk will then decide who should be the person’s Guardian. If...

What is Undue Influence?

What is Undue Influence? Edit By Clayton Krohn | April 11, 2016 The Will was created as a result of undue influence if it is proven that the Testator created a Will which he would not have otherwise made without such influence.  The undue influence must act on the...

How can an Executor be removed?

When a person with a Will dies, the Will may be submitted for Probate. Typically, the Will identifies the person who will oversee the administration of the Probate. This person is called an Executor or an Executrix. Executors are subject to fiduciary duties. For...

How can a Trustee be removed?

When a Trust is established, the document will identify the Trustee. The Trustee oversees the administration of the Trust. Trustees are subject to fiduciary duties. For example, a Trustee is supposed to act in good faith, with reasonable care, foresight and diligence....