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The Jonas Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
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Lincolnton North Carolina Legal Blog

Know the zoning and land use before buying property

Zoning laws are meant to provide a plan for how land within a city or municipality is being used. They help to prevent mixing usages that might disturb each other and be a detriment to both. The zones that are typically used include residential, commercial and industrial.

There are sometimes "mixed" zones, and there might also be zones for historical properties and other specialized types. For example, a parcel might be zoned for a small neighborhood store within a residential area to provide people who live there with a convenient option for getting some of life's necessities.

Have you written out your postmortem letter of instruction?

Writing out your estate plan is a big undertaking, but it isn't one that you should put off. Since you never know when something will happen to you, it's best to have the plan in place as early as possible. While many people automatically think about writing out their will and establishing trusts, there is another facet of estate planning to consider – the letter of instruction.

One of the most important things to remember about the letter of instruction is that it isn't a legally binding document. Your loved ones don't have to do what you say in it, but it's a good idea to leave one anyway because they might honor what you put in it.

Don't let complexities of divorce keep you in an unhappy marriage

A person who's considering divorce will have a lot to think about. For some, the thought of it being too difficult might be one that keeps surfacing. The fact is that the end of a marriage is a scary time but it isn't something that should force you to remain in an unhappy marriage.

Many people aren't prepared for the amount of information that comes with a divorce, so they might find it overwhelming. It might help you to take things one facet at a time. For example, think about child custody matters in one session and property division in another.

Plea deals can help people who admit to criminal activity

When you're charged with a criminal act, you have to think carefully about how you're going to handle the matter. There's a chance that your attorney will be able to work out a plea deal with the prosecution. You have to think carefully if this is something you're considering.

One of the most important things to remember about a plea deal is that you're going to have to admit that you did the crime as part of the deal. This means that plea arrangements are only appropriate for people who actually committed the crime.

Types of easements that could affect your property use

When you buy land or property, you probably have plans for how you want to use that land or the building. It can come as surprise to you to learn there is an easement that could affect how you are able to use the property. Whether you already purchased property with an easement or you are considering a purchase in the near future, it is in your interests to learn as much as possible about the easement and what it could mean for you.

An easement is a legally binding interest in property that belongs to someone else. In most cases, this typically means that someone beside the property owner has the right to use or access the land for a specific purpose. There are different types of easements, and they can mean different things for you as a North Carolina property owner.

Who will make medical decisions for you if you can't?

When you think about your estate plan, you probably mentally picture your will and any trusts you've made, but there is another facet of the plan that you need to consider. Many people become incapacitated before they pass away. You'll need someone to make decisions about your medical care. This person should have the health care power of attorney so that they can effectively do this.

The person you name your health care power of attorney should be someone you trust and who can make decisions based on what you would do if you were able to make the decisions yourself. They may have to work closely with the medical care team that's taking care of you.

Don't take the blame for your spouse cheating

A divorce is a challenging time in a person's life, especially if it came as a shock. Learning that your marriage is over because of infidelity is especially difficult because you might wonder how you're going to move forward alone while your ex has someone already.

One thing that you're likely going to experience is anger. Unfortunately, this can make you want to act out in an unbecoming manner. You can't fall into that temptation. Instead, you need to try to remain calm, so you can make decisions that are in your best interests. Remaining calm can also help you avoid doing something that will give your ex fuel in the divorce.

Property purchases may depend on zoning for the parcel

One factor that you have to consider when you are purchasing property is what the intended land use is. You also need look at the zoning, especially if you're planning on using the property for commercial use. Sometimes, the local bylaws and ordinances have an impact on what you can do with a parcel you purchase, so don't overlook any of those either.

Understanding the basics of these zoning principles can help you considerably when you're searching for properties. The zoning of the property will take the intended land use into account, so you can usually start with just checking the zoning for the parcel.

Handling marital debts during a divorce

When you divide marital property in a divorce, you must consider both the assets that you have as well as the debts. Often, the debts can be used to balance the property division settlement once the assets are divided.

As you split your debts, remember that you and your ex are both probably still going to be held legally liable for them. A property division order is a civil matter that exists only between you and your ex. This means that the creditors don't have to abide by the terms of the order. Some creditors are willing to work with people in this situation by transferring the account to the party who accepts responsibility for the debt but this is determined on a case-by-case basis. It might be possible for you to have certain debts transferred to accounts in your name if the creditor won't agree to remove your ex's name off the ones for which you're assigned responsibility. Consider this carefully, because you might end up having to pay for fees or higher interest rates.

Why you don't want to wait too long to draft an estate plan

No one can predict the future, but you can take certain steps that will allow you to have more control over things that may happen down the road. You can do this through estate planning, which includes drafting certain documents that let you make the final choice on important matters. Some of these matters include medical care you might need and what you want to happen to your estate after you pass. 

People may delay the estate planning process for many reasons. They may not think they really need to take this step because they are young and healthy, or they may assume they don't really have enough wealth to make this a priority. In reality, delaying the estate planning process can result in difficulties in the future for yourself and your loved ones.

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