New Firm Name & Partners

New Firm Name The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black will now be doing business as Law Firm Carolinas. The firm, which practices in North and South Carolina, has four offices: Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle (Garner) and Coastal (Wilmington). New Partners In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals. Ruby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Elon University School of Law (2010) and is based in the Greensboro office. Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment collections … Continue reading

Coronavirus (COVID-19) HOA & Condo Blog Articles

During the past month we have posted a number of articles on how community associations should respond to the coronavirus crisis as well as changes in HOA/condo practices that may need to be considered. For ease of finding, these articles are linked below: The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings – 2/26/20 Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do? – 3/1/2020 “Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!” – 3/14/2020 How to Hold Your North Carolina HOA/Condo Hearing in a Pandemic – 3/24/2020 Should My Community Close Its Common Areas Due to COVID-19? – 3/25/2020 What to Do About … Continue reading

Emergency Video Notarization in North Carolina in the Real Estate Transaction Context during the COVID-19 Crisis

On May 4, 2020, the North Carolina Governor signed into law Senate Bill 704.  The Law was drafted specifically to respond to hardships created by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Crisis.  One of the key provisions of the Law, in consultation with and at the recommendation of the North Carolina Secretary of State, authorizes all Notaries Public of the State of North Carolina to, “temporarily perform emergency video notarizations so that notarial acts will not impede crucial business transactions, real estate transactions, medical documents, court documents, and most other important document notarizations.”  This emergency authorization is a temporary authorization, as … Continue reading

Emergency Video Notarization: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know

This past Monday, May 4, 2020, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 704, enacted as Session Law 2020-3, which is designed to aid North Carolinians in response to the Coronavirus disease. Of particular interest to Real Estate Agents is the portion of the bill found in Part IV entitled “Emergency Video Notarization.” Currently, when a real estate document requires notarization, that means the homebuyer must be “physically present” in front of the notary in order for the notarization to take place. Here at Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. we are experienced with our attorneys utilizing a variety of methods to close … Continue reading

How to Leave Money, Assets or an Inheritance to a Minor Child in North Carolina

Until a child reaches the age of eighteen (18), they cannot inherit property outright, or in their own name. It needs to be held for that child in one of several different ways. First, money or property can be left to a minor in a trust. Second, it can be left to a child under a court-supervised guardianship and third, it can be left to a child under the North Carolina uniform Transfer to Minors Act. Trust – A trust can be established during life or through a Will at someone’s death. If money is left to a minor child … Continue reading

WEBINAR: The Next Normal – Lifting COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders & The Impact on Community Associations

This week the Community Associations Institute (CAI) hosted a free live webinar on “The Next Normal – Lifting COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders & The Impact on Community Associations.” The goal was to provide timely, helpful information on how community associations prepare for the lifting of stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaches homeowner and condominium associations will need to take to reopen common areas and amenities.  Jim Slaughter of Black, Slaughter & Black participated as a panelist. If you did not see the program (or did and wish to share it with someone), CAI has made webinar available as a … Continue reading

North Carolina Estate Planning and the Coronavirus

Estate Planning practices are busier than ever. Clients are very concerned whether their estate plans are up to date and in order. Often clients have been meaning to make changes and do not get around to it. Something as frightening as a pandemic makes us stop and think about the important things in life—like making sure our loved ones are cared for in the event of an unlikely circumstance. Here are some suggestions of what you might consider at this time. Review your Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust – do they accurately reflect your wishes if you … Continue reading

Live Webinar for SC Community Associations Responding to COVID-19

The South Carolina Chapter of the Community Association Institute (CAI) will host a 1-hour “Coronavirus Update and Q&A” webinar this Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 10:20 am.  The Facebook Live webinar (you do not need a Facebook account to participate) will provide timely, helpful information on how HOA and condo associations should respond to the coronvirus pandemic and will include live Q&A. Attorneys Steve Black and David Wilson (who are licensed in both North and South Carolina) will be participating. More details and a sign-up can be found at this CAI-SC Facebook Webinar Page Topics to be covered include: Member and … Continue reading

Greensboro and Charlotte North Carolina Probate in the Midst of Coronavirus

While things have generally slowed down during this pandemic, the Courts have remained open to certain departments that simply cannot be put on hold. Two of these include: (1) Estates – this is where Probate Estates are administered, Spousal Allowance applications are processed and other similar matters. Probate is the court-supervised legal process that gives someone (executor or administrator) the authority to administer an estate. Administering the estate includes gathering the assets of the deceased person, paying the taxes and final bills and at the end distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will or set out … Continue reading

Quiet Title Actions in North Carolina

We frequently field questions from clients regarding their ownership in property that has been passed down through multiple generations of family members.  Issues tend to arise due to how title is held to the property.  Sometimes, several members of a family own a small share of a piece of property but are unsure of their exact ownership interests.  This can result in confusion and the inability to immediately sell the property to an eager buyer. Frequently, property held by a family for generations is never deeded down the generational line.  This results in a perceived gap or uncertainty in ownership.  … Continue reading

Are Your North Carolina Last Will and Testament and Guardianship Designations up to Date in the Midst of Coronavirus

Living with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, has made many people step back and take actions that ensure they are prepared. In the short term that means fighting the lines for food and cleaning supplies but in the long term it means making sure that all recommended important legal documents are up to date. Only two weeks ago, we thought that only older people were affected but now we know that people of all ages are at risk. Persons of all ages are reminded to make sure they have a Last Will and Testament in place. Young parents are … Continue reading

North Carolina Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives and Beneficiary Designations in the Midst of Coronavirus

Living with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for each individual to decide who it is that they trust most to make medical decisions if they cannot make those decisions themselves.  Many of us may get sick and in that case, we may need someone to make important decisions for us. If you have not already done so, this is the time, while you are well and thinking clearly, to make those decisions and memorialize them in the appropriate legal documents. This advice is not only intended for older people but for anyone over the age of … Continue reading

It May Be A Tiny Home, But Is It A Tiny Price?

It’s a tempting fad if you think about it—being able to purchase a beautiful new house for half the price and only have to clean half of a house. With home prices continuing to soar, and home inventory becoming less readily available every day, Reality TV shows focused on finding the right Tiny Home are starting to plant the seed in more and more home buyers’ minds that maybe they COULD give up some of the convenience that comes with the size of a traditional home. However, before you jump onto the Tiny Home bandwagon, there may be a couple … Continue reading

Handwritten (Holographic) Wills in North Carolina

North Carolina recognizes hand written Wills known as Holographic Wills in certain circumstances. A holographic will is handwritten, not typed, and must be entirely in the handwriting of the person making the Will (known as the Testator or Testatrix). Holographic wills are valid without witnesses, but the testator must still sign it. In addition to having the Testator’s name, the holographic Will must also be found: among the his or her valuable papers or effects, or in a safe-deposit box or other safe place where it was deposited by the testator or under the testator’s authority; or in the possession … Continue reading

Why Suze Orman May Not Get It Right for North Carolinians

            There are many interesting legal and financial correspondents on television and the radio. They serve a great purpose; to educate consumers on options for their consideration. However, in many circumstances, it can be dangerous to take their advice. These correspondents speak from a national platform and not necessarily one that pertains to those living in North Carolina. I find often when someone like Suze Orman gives advice, it may be great advice for someone who lives in California. As an attorney also licensed in California I nod my head in agreement for some of the advice she gives but … Continue reading

New 2020 Tax Law Ends The Stretch IRA

Under the law prior to January 1, 2020, if you inherited an IRA you could stretch out the required minimum distributions over your own lifetime. Stretching an IRA in this way allowed beneficiaries to receive income but also continue to realize the benefits of a tax advantaged investment. This tax benefit has now been killed by the new law signed by President Trump last week as part of the government’s spending bill. Under the new “Secure Act” which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” effective January 1, 2020, anyone who inherits an IRA (with an exception if … Continue reading

To Tow or Not to Tow?

One of the “hot-button” questions we receive from HOAs is about their authority to tow vehicles that are improperly parked in the subdivision. The primary question that the HOA needs to ask is whether the vehicle they want to tow is parked in a Common Area (parking lot or private street in most cases). If the answer to that question is yes, then as long as the Declaration provides the HOA authority to control and maintain those common areas, then the Board of Directors can establish reasonable rules for the use of those common areas, which could include towing improperly … Continue reading

What is a Trust?

Often clients tell me that they want a trust and immediately thereafter admit they really are not sure what a trust is or if they need one. They wonder if it is like a corporation or a contract or a Will? There are all different types of trusts but when the question comes up like this, typically people are asking about “revocable trusts” also known as “living trusts.” A revocable trust is a little like a Will and also like a contract or an agreement. However, you still need a separate Will when you establish this type of trust. They … Continue reading

The Basics of Title Insurance

Purchasing a home is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in one’s life. It can also be a very confusing process for first-time homebuyers or for people that do not deal in real estate transactions often. One of the more confusing aspects of a real estate purchase is the importance of title insurance. Prior to sitting at the closing table, very few buyers have ever heard of, let alone understand, the concept of title insurance. Title insurance can protect the buyer and the lender, if a home loan is required for purchase, from undue loss caused by a … Continue reading

Best Lawyers Recognition 2020

Black, Slaughter & Black and two of its attorneys have been named to the 2020 US News Best Lawyers in America. Jim Slaughter has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practices of Community Association Law and Real Estate Law. Keith Black has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practice of Family Law. Black, Slaughter & Black is again the only firm in North Carolina with a listing of “Community Association Law.”