Getting Started

Getting Started - Raleigh Elder Law

Attorney Amanda Spence has practiced Elder Law and Estate Planning in Raleigh since 1995. She assists clients throughout North Carolina with  issues in the following areas:

  • Medicaid
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Applications
  • Medicaid  Appeals
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Estate Administration
  • Wills and  Trusts
  • V.A. Benefits
  • Veterans’ Aid and Attendance
  • Advance  Directives
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Durable General Powers of Attorney
  • Health  Care Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Supplemental  Needs Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts

To schedule an appointment or contact Amanda Spence, please call (919) 863-4183 or email Ms. Spence at

Do You Really Need a Revocable Living Trust?

I often receive calls from clients asking if I could set up a Revocable Living Trust for them. Sure, I can, but the real question is why do you think you need a trust?

Many people believe they need a trust so that their assets will avoid probate at their death.  Financial advisor Suze Orman is constantly on television insisting that everyone must have a revocable living trust. While such trusts may be useful in states like New York or California where probate can be costly and time-consuming, that’s not generally the case in North Carolina. In North Carolina, probate is fairly quick and cheap, and in many situations, you’ll pay more to set up a trust than you’d pay in probate fees.

Revocable living trusts can be a big money-maker for attorneys, but why should you pay a few thousand dollars for a trust when your estate could be probated for only a few hundred dollars? Certainly, trusts can be valuable for certain clients, such as those with a disabled child, those seeking to protect assets from the cost of nursing home care or to qualify for certain government benefits, and those with taxable estates. However, for those clients merely seeking to avoid probate, a trust is not always the answer.


Is a trust right for you?  Contact attorney Amanda Spence to discuss your elder law and estate planning needs by telephone at (919) 863-4183 or email at

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal entity that is created as part of the estate planning process to hold assets that will be distributed by the terms of the trust documents. There are several different kinds of trusts that can be created to help accomplish your estate planning goals. A complex legal document is required to establish a trust.

What is Estate Planning?

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of evaluating your goals and concerns related to the transfer of your assets upon death and, in come cases, during your lifetime. Estate planning can include professional advisors such as lawyers, accountants, financial planners and others. Estate planning usually results in the preparation and signing of certain documents such as a will, advance directives, and trusts to accomplish your estate planning goals.