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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for May, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

As Memorial Day approaches in the Wilmington, NC area, the usual excitement and preparation for a holiday weekend has been replaced by uncertainty and frustration.

Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo announced on Friday morning that there will be several changes effective at 5:00 p.m. on May 22, for the phase 2 of reopening our economy. One change is the maximum capacity for hotels and motels was raised from 25% to 50%. Some restaurants and salons will be allowed to reopen with restrictions and limited capacity, but bars and breweries are still not allowed to reopen with this Phase 2.

In addition, Wrightsville Beach has lifted all short-term rental restrictions, beaches will be open to all activities, and more parking will be available at certain access points. On-street parking will remain closed to the public.

At Topsail Beach, there has also been restrictions lifted to allow activities and recreation on the beach, and some parking will be available. However, beachgoers are required to comply with regulations that are still in place, restricting groups of more than 10 people, and to maintain a minimum of six feet distance between you and other visitors.

In Carolina Beach specifically, Mayor LeAnn Pierce has amended the State of Emergency Declaration, allowing certain restaurants with private, off-road parking lots to use up to 25% of their parking lot to accommodate outdoor dining.

Other beaches, such as Kure, Ocean Isle, Holden, and Surf City, may also have their own specific guidelines, so make sure to research the restrictions before visiting one of our beautiful beaches over this Memorial Day Weekend.

We hope it will not become necessary, but if you or your loved one find yourself in need of an attorney for a serious personal injury, or you get into trouble with a criminal matter, or receive a traffic ticket, please give our office a call for a confidential consultation. We also handle wills and estates with our of counsel attorney, Mitch Baker.  

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

Plan Ahead – Be Prepared – Have a Will

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

In general, but especially in times of a pandemic as we are currently experiencing, it is important to plan ahead and get prepared.

For the scenario that you become unable to make health care decisions on your own, you can appoint an agent in a healthcare power of attorney. That agent would then make decision for you as outlined in the healthcare power of attorney. 

If you become disabled beyond a reasonable expectation of recovery and are unable to communicate your own choices, you can give instructions for the future to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging measures by signing a living will. 

Both forms of advance directives can be amended or revoked at any time.

You should also think about how you want your property or estate to be disposed.   In situations in which the deceased did not dispose of their property or estate by a valid will, such property and estate will be disposed pursuant to the intestate succession laws. Which state’s intestacy laws apply is determined by the deceased’s domicile at the time of their passing and by the type of property that belongs to the estate. North Carolina intestate succession laws are laid out in Chapter 29 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

If you create a will, often referred to as “last will and testament,” you can make a legal declaration of your wishes regarding the disposal of your property or estate after your death.  In North Carolina, wills are governed by Chapter 31 of the General Statues.

While you have a choice whether to have a will or not, the legal benefits of having a will are significant.  Therefore, it is important that you are well informed of the intestate succession laws applicable to your estate, and, if these laws do not reflect your wishes regarding the disposal of your property or estate upon your death, you should create their own will.

If you or a loved one needs help with a living will, a healthcare power of attorney, will, or estate in Southeastern North Carolina, in or around Wilmington, NC, in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, or Pender County, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000.  As members of our community, we believe that our neighbors deserve quality representation when it comes time to create or update wills, or advance directives.  And, as practitioners of the law, we are obligated by law, tradition, and ethics, to provide you with honest advice and guidance while protecting your confidential information.

By Jana H. Collins

COVID-19 Economic Crisis & Job Market Aftermath – Expunge Your Record

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 20.5 million jobs lost in April of 2020 in the United States, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the United States fell from approximately 3.5% in February of this year, to a whopping 14.7% by the end of April. The New York Times reports that 78.3% of Americans who lost their jobs in April of 2020 categorized their job loss as a temporary layoff, and 11% said their job loss was permanent.

Times like these, where unemployment and uncertainty are high, individuals with a criminal record can have a difficult time finding new employment. Even old charges, if they were not expunged, will still show up on a background check. It is more important now than ever to have a clean record when looking for a new job. The sooner you pursue an expunction of your record, the sooner you can have a clean record. Not only will your clean record be more pleasing to potential employers, but you will have a weight lifted off your shoulders for having your charges expunged.

Expungement is a legal action in which the petitioner or plaintiff seeks that the court destroys or seals prior criminal convictions from Federal or State official records. Until December 1, 2017, an individual could pursue an Expunction only once in their lifetime in the state of North Carolina. However, with the ratification of Senate Bill 445 on July 28, 2017, the accessibility of the expunction process has been drastically improved effective December 1, 2017. Unless an individual has a felony conviction on their record, there is no limit on how many charges that individual can get expunged off their record as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Without an expungement, criminal charges remain on one’s record even when there is no conviction.

David Collins has been handling scores of expunctions for over two decades in New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.  If you are interested in having your record expunged, please give our office a call at (910) 793-9000 for a confidential consultation to discuss your eligibility. 

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal