Areas of Practice

Estate Planning
- Taxation - Wills and Trusts
Like-Kind Exchanges - Business Law - Elder Law and Medicaid Planning - Asset Protection

Estate Planning
It is said that the estate tax is the only “voluntary” tax that we have. That doesn’t mean that you only have to pay if you volunteer, it means that with effective planning, the estate tax can be reduced or eliminated.

But estate planning is much more than planning for taxes. The best estate plans certainly take taxes and other expenses into account, but the main focus of any plan has to be to identify the client’s wishes and to formulate a plan that will carry out those wishes.

We seek to understand the unique circumstances of each client and to formulate a plan customized to that client’s needs.

The most effective estate planning is a long-term process. We have implemented plans involving family partnerships, sales to defective grantor trusts, private annuities, gifting programs, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, installment sales, and self-canceling notes.

We provide a broad range of tax services to clients. Tax planning for individuals and for businesses is vitally important in our current economy. A small amount expended for tax planning, both in money and time, can yield good results.

We handle both federal and state tax controversies. We have handled audits for many clients both at the state and federal levels. We assist clients with offers in compromise, audits and administrative appeals. We are experienced in dealing with both the Internal Revenue Service and the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Mr. Shelley is the only attorney in Cabarrus County who has a masters of law in taxation, a special degree awarded for post-graduate study and research in the fields of taxation and estate planning. He has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as “one of the preeminent tax lawyers in America.”

Wills and Trusts
The vast majority of people living in North Carolina need nothing more than a simple will, together with ancillary documents (such as powers of attorney) to handle adequately their affairs. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in North Carolina do not even have those simple documents.

A smaller number of people will need “entry level” estate planning. We are one of the few firms in the area that provide substantial expertise at this level and beyond. We pride ourselves on being able to provide this service competently and at a reasonable cost. In many cases, we are able to charge only a flat fee. It has been our experience that most clients are more comfortable if they know what their legal bill will be “up front.” Clients don’t like surprises and we have structured our practice to accommodate that preference.

Most of the time, we work with clients to try to avoid probate as much as possible. When clients have a probate estate, we work with them to provide efficient administration of estates. We have nearly forty years’ combined experience in settling estates. We also pride ourselves in providing excellent representation for clients who have taxable estates.

Like-Kind Exchanges
We provide a broad range of services in connection with real estate transactions. We can help you structure a land sale as a tax-free exchange (forward, reverse and build-to-suit exchanges). If your goal is to preserve capital gain treatment on your land sale, we can also help you accomplish that goal.

Selling the family farm has become a challenge in Cabarrus County and in other areas surrounding Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington. We work regularly with farmers and other land owners who have decided to sell their land, helping them to minimize their taxes and to acquire replacement property in tax-deferred transactions if that suits their needs.

Business Law
We help our clients select and establish the best legal entity to form their business. Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), C Corporations and S Corporations have subtle differences that many people gloss over. We help clients navigate the details to make wise choices. We also assist clients in all aspects of tax planning related to the operation of their businesses. Our staff members have various backgrounds including backgrounds in business, taxation, contracts and banking which give them different perspectives when examining a client’s situation. If a client’s business problem is beyond our areas of expertise, we work with that client in securing the best representation possible. (See “Is a small firm right for me?”)

Mr. Shelley has handled numerous mergers and acquisitions representing both clients selling their businesses and clients acquiring businesses.

Elder Law and Medicaid Planning
More and more of our population is living longer. Whereas a generation ago the term “Alzheimers” was unusual, today it seems as if everyone has a family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers, has had a stroke, cancer or some other medical condition that required specialized care.

Because of the way our society is now structured, we have to rely more on nursing homes to care for ourselves or our loved ones when these types of problems arise. To say that nursing home care is expensive is an understatement. It can be devastating financially.

We have developed our practice to address the needs of these people and their families. Our Elder Law practice entails developing the best legal plan available to address a client’s needs. When appropriate, this can include examining the client’s finances to determine whether the client can qualify for Medicaid, Special Assistance or some other governmental health plan.

The Medicaid rules and regulations are tricky. Giving away assets in the wrong way can disqualify someone from receiving Medicaid for years. (See “Asset Protection.”)

We work with clients to make sure that the essential documents needed are in place. These include financial powers of attorney, health care power of attorney, living wills, trusts, etc.

Asset Protection
Asset protection is important in many contexts. For businesses, we structure legal arrangements to protect owners and other business assets. Sometimes that is as simple as a vanilla corporation and sometimes it becomes complex with holding companies, operating companies and other entities to hold or manage assets.

For individuals, asset protection is usually indicated in two common situations. The first is the business owner or medical professional who is worried about malpractice lawsuits or other threats to their personal assets. Family Partnerships or LLCs are often used in these situations. We generally do not get involved in offshore trusts or similar arrangements, although from time to time we have evaluated proposals for existing clients. If a client truly needs that type of arrangement, we refer them to the appropriate professionals.

For other individuals, asset protection means protecting some of their assets from the spend down requirements of Medicaid or other government programs. We provide these services to clients as well.


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Phone Number

Office Location
Concord, North Carolina

115 Church Street North
Concord, NC

Telephone: 704-782-8282
Facsimile: 704-782-8285