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LICENSURE

Licensed and in good standing to practice law in North Carolina as of the date of application.

SUBSTANTIAL INVOLVEMENT IN ESTATE PLANNING LAW

During the five years preceding application:

Average of at least 500 hours a year.

Minimum of 400 hours for any one year.

Practice equivalents may be accepted for the following:

  • receipt of an LL.M. degree in taxation or estate planning and probate law;
  • service as a trust officer for one year;
  • service as a law professor for one year.

In addition, applicants must demonstrate involvement in specific estate planning activities as defined below: (i) counseled persons in estate planning, including giving advice with respect to gifts, life insurance, wills, trusts, business arrangements and agreements, and other estate planning matters; (ii) prepared or supervised the preparation of (1) estate planning instruments, such as simple and complex wills (including provisions for testamentary trusts, marital deductions and elections), revocable and irrevocable inter vivos trusts (including short-term and minor's trusts), business planning agreements (including buy-sell agreements and employment contracts), powers of attorney and other estate planning instruments; and (2) federal and state gift tax returns, including representation before the Internal Revenue Service and the North Carolina Department of Revenue in connection with gift tax returns; (iii) handled or advised with respect to the probate of wills and the administration of decedents' estates, including representation of the personal representative before the clerk of superior court, guardianship, will contest, and declaratory judgment actions; (iv) prepared, reviewed or supervised the preparation of federal estate tax returns, North Carolina inheritance tax returns, and federal and state fiduciary income tax returns, including representation before the Internal Revenue Service and the North Carolina Department of Revenue in connection with such tax returns and related controversies.

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

During the three years preceding application:

At least 72 hours of CLE credits in estate planning and related fields.

At least 45 hours shall be in estate planning and probate law (provided, however, that eight of the 45 hours may be in the related areas of elder law, Medicaid planning, and guardianship).

The balance may be in the related areas of taxation, business organizations, real property, family law, elder law, Medicaid planning, and guardianship.

PEER REVIEW

Must provide the names of ten lawyers or judges who are familiar with the competence and qualification of the applicant in estate planning.

All references must be licensed and in good standing to practice law.

A reference may not be related by blood or marriage to the applicant nor may the reference be a colleague at the applicant’s place of employment at the time of the application.

EXAM

6 hours long (two 3-hour sessions).

Morning Session – objective questions, including multiple choice - 9 AM to 12 PM.

Afternoon session – short and comprehensive essay questions - 2 PM to 5 PM.

Exam administered at the NC State Bar building.

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS

Additional provisions may apply, so please review the certification standards set forth in 27 NCAC Subchapter D, Sections .2300.