Garlock & McKinney, P.C., is a boutique law firm in the Black Mountain/Asheville area that is quickly becoming known for offering a personal touch to legal solutions. The practice mainly consists of probate & estate administration, estate planning, trusts, and guardianship law. Attorneys Victor Garlock, Mariah McKinney, and Katie Mays come with a wide range of experience and expertise in various fields of law.
Garlock & McKinney, Attorneys at Law
Our attorneys have the know-how and experience to create for you the appropriate trust to meet your needs and goals—to give you peace of mind. They can also serve as trustee to manage an existing trust.
Various kinds of trusts offer different benefits for our clients or their heirs. For example, a Revocable Living Trust as part of an estate plan may simplify the administration of the estate after the client’s death. An Irrevocable Trust could be useful in tax planning. Pet trusts guarantee your pets are taken care of when you are no longer around.
A Special Needs Trust is a good way to fund someone with a disability without adversely affecting his government benefits.
While many trusts are straightforward and can be managed without an attorney, it is vital that the trustee follow closely the instructions of the trust. Call our experienced attorneys for help with the intricacies of creating and managing the right trust for you.
Guardianship clients have peace of mind when they have us by their side for the complex accountings required by the court.
Attorney Victor C. Garlock has been practicing law for 27 years, having gained considerable expertise in the area of guardianship law. As the Public Guardian for Buncombe County, North Carolina, the Clerk of Court appoints Victor to serve as Guardian of the Estate for persons who cannot handle their own affairs due to age, incapacity, injury, or disability.
Attorney Mariah D. McKinney is uniquely qualified to work with guardianships due to her previous employment with the North Carolina Judicial Branch. There she worked as an assistant clerk of court, as well as an associate legal counsel where she provided legal advice, training, and procedural support to clerks of court statewide in the areas of guardianships, trusts, estates, special proceedings and civil law.
When the court appoints a guardian, it might be one of three types: (1) a Guardian of the Person, who would help with the everyday decisions, healthcare, and living arrangements; (2) a Guardian of the Estate, who would manage the financial affairs including real property; and (3) a General Guardian who would serve in both of those capacities.
Our firm understands the legal complexities of guardianships and can help you make decisions about your loved one’s needs, as well as guide you through the maze of court proceedings and reporting requirements.
Peace of mind is simply a bonus when our clients engage our firm to help administer the estate of a loved one. Probate is the administration of a person’s estate that is overseen by the Clerk of the Superior Court. The probate process includes paying the decedent’s debts, taxes, and administrative expenses, then distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the heirs named in the will. Our firm can assist you as executor or personal representative, or we can administer the estate for you. Even if your loved one died without a will, we can help administer that estate according to the laws of North Carolina.
Our clients enjoy peace of mind after one of our attorneys helps them plan the distribution of their estate for their surviving family and friends.
If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed according to North Carolina law. That may not be what you want. Be assured that your personal wishes will be followed by meeting with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to work out the details of your estate plan. Besides a last will and testament, we can prepare for you a general power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. Your estate planning might also include a trust agreement which can be an effective way of reducing the costs of settling your estate. In addition, our attorneys will be able to advise you regarding life insurance beneficiaries, investment account beneficiaries, and real estate.
Meet Our Team
Victor C. Garlock
Victor Garlock began his practice of law upon his admission to the New York Bar in 1992 and worked several years as a litigator defending insurance companies in Albany, New York. In 1995, he met his wife Vicki (yes, it’s Victor and Victoria) while vacationing in Florida. She lived in Birmingham, Alabama, so by the end of the year, he moved there, took the Alabama bar exam, and worked as a litigation associate for a few years in Birmingham.
After obtaining her PhD in psychology, Vicki took a job as a professor at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina, just outside Asheville. Victor was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in February of 1998. After a brief stint working for another attorney in the Asheville area, Victor began his own practice in the fall of 1998.
In addition to beginning his solo practice of law, Victor also began a personal bookkeeping business now called Fidelicare, Inc. Fidelicare is devoted to helping people needing assistance with their daily affairs, as well as supporting individuals serving others as trustee, attorney-in-fact (power of attorney) or guardian. Fidelicare also provides trustee services for trusts, including Special Needs Trusts. For more information, visit the Fidelicare website at www.fidelicare.net.
Victor maintained a solo law office until 2015, when Mariah McKinney joined his practice. In 2016, Victor and Mariah founded Garlock & McKinney, P.C., with offices in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Victor’s practice areas include estate planning, estate administration (probate), guardianship law, and business organization. As the Public Guardian for Buncombe County, North Carolina, the Clerk of Court appoints Victor to serve as Guardian of the Estate for incompetent adults and minors. Victor is a member of the 28th Judicial District Bar and the North Carolina Bar Association. He volunteers with the Pisgah Legal Services Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer Program to provide wills and powers of attorney to low income residents of Western North Carolina. He also works with Pisgah Legal Services in a telephone guardianship clinic answering questions and giving advice about guardianship matters.
Victor and Vicki live in Asheville. They have two children, a daughter who has left the nest to attend college, and a son who is still at home attending middle school. When he’s not practicing law or managing Fidelicare and Garlock & McKinney, he enjoys time with his family, which includes playing video games (badly) with his son, playing table tennis (better than video games, but still not that great) and traveling.
Mariah D. McKinney
Having practiced law for more 15 years in North Carolina, Mariah D. McKinney brings to the firm a wealth of experience in the areas of probate law, guardianships, estate administration, will drafting trusts, and proceedings before the Clerk of Superior Court. She also provides legal and financial management services to her law partner, Victor C. Garlock, in his role as the Buncombe County Public Guardian and as the founder of the fiduciary services company Fidelicare, Inc. Five years of Mariah’s experience consists of her services as an Assistant Clerk of Court overseeing the estates divisions in two counties in North Carolina and as Associate Legal Counsel with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. As Associate Counsel she provided legal advice, training, and procedural support to the Clerks of Court and their staffs statewide in the areas of guardianships, trusts, estates, special proceedings and civil law.
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Kathleen “Katie” Mays is an associate with Garlock & McKinney, focusing her practice on estate and trust administration, estate planning, and guardianship law. Katie received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Virginia), where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the university’s literary journal, co-chaired the women’s organization, and received the Ring Tum Phi award for her commitment to the student community. She then attended Duke Law School, where she was an associate editor of the journal Law and Contemporary Problems, and graduated cum laude in 2005. After practicing for several years in securities law at a nationally known firm in Washington DC, Katie moved with her husband and children to Asheville, where she took a hiatus from her legal career to concentrate on family. In 2017, she returned to the practice of law with Garlock & McKinney.
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Karen Horgan has been providing administrative and legal support for Fidelicare and Victor’s law practice for almost a decade.
Shelby Phelps brings to the firm decades of experience in the North Carolina court system, so as a paralegal, she is uniquely equipped to support the firm in the multitude of documents required by the courts.
Marsha Ott has worked as a licensed CPA for 35 years and lends vital bookkeeping support to the guardianship accounts, as well as to legal clients.
“Victor…While visiting the courthouse to complete executive duties, we have heard your name spoken of favorably. Individuals who have worked with you have commented that you are very professional and respectful. We concur and would add that you consistently remained in control of your demeanor during all setbacks and delays…. We are unable to find adequate words to say Thank You. It is not possible that we are even aware of the extent of what you did for our father and for us…. We wish you the Lord’s special blessings and protection for you (and your loved ones) as you continue to help others.” — from a satisfied client
Garlock & McKinney, P.C.
Attorneys at Law
206 E. State St., Suite 2
Black Mountain, NC 28711
828-357-4510 • FAX: 828-357-5266