Did you recently move to Wilmington from another state? Every year, hundreds of families and retirees move to Wilmington from out of state to enjoy the weather and proximity to coastal waterways.
As you settle into your new home, estate planning may be the last thing on your mind. If you already have a will that was created in another state, you may not have thought about updating your will or creating a new one.
While your out-of-state will may still be valid after you move to North Carolina, it is advisable to meet with a Wilmington estate planning attorney to determine if your will still accomplishes your estate planning goals, or if your will needs to be modified to comply with North Carolina law.
What makes a will valid in North Carolina?
Generally speaking, North Carolina law states that the person making his or her will, known as a testator, must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. State law further requires the testator to sign the will in front of two witnesses, and that the witnesses sign the will in front of the testator.
If you die without a valid will in North Carolina, your estate will be distributed by the state’s intestacy laws. In North Carolina, this means that your property will be given to your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you do not have a spouse or children, then your grandchildren or parents will receive your property. The list of relatives that stand to inherit your estate under North Carolina intestacy laws will continue on to more distant relatives. In the event that no living relatives are alive, then your property will go to the state.
In North Carolina, you can write your own will; however, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a Wilmington estate planning attorney to ensure that your will protects your interests.
Is your will valid in the state that you are moving from?
If your will is valid in your former state, then it may still be valid when you move to North Carolina. Still, it is advisable to have an estate planning attorney look at your will to provide a legal opinion on the validity of the out-of-state will.
There may be other issues that require your will to be changed, modified or revoked, however.
For example, the types of assets that you own may have changed during or after your move to North Carolina. If you sold your previous home, bought a new home, purchased a new car or opened up a new banking account, your will should be updated to account for those changes.
You may have also named an executor in your will who still resides in the state that you moved from. This too should be updated to avoid complications in executing your will in North Carolina after your death.
Creating a new will under North Carolina law can also save your family time and money in settling your estate after your death. For example, it may be less expensive to execute a new will that complies with North Carolina law than it would be to hire an estate planning attorney to review your out-of-state will after your death.
Ask a Wilmington Estate Planning Attorney
Relocating to North Carolina from another state is an exciting experience, and updating your will and other estate planning documents may be seem like the least pressing priority as you settle in. However, taking a proactive approach to estate planning can protect your family from the state’s intestacy laws and other complications that may arise in executing an out-of-state will in North Carolina.
If you recently moved to North Carolina and have questions about your will and other estate planning documents, contact the North Carolina estate planning attorneys at Rountree Losee at 910-763-3404 for a consultation.