Proper estate planning, including the creation of a Will, is important for making sure that your loved ones are taken care of after you pass, and that your wishes are followed when it comes to distributing your property and other assets.
As experienced Wilmington Wills attorneys, Rountree Losee can help you create a Will and other estate planning documents to protect your interests after your death.
What Is The Purpose Of A Will?
A Will, short for “Last Will and Testament,” is a document that explains your wishes after death. Primarily, Wills focus on the distribution of property – who gets what, how much, and so on. However, a Will also can be used to express your wishes about care for minor children, as might be the case for young parents.
What Does It Take To Create A Valid Will In North Carolina?
Anyone can create a valid Will in North Carolina, as long as it meets a few basic requirements:
- The person creating the will (also known as the Testator) must be 18 years of age or older.
- The Testator must have the intent to create and sign their Will.
- The Testator must have the capacity to sign their Will.
- The person creating the will must sign the document or be signed for them under their direction and in their presence.
- At least two witnesses must sign a North Carolina will. Each witness must sign after the person who creates the will signs the document.
Oral wills may also be recognized by North Carolina courts in some cases, though a written will is a much better option.
What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
If you die without a will, you will be considered “intestate.” This means that there are no instructions on how to dispose of your property, and your assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of North Carolina. Ultimately, your case will go to the Probate Court.
In North Carolina, the Judge of the Probate Court is the Clerk of Court. If you die without a Will, the Clerk will appoint a representative to distribute your assets pursuant to the laws of North Carolina, and not what you may have originally intended.
This is why a Will is so important. If you die with a Will, your case will still go to the Probate Court, but the Clerk will be able to use your Will to appoint a representative of your estate, as stated in your Will, and to make sure your assets are distributed as you expressed in your Will.
Can A Will Be Revoked Or Modified?
A Will can be changed at any time before your death, as long as the new document meets all of the qualifications for a valid Will outlined above. A Will can also be revoked completely by physically canceling, destroying, burning, or tearing up the document. This must either be done by the Testator, or by somebody else in the Testator’s presence and under the Testator’s direction.
Contact Our Team Of Wilmington Wills Attorneys Today
If you need a will attorney in Wilmington to help you through the estate planning process, the team at Rountree Losee is here for you. We can meet with you, discuss your situation, and recommend the proper next steps for protecting your assets. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule an initial consultation.