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What is a will and do you need one?
A will is a legal document that allows you to decide who gets your property when you pass. The document must be executed (created) when you are alive, and is approved by the court after you pass through a process called probate. As you can see under Chapter 31 of the NC Gen. Statute, the execution of a will has several requirements. If you die without a proper will, then the court decides how your property gets distributed through Intestate Succession.
How is a will created?
You should always seek the assistance of an attorney when creating a will. If the proper requirements are not met during the execution of your will, it may be deemed invalid by the Court, meaning it is useless. If invalid, your property will be given away according to the law of Instate Succession. A properly executed will meets all of North Carolina’s formal requirements.
Changing your will
You should review your will every few years to see if it needs to be changed. There are many reasons why someone would want to change their will. These include:
- Changing your mind about who should inherit your property
- Marriage, death, birth, divorce or separation affecting you or someone named in your will
- You move to another state
- A beneficiary or executor in your will is deceased or becomes totally disabled
Remember, just as when you make a will, changing a will should always be done with the help of an experienced lawyer. Contact Dugan & Leger to assist you in revising your will.
Storing your will
Dugan & Leger strongly recommends that you do one of the following:
- Deposit your will for safekeeping at your county courthouse
- Store your will in a safe deposit box at your local bank
- Store your will among your important papers in your home, or in a fireproof box at your home
- Leave a copy of your will with your attorney
What is a trust?
People often ask about Trusts, and whether it is the right document for them. Trusts are legal documents that allow assets/property to be held by a third party on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts can be useful, but are often not appropriate for most clients’ circumstances. They can be used for issues such as leaving assets to a child who has not turned 18 yet, or trusts for individuals with special needs.