Wilmington Wills Lawyer
If you are over 18 years old, especially if you have children or are married, you should have a Last Will & Testament, even if it is a simple will. While conflict can arise with a will in place, when someone dies without a will disputes are prevalent. As a result, even if your estate is small, you should have a will. Making a will guarantees that your wishes are well-communicated to your loved ones and ensures that they all benefit from it. If you’re ready to start creating your estate plans, enlist the help of a Wilmington Wills Lawyer who is well-versed in Wills, Trusts & Tax Planning in North Carolina.
What is a will?
A will is a legally binding document that takes effect upon your death, that allows you to decide who gets what, when, and how, upon your passing. This includes decisions involving your property (bank accounts, personal property, real estate, etc.) and guardianship for minor children. These preferences may not be executed if you die without a will. Moreover, your heirs may have to use additional resources such as time, emotional energy, and cash to settle your affairs in your absence.
Common Legal terms for a will
Here are the legal terms you should be aware of while dealing with these important documents:
- Beneficiaries: They are the people or institutions who have a gift (bequest) in the testator’s will, which can be money or other assets.
- Testator: the individual who makes the will.
- Executor or Personal Representative: the individual whom the testator trusts to execute the will.
Having a will is important because when you die, your will is usually brought to a regional probate court with the assistance of a lawyer for wills. If there is no dispute, the court will allow the executor to divide your assets as you have dictated in your will. On the other hand, dying intestate is defined as dying without a will. If you die intestate, your assets will be distributed based on North Carolina intestacy statutes by a local court. However, the amount your heirs will receive may not be in the order you’d prefer. Further, someone you would not want to administer your will may be appointed by the court, including a creditor.
Reasons for wills
A will provides a legal framework for your family and relatives and assures that your ultimate desires are followed.
Here are some of the most significant reasons to have a will:
- Determines how your assets will be distributed: Because a will is a legal document, it will assist you in determining how you want your assets, such as your residential property, should be handled when your life ends. If you don’t have a will, there’s no assurance that your plans will be implemented effectively.
- Aids the flow of the probate process: Wills must go through this legal process to ensure they are legitimate. There is no denying that a well-drafted will can reduce the amount of time spent in the probate process since your will can play a significant role in resolving any disputes that may arise due to your property distribution.
- Lowers estate taxes: Having a will allows you to look into numerous estate planning solutions that can help you save money on taxes. You can also look into strategies to lessen the inheritance taxes that your relatives may face if they inherit property from your estate.
- Assist in making designations for your minor children: You don’t want your minor children to suffer after your death, so making informed judgments sooner rather than later will salvage the situation. The simplest method to achieve this is to write a will, ensuring that your children are better cared for if you (and your spouse) die suddenly.
- A better way to plan for your family’s future: Avoid added stress on your family and other relatives during emotional times by drafting a will as early as possible. It is recommended you meet an estate attorney who can guide you through this now complicated area of the law.
Requirements of wills
The legal requirements of a will in North Carolina entail:
- Legal age: The testator must be at least 18 years old.
- Capacity: The testator must be of sound mind to have testamentary capacity.
- Legal signature: The testator or a designated person must sign the will in their presence and under their instruction.
- Witnesses: There must be two or more witnesses to be valid. They must all sign the will. Anyone receiving a gift in the will cannot serve as a witness.
- Writing: As North Carolina law requires, a will may be either oral or written.
- Beneficiaries: Any beneficiary can inherit property from a will.
Who can challenge a will?
Even though everyone can sue and contest a will, Wilmington, North Carolina, laws permit these individuals to challenge a will:
- Beneficiaries named in the will.
- A minor in the family.
- Heirs who feel omitted.
What does a Wilmington probate lawyer do?
A Wilmington probate lawyer near you can assist your family in carrying out all your wishes by working with the executor you have designated. They will specifically assist your executor with:
- Getting all the money out of life insurance policies
- Once everything is finalized, making money payouts to beneficiaries.
- Managing the estate’s checking account
- Determining whether estate taxes are required and, if so, paying them
- Obtaining property assessments, as well as all matters relating to probate proceedings.
When to contact a Wilmington will lawyer
Although you can prepare a will on your own, certain circumstances may necessitate professional assistance to ensure that your estate arrangements appropriately reflect your goals.
You can, for example, contact a will lawyer in your area if:
- You own property in another state.
- You require legal services for business purposes.
- You wish to leave your immediate family out of your will.
- You come from a blended family.
How a Wilmington wills lawyer can help you
A Wilmington wills lawyer will guarantee that your estate is planned correctly so that all of your assets are distributed to suitable heirs. Furthermore, employing a will attorney protects your assets rights while still living. They can also help in making the required changes to your trust.
Finding the best Wilmington will lawyer
Although you can draft a will on your own, you should seek legal guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced will attorney to ensure that you comply with Wilmington, NC’s relevant laws. Our litigators have extensive experience drafting and resolving will disputes. Contact us for more information or legal advice.