Constructing a last will and testament is an integral part in planning the distribution of an individual’s estate after their death. In the State of North Carolina, wills give the testator (the person writing the will) the chance to make sure that their spouse, children, other family members, and even pets are taken care of after they die. While embarking on the process of constructing a will, it is crucial that a testator knows and understands the laws associated with wills in their state. Otherwise, the chances of their will being invalid increase. An estate planning attorney is an invaluable tool in the process of constructing a will because they can use their advice and experience to ensure that a will is valid. This article will explore, North Carolina laws regarding wills, the effects of dying with a will and dying intestate, and the different types of wills in North Carolina.
North Carolina Laws Regarding Wills
Every state has its own specific statues when it comes to wills. A will that fails to adhere to North Carolina’s statues are generally considered to be void, making the state dispose of the testator’s property according to the rules of inheritance. This gives the property to the testator’s most immediate kin regardless of the testator’s wishes. For this reason, it is ill advised to simply assume that a will is valid, an attorney can assist an individual in the process of ensuring that their will adheres to North Carolina’s standards. Below are list of laws regarding North Carolina wills:
Effects of Dying with a Will vs Dying Instate
The most important purpose a testator can use a will for is to express how assets such as homes, vehicles, business holdings, and bank accounts should be divided upon the testator’s death. A North Carolina will and testament can also allow an individual to name someone as the legal guardian of their children. In addition to testamentary trust (trust that provides a benefit for people), North Carolina law specifically allows for the creation of trust for the care of animals that are alive during the testator’s lifetime (referred to as pet trust). Such a trust terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.
A person who dies without a will is called intestate, which will invoke the laws of intestacy. In this state, the shares in real and personal property that go to a surviving spouse also depend on whether or not there are also surviving children or parents. If there are no surviving children or living spouse, then intestacy laws grant shares of the decedent’s closets relative.
Types of Wills in North Carolina
Listed below are a list of wills that are recognized in North Carolina: