Approximately nine percent (9%) of all existing wills are invalid for one reason or another. If you die without a valid will, you die intestate, and lose control over what happens to your property. This usually also results in your estate paying a lot more to settle your affairs, which leaves less assets for your heirs. Generally estates settle much faster when you have a valid will that names people, charities, or other institutions that you want to inherit your property.
What kind of wills are there and how do I know if it is valid? Most commonly, to have a valid will, people have a formal will drawn up and executed. This consists of a typed will that specifies where your property goes, who will settle your estate, who will care for your children if they are minors, and who will administer any trusts the will may establish. Wills may also be handwritten (holographic wills) or oral. Handwritten and oral wills are not always valid and may only be considered valid in certain circumstances.
If you are married and die intestate, your property will go to your spouse and any children that you have. Each state, including North Carolina, has a specific formula to determine what percentage your spouse and children receive. If you have children from different relationships, they may be entitled to inherit as well, which may lead to an outcome you would not necessarily favor.
If you are not married, your relatives will inherit your property. In these cases, what you may have intended to go to close friends, charities, or an educational institution, may end up going to a distant relative that you may have never had a relationship with. If you die without a will and have no relatives, your estate will likely escheat to the state where you live. Thus only unmarried people without children and without property can justify not making a will; otherwise, you need to have a will in place.
About half of Americans die intestate. Many of these people leave large estates and have minor children. To have a valid will in North Carolina, you need to execute the will with two witnesses and a notary. If you need to have a will drafted, or have an estate planning attorney review your will to ensure that it is valid, contact Adkins Law to schedule a free estate planning consultation.
Make sure you have planned ahead for your family by setting up an Estate Plan. Contact us today to schedule your Estate Planning consultation, 704-274-5677.
A living will is a legal document that guides your doctors, and health care agents (selected by you) regarding your wishes for medical treatment in the following situations:
The living will gives you the ability to tell your physicians and doctors your wishes when it comes to life-prolonging measures in these situations listed above. The living will is an essential piece of a person’s estate plan because we never truly know when we might be faced with a life threatening situation, where a living will is necessary.
A health care power of attorney is a legal document that names a person, and sometimes an alternate person who you authorize to make these health care decisions for you, in the instance you are unable to do so by yourself.
By planning ahead, you can make clear to others what type of treatment you want in most medical situations, this makes it easier for your family to make decisions during moments of grief and crisis. By creating and signing these documents it is a way to initiate a conversation with your loved ones about your wishes and is a way to be able to control what happens at the end of your life. We know it may be hard to think about moments where you are unable to make decisions for your health, but that is why it is most important.
A living will and healthcare power of attorney document is part of Adkins Law PLLC Estate Planning packages. Contact us today to find out what packages we offer for Estate Planning, and which is better for your family. Call us or text us to schedule an appointment.
Trusts are only for people with a high net worth!
Trusts can be set up to serve a variety of purposes and aren't only for "rich people". The most common type of trust is a living or revocable trust. A revocable trust is set up so that it can be modified during ones lifetime.
Trusts are Expensive to Setup!
Each state and attorney has its own prices when it comes to trusts. Contact attorneys in your area to get an idea of the cost. Generally attorneys have packages that include more than just a trust. Adkins Law specializes in Estate Planning and would be happy to help you!
You no longer in control of assets held in a trust!
With a revocable or living trust, you maintain complete control over all assets in the trust during your lifetime. Keep in mind, like most estate planning issues, credit protections vary and you should always work with an estate planning attorney to understand all your options.
Trusts are only for cash or financial securities!
Trusts can be set up to hold a variety of assets:
-Privately held interests in a business
Just to name a few!
The primary benefit of putting an asset in a revocable trust is to ensure the assets are distributed according to your wishes.
After I set up a trust, my assets will automatically flow as planned!
This may be true in some instances, however, this is not automatic and you must be careful not to contradict the terms of the trust. Once the trust is set up, retitle assets in the name of the trust.
I don't need a trust if I have a will!
Having a will in place is a great first step into estate planning. But, having a will does not mean your assets are completely secure. Wills can be contested, there is no guarantee that what you want to happen actually will happen if it is just outlined in your will.
It is generally a good idea to name a family member or friend as a trustee!
People often name relatives or family members as their executor of their estate and trustees on a trust. Sometimes this can create a strain on your family dynamics. Acting as trustee and/or executor or a trust and estate can be a large amount of work. You can always consider appointing an third party or corporate trustee to manage the assets and execute the wishes of your trust. My doing this it may alleviate the burden of appointing a family member and instead help in assigning a "neutral" party to act as trustee.
Trusts can be set up to benefit a charity, business organization, or even a pet.
Sometimes it is possible to assign percentages of your trust assets to a organization or charity of your choice. It is recommended you work with an attorney who may be able to assist in establishing the kind of trust that best fits to your needs for your family, maybe even your pets.
Trusts can be powerful and can accomplish a wide range of goals. They can be very difficult and sometimes hard to understand, That is why Adkins Law is here for you! We specialize in Estate Planning and we can work with your family in creating and drafting the Trust Document or Estate Package that best fits your needs for your family. Give our office a call to set up your FREE consultation.
Adkins Law is prepared to plan and
help your family with an Estate Plan!
Having a basic estate plan is essential to ensure that your family is cared for after you are no longer here, and your finances are distributed in the way that you desire. This plays a significant role in reducing stress and frustration for your loved ones in the event of your incapacitation or death. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation!