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Estates

Wills

A will is a legal document that determines what happens to your property after your death. A will states who receives property and in what amounts. Property distributed under the terms of the will become the "probate" estate. Making a will is a responsibility, as well as a right that is protected by law.
 
In addition to distributing or transferring property upon your death, a will may have other functions. It may be used to name a guardian for any minor children or to create a trust and designate a trustee to handle an estate (property left after death) on behalf of children or others. A will may also be used to name a personal representative or "executor" to handle a decedent's (the person who died) property and affairs from the time of death until an estate is settled.
 
Drafting a will is an important and sometimes complex matter that involves the judgment and skills of an attorney. It is a critical process that requires legal knowledge, informed decision-making, and coordination with other estate planning documents.
 
Although "do-it-yourself" forms and kits are available, they may not consider individual circumstances and relationships, and could cause litigation, contested wills and other problems in transferring property to heirs.


A will should be reviewed and updated as conditions and circumstances change. For example, changes may be necessary when:


  • The family changes as a result of a birth, adoption, marriage, divorce or death;
  • Substantial changes occur in the amount or kind of property owned;
  • Tax laws change;
  • Residence changes from one state to another;
  • The designated executor, guardian or trustee can no longer serve; or
  • You decide, for any reason, to change the distribution of your estate.


As a general rule, you should review your will every five years. Henry Law Offices, PLLC, can assist and advise by analyzing individual circumstances and preferences, drafting valid documents, and avoiding pitfalls that alter intent. Contact our offices if you are seeking more information about the creation of a Will. 




Do I Need a Will?

(If you answeris yes to any of these question, then you need a will) 


  • ​Do you have children under 18? Do you care who the guardian of your children is if you die?
  • Do you want your love ones to decide your critical care should you become seriously ill?
  • Do you care who receives your property if you die?
  • Do you care where your money goes if you die?

If you die without a will, instead of your wishes, the state of North Carolina decides what happens to your property.  



Common Misconceptions about Wills in North Carolina

1.       All your property automatically goes to your spouse.

This is not the case in North Carolina.  If you have children born of the marriage or a previous relationship, those children will share in the estate assets.

2.      You can buy a will from your local office supply store and fill in the blank, creating a valid will.

 These will are typically not valid in North Carolina.  

 3.      Wills are only for the rich or those who have a lot of money or property.

Almost everyone needs a will.  Simple wills are inexpensive and can save your family a lot of guess work and headache.  





Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney

Living Wills are written statements describing an individual’s medical treatment desires in case they are no longer able to make these decisions themselves.  In addition, you may appoint a healthcare power of attorney to make final decisions based on your wishes and/or their best judgment depending on the terms you decide upon. 




Estate Administration

Administration of an estate is just as important as a creating a will.  An estate plan is only effective if it is properly administered.  Administering an estate can be complicated and time consuming.  A loss of a family member is a difficult enough without the added stress of probating an estate.  Henry Law Offices, PLLC can assist you with these legal matters and prevent any unintended errors and help make sure the diseased final wishes are carried out.