Charlotte Will Preparation Attorney
What Is a Will and Why Do You Need One?
Most people know they should write a will, but not everyone knows what a will is or how it works. If you wish to leave your loved ones some assets in the event of your death, then you need to write a will today. What Is a Will? A will or testament is a legal document that sets forth the wishes of an individual regarding the distribution of his or her property and the care of minor children. Having a will that’s set forth in writing and signed by you and your witnesses increases the likelihood that your executor or personal representative carries out your wishes. It might be difficult to execute your wishes if your will doesn’t meet these standards. Not all forms of will meet these standards. Here are different types of wills:
- Living Will
A living will set forth an individual’s wishes for the medical care regarding life support should he or she be incapacitated. It has nothing to do with the distribution of assets.
- Self-Proving/Testamentary Will
Many people are familiar with this traditional type of will. A self-proving will, also known as testamentary will, is a formally prepared document that a testator should sign in the presence of witnesses.
- Oral Will
Orals wills aren’t widely recognized from the legal perspective. They are spoken testaments that a testator gives before witnesses.
- Holographic Will
You can write a holographic will without witnesses. In fact, it rarely holds up in courts.
What Does a Will Do?
You can use a will to leave instructions regarding the handling of your property after your death. However, you can also use a will to:
- Serve as a backup to a living trust
- Name guardians for your children and property
- Name an executor
- Decide how your executor will pay taxes and debts
- Provide for your pets
You should avoid using a will to:
- Leave property to your pet
- Set conditions on your gifts or assets
- Leave instructions meant for final arrangements
- Arrange for property or money, which you’ll leave another way (Property for which you have named a pay-on-death beneficiary or property in a trust)
The Legal Requirements of a Will In the United States, wills have very few legal requirements. To make a formal will in Charlotte, North Carolina, you must:
- Know your property well and what it means to leave it in the hands of someone else after your death. From the legal perspective, this is referred to as having “capacity.” Also, it’s known as being “of sound mind.”
- Create a document that lists the beneficiaries of at least some of your assets.
- Sign the document
- Get two witnesses to sign the document
Notarization of wills isn’t a requirement in North Carolina. However, we recommend that you use a notarized self-proving affidavit because it’ll make your will, Charlotte to get through the probate easily after your death. One can make a handwritten “holographic” will in a few states. Witnesses don’t have to sign it. At Houston & Schantz PLLC, we don’t advise clients to make handwritten wills because they’re much more susceptible to manipulations and challenges after death. You can only use a handwritten will when you don’t have time to make a formal will. Why Do I Need A Will? You need to create a will so that you can have sole discretion over the distribution of your property. You will make critical decisions regarding the distribution of your assets, such as family heirlooms or cars, after your death. If you have investments or a business, your will can ensure a smooth transition of those assets. A will helps you to plan for the care of your minor children after your death. If you’ve kids from a previous marriage, even if they’re now adults, they will only receive the assets you specified in your will. Furthermore, creating a will reduces tensions among the survivors. A will helps to build a strong and united family. Remember that the unity of your family can weaken when your family members start battling over your possessions. If you’re charitably inclined, a will allows you to direct your belongings to your preferred charity. Likewise, if you wish to leave your belongings to an organization or an institution, create a will that’ll ensure that everyone honors your wishes. How Can Our Charlotte Attorney Help You To Make A Will? At Houston & Schantz PLLC, our attorney can expertly guide you to create a will that reflects all your wishes. Although you’ll pay for the time and advice of our lawyer, he will ensure that you have considered all aspects of the distribution of your estate and you don’t make mistakes when writing your will. Therefore, you will create a will that truly reflects your wishes. Here are FOUR essential reasons to use a Charlotte attorney when creating your will:
- Complex State Laws
State laws are very specific about what you may or may not include in your estate planning documents. For instance:
- Who can be a witness and how and where he or she needs to sign
- Who can serve as a Personal Representative (formerly an administrator or executor)
- What rules and procedures one must follow when signing his or her estate planning documents
We highly recommend that you seek the help of our experienced estate-planning attorney, Charlotte, NC, who will guide you through and answer any questions to clarify the process and avoid any potential mistakes.
- Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Documents
You could be in for a rude awakening if you believe that buying a do-it-yourself (DIY) estate-planning package off the Internet to save some cash will suffice. We don’t recommend these off the shelf do-it-yourself packages for the following reasons:
- Cannot handle large estates with complex issues
- No legal advice
- Cannot handle common complexities such as huge estates that are subject to estate taxes, a property that has appreciated in value and guardianship of children.
- Latest changes in estate planning laws
- Can lead to costly errors
- The documents could become invalid if you make an error
- Does not address the unique circumstances of an individual
- Contingencies such as being predeceased by children or beneficiaries.
It is good to hire an experienced Charlotte estate-planning attorney who will advise you on how to handle the circumstances that may affect the drafting of your will. The circumstances may be:
- Owning a business
- You have had several marriages
- Having a disabled or incapacitated loved one who needs special care
- Owning real estate in several states
- Having minor children from a single or many marriages
- Having substantial invested assets and you’re specifically concerned about the handling of your savings when you die.
- Planning to bequeath all or some of your possessions to charity.
- You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
You’re not a lawyer! That is one of the biggest challenges, and most likely you don’t know what to ask and what should be your greatest concern. The expertise and experience of our Charlotte attorneys enable them to anticipate situations many people assume will never happen. Unfortunately, people find themselves in trouble because the unexpected occurs more often than we realize. For instance, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for ages 35 to 45. It is always good to anticipate the unexpected since common assumptions of risks and concerns are often wrong. Our skilled and experienced Charlotte estate-planning attorney will listen to all your concerns and advise you based on your specific situation and other related issues and guide you in the key areas you should consider when writing your will, Charlotte, NC
Have Any Questions About Wills In Charlotte, NC?
The Estate Planning and Probate attorneys at Houston & Schantz PLLC in Charlotte, NC can guide you through the entire process of will making so you’re your estate planning is effective, straightforward, and can be resolved appropriately and promptly. To learn more about our wills drafting services we offer throughout Charlotte, or to schedule a consultation, please call (980) 299-0121 or complete our online contact form. 10 Crucial Steps Involved In Writing A Will Finding the will to write it is often the most difficult part of writing a will. After all, it is a document you hope it’ll not be used for a long period. By writing it, you are acknowledging that you aren’t immortal. Add in the several other activities, which are more interesting than writing a will, like hanging out with family and friends or going to the beach, and you have a sure-fire recipe for procrastination. If you have been putting off the task of writing your will, here is your perfect opportunity to cross it off your list. Get started now, and finish your will in ten relatively easy steps:
- Do it yourself, online software or an estate attorney?
Do not opt for a DIY will because there are very high chances of making mistakes. You can make an array of errors that could cost your heirs a lot in legal fees and taxes. You may get away with writing a will using a legal online site if you are firmly in the middle class. However, you should almost certainly find a Charlotte estate attorney if you’re upper-middle class or worth more.
- Identify your beneficiaries
Someone will get your house your boxes of yellowing Mad magazines, and your money when you die. Perhaps, you will not have to think long about the beneficiaries, unless you have a complicated family structure. There’ll be a place to name your beneficiaries on the form. If you hire our Charlotte estate attorney, he or she will write your will for you. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to get everything on paper first, just for your thoughts.
- Select the executor of your will
Your executor will be responsible for the full execution of the wishes in your will. Therefore, you will want to pick someone who’s responsible. We don’t recommend you to designate one of your children as the executor because that could be a recipe for a rivalry. In the interest of “family harmony,” you may have to designate a neutral party, such as a bank. The job of an executor is not easy. Even a trusted, smart family member could make a mistake. If you hire a bank or a Charlotte estate attorney to execute your will, your loved ones might get more for their money.
- Decide if your executor will get compensation
There’ll be a fee involved (usually two to four percent of your estate’s assets) if you choose an attorney or a bank as your executor. It is a good idea to be clear about whether they will receive compensation if you are designating a friend or a relative and, if so, whether it will be a percentage of assets or an hourly rate. Remember that closing an estate in Charlotte can be an arduous, complicated task.
- Choose a guardian for your children
Do you need permission from your family member or friend before appointing him or her the guardian for your kids? No, you don’t. However, it’s a good idea to ask him or her. On the flip side, they do not have to accept the responsibility when the time comes. A court will pick the guardian for your kids if your designated guardian turns down the role.
- Be specific about who gets what
If you want your antique armoire to go to your son or your wedding gown to go to your daughter, put that down. If someone in your family will not receive anything, make a note of that, as well. Name that person and say that he or she is not getting anything. Otherwise, the implication could be that you overlooked or forgot about them, and they could challenge your will in court. You may also want to explain in your will why a specific person will not receive cash. It could help to assuage hard feelings after you are gone.
- Attach a letter to your will if there is more you want to say
In the movies, there is a reading of the will and the heirs come together to hear who’ll receive what. That often does not happen in real life. While sometimes there is room for the occasional sentimental or humorous aside, wills, being legal documents, are usually impersonal. You might write a letter to the spouse, guardian, or child. At Houston & Schantz PLLC, we have had many clients writing letters to the guardians to express their hopes and desires in how they would raise their children.
- Find witnesses to sign the will
You should find witnesses who will sign your will. In North Carolina, you cannot choose people who stand to inherit something in the will as your witnesses. You will need two or three witnesses. Also, your witnesses should be at least 18 years old. Ideally, they should be people who’re likely to be around when you’re not. A judge may want a witness to testify if something goes wrong and someone contest your will in court. Wills can become invalid if they’re signed incorrectly.
- Find an appropriate place to keep your will
Do not just throw it in a shoebox and forget it. What if the unexpected happens and your beneficiaries need it? Ensure that someone you trust knows where you keep your will and any other important passwords and papers to financial institutions such as banks. It is a brilliant idea to keep the original copy of your will somewhere secure, like in a fireproof safe.
- Now that you are done, you’re not done
You need to work on a living will and a power of attorney in case you are ever incapacitated considering this is still an unfinished part of your agenda. You should also consider updating your will every four or five years. Updating a will does not require a lot of time – maybe five minutes.