Waxhaw Will Lawyers

Working With You to Draft the Perfect Will

Putting together a last will and testament can be intimidating. Beyond contemplating what will happen to your loved ones when you pass on, drafting an effective will forces you to engage in other complicated legal processes, such as determining how to handle your assets and liabilities.

At Blood Law, PLLC, our Waxhaw will attorneys can work with you to draft a thorough will, giving you (and your loved ones) invaluable peace of mind throughout the estate planning process.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document determining how your estate is distributed should you become medically incapacitated or pass away. While most people know that wills can be used to distribute assets to loved ones post-death, they can also serve various other purposes, including:

  • Establishing Health Care Power of Attorney (POA). Health Care POA allows you to make provisions for what kind of care you should receive (and who is in charge of your care and estate) if you become medically incapacitated.
  • Establishing Financial POA. Financial POA enables you to stipulate how to handle your finances if you become incapacitated.
  • Establishing guardianship. If you have a child (or children), you can appoint a guardian in your will to care for them if something happens to you and your co-parent cannot step in.

Everyone should have a will. To cover all your bases, you'll want two wills: A living will (called an "Advance Health Care Directive" in North Carolina), and a last will and testament. The living will takes effect if you're incapacitated, whereas the last will and testament goes into effect once you pass away.

Before we go any further, it may be helpful to understand common terms you'll come across as you write your will:

  • Decedent. A decedent is a person who has died.
  • Beneficiary. A beneficiary is a person named in a decedent's will or trust to receive certain assets post-debt.
  • Executor/Personal representative. When a person passes away, their estate goes into probate. A court oversees probate to ensure the decedent's estate is correctly distributed, and their last wishes are fulfilled. The executor (also sometimes called a personal representative or PR) is an individual named in the decedent's will or appointed by the court (if the will does not name an executor) to oversee probate and the distributions of the decedent's assets.
  • Tangible property. Tangible property covers things that can be touched, such as a house, a vehicle, a family heirloom, etc.
  • Intangible property. Intangible property covers things that cannot be touched, such as a bank account, life insurance policy, retirement benefits, etc.
  • Assets. Assets are property that an individual owns that have a monetary value. Tangible and intangible property are assets.
  • Liabilities. Liabilities are things an individual owes to another person, such as debts.
  • Power of Attorney (POA). When a person appoints someone (usually a close friend or family member) to look after their health or finances if they become unable to do so, they grant that person POA. As we mentioned earlier, there are two kinds of POA: financial and health care-related.

These terms will probably come up as you navigate the estate planning process, so knowing what they mean can help you draft your will more confidently.

How Do I Create a Will in North Carolina?

To develop your living will and last will and testament, you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney (like one of our lawyers here at Blood Law, PLLC).

Working with a dedicated estate planning attorney enables you to develop a will tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring your legacy and rights remain protected if you become incapacitated or pass away. You can work with your estate planning attorney to:

  • Decide who gets health care and financial POA if you become incapacitated;
  • Name an executor for probate;
  • Determine beneficiaries to receive assets from your estate;
  • Create provisions that help your beneficiaries handle any remaining liabilities you have;

And more. To finalize your will in North Carolina, you must sign your will in front of at least two witnesses. Those witnesses must then sign the will in front of you. During probate, the court will verify the contents of your will with those witnesses. You must also have your will notarized.

You can revoke or change your will whenever you would like. You can revoke a will by:

  • Burning, tearing, destroying, or canceling your will yourself;
  • Having someone else destroy it in front of you; or
  • Drafting a new will revoking the old one using the same procedures as before (signing in front of two witnesses who then sign in front of you).

If you decide to revoke or change your will, you should work with an estate planning lawyer. Ideally, work with the same lawyer you used for your old will—that way, the court can contact the lawyer if they have questions about the will.

Our Waxhaw will attorneys can help you develop a comprehensive will that protects your assets and gives you peace of mind.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.

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