In the ever-changing landscape of life, planning for the future is a necessity. For those living in North Carolina (NC), knowing the costs associated with wills is essential.
This article will provide an overview of these costs to ensure that individuals are making informed decisions when planning for their future and that of their family.
What Is a Will?
A Will is a legally binding document that outlines an individual’s wishes regarding the distribution of assets and other matters upon their death. It can include instructions for the division of assets, appointment of guardianship for minor children, naming of executors to handle the estate, and designation of beneficiaries.
To be valid, a Will must meet certain legal requirements in North Carolina such as being made in writing, signed by two witnesses, and notarized or witnessed by two people.
Additionally, a person must have testamentary capacity which means they understand the nature and consequences of creating a Will.
Types of will in North Carolina
North Carolina residents can choose from three types of wills.
An attested will is the most formal of the three types and must be signed in front of witnesses who are not beneficiaries listed in the will. These witnesses must sign the document to prove that they were present.
Holographic will, which does not require any witnesses for its creation or execution. This type of will contains instructions written solely by the testator and must be signed and dated at least at its conclusion for it to be legally considered valid.
Holographic wills are typically used when testators cannot access a lawyer for assistance with an attested will due to time constraints or financial constraints.
It is highly recommended that individuals seeking to create their own will consult with an attorney familiar with estate planning laws in North Carolina.
Nuncupative will is an oral declaration made by the testator – meaning the individual who has created the will – in front of at least two witnesses who must sign a certificate verifying its content.
Nuncupative wills are typically used during times of distress when creating a formal written document is not possible due to “imminent peril of death.”
Living trust vs. Will
Living trusts and wills are both important estate planning tools. A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after you die. It allows you to specify who receives which property, as well as naming guardians of any minor children you might have.
On the other hand, a living trust is an arrangement where one person (the grantor) transfers ownership of their property to another person or entity (the trustee). The trustee then holds the property in a trust for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). Both a will and a trust must be properly executed in order to be valid and enforceable.
How Much Should a Simple Will Cost in NC
The cost of a simple will varies significantly depending on the complexity and size of the estate. An attorney may charge anywhere from $300 to $1,000 or more in North Carolina, depending on how much time they need to spend creating and reviewing it.
Lawyers’ Charging Methods
When writing a will in North Carolina, it’s important to understand the different options for payment. The two methods of payment are flat fees and hourly billing.
Flat fees are when a lawyer charges one set fee for their services, regardless of how long the project takes or how many resources they use. This method can be beneficial because it allows you to know exactly what you’ll pay before hiring a lawyer.
Hourly billing is when lawyers charge by the hour for their services. This option can be more cost-effective if the work required is expected to take less time than an estimated flat fee would demand.
When deciding between these two options, it’s important to consider both the cost and quality of service needed as well as your current financial situation.
Factors Impacting Cost
The complexity of the will is one of the main factors that impact cost. A simple will with basic provisions may be more affordable than a complex one that includes detailed instructions for trust funds and other assets.
The number of beneficiaries can also affect cost, as well as how many beneficiaries are receiving a share of the estate.
Additional legal matters such as guardianship or power of attorney can add to the cost if requested. If a person has property outside North Carolina, this may require additional documents and incur added costs due to additional paperwork and filings in multiple states.
Finally, an individual’s choice of lawyer can influence will and costs in North Carolina, depending on their experience and expertise in estate planning law.
What Happens to Property without a Will in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, when a person dies without a will (intestate), their property is distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. Under these rules, their assets and possessions will be divided among their surviving family members in an order of priority determined by law. The spouse, children, parents and other blood relatives may all be entitled to inherit some portion of the estate.
Generally speaking, if there are surviving children but no spouse then all of the property is inherited by them equally. If both parents have passed away, then it is split between any siblings still alive with each child receiving an equal share unless one sibling has been adopted into another family; that adopted sibling does not receive a share from this estate.
If there are only distant relatives left behind like nieces or nephews then these individuals may receive a portion of the estate depending on how close they were related to the deceased person at time of death.
In cases where there are no living relatives or the deceased’s relatives cannot be located, any remaining assets will become part of the state’s escheat system and passed on to government entities such as schools or hospitals.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, preparing for the future is a difficult but important task. It is important to understand the different types of will and costs in North Carolina, as well as the associated costs. With careful planning and research, you can ensure that your estate will be taken care of according to your wishes.
While planning for the future may be intimidating at first, it is an invaluable exercise in ensuring a secure and stable future for you and your family. Be sure you take the time to research thoroughly and plan accordingly.