Free North Carolina Last Will and Testament



What is a Last Will and Testament?

A North Carolina Last Will and Testament, when drafted and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind, is an official document that identifies how your possessions or estate will be handled and inherited after your passing away. Once the testator (individual who wrote the last will) dies, they are called the decedent. The testator can also nominate a guardian for their minors in the will to ensure that there's somebody who can take care of the children until they grow to be adults or until they attain a certain age.

In a North Carolina Testament, the testator usually also establishes a personal representative-or co-personal agents (several persons acting together in this capacity) to deal with the matters of the estate. A personal representative is somebody who gathers all of the information in relation to the decedent’s debts and possessions, pays any outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedent’s property is used as written in the last will, making this a position with quite a bit of responsibility. The personal agent chosen is generally a friend or relative the will creator really is sure of to execute their last wishes.

In case someone dies without a legitimate North Carolina Last Will and Testament (which in most states implies it must be correctly witnessed, not only signed), someone will normally be assigned by the probate court to be the personal representative and settle the decedent’s financial debt, using assets as needed to do so. Next, the remaining assets will be allotted among the decedent’s heirs in line with the legislation of the state the decedent resided in.

In some states, in case one spouse dies leaving their partner, that living spouse will inherit most of the decedent’s assets in the absence of a Last Will declaring the opposite. In other instances, the testator might have designated a particular beneficiary to receive a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will ascertain who gets those assets even without a Last Will and Testament.

The critical thing to note is the fact that anybody who wishes to define exactly how their possessions will be handled after their passing should certainly complete and appropriately sign a Last Will to make sure their wishes are known and kept. Without having a last will, you might be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state, or a court of law regarding how your last matters will be resolved.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in North Carolina

When it comes to leaving a testament (or will) in North Carolina, legators (people creating the will) need to follow some specific requirements. It is the testament where one can express their vision on how their property must be divided (and between whom) after their death. Do not confuse this will with a living will, as it is another type of legal paper. A living will is for those wanting to leave the instructions in case of becoming incapable of making decisions and incapacitated.

According to North Carolina law, it is not necessary to leave a testament (and express your will on the future of your property, both personal and real), but when people do not have such a testament (they are called "intestate"), the North Carolina courts complete the procedure of dividing the property on their own. Quite often, their decisions do not highlight the will of testators (the one they would theoretically have), so it is recommended to create a will on your own.

Usually, when there is no testament, the courts divide the property by the next principle: the first candidates on the property receiving are spouses, children, and parents of a legator. The shares of the property (both personal and real) for spouses depend on the number of children a testator had.

If there are no spouses, parents, or children, the next candidates are grandparents, siblings, uncles, and aunts. The closer relation of relatives to a testator, the higher possibility they inherit the property.

Last WIll Properties

Note there are properties that testators cannot include in their will. This property can be:

  • The property gained in the joint tenancy with the right of ownership as a surviving spouse also has the right to manage it. Even if a testator does not include their spouse in the will, a surviving spouse still can claim for some part of the property.

  • The beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

Additionally to distributing the property to the family members (this is called testamentary trusts), testators have additional options of using their assets (these assets include vehicles, homes, bank accounts, business holdings, etc.). These options are:

  • "Pet trusts" — when testators make a trust for their pets. In other words, there will be care for the pets of a testator until the last of them dies. Testators creating such a trust can be sure nothing bad happens to their pets even after their death (the death of testators).

  • Name a legal guardian for minor children.

  • Make gifts to charity organizations.

Testators have the right to make amendments to the existing will any time they want. They can do it by following the same procedure as they did while creating the testament.

How to complete the Last Will

Also, there is a possibility to revoke the testament. Testators (or people acting under a testator's guidance and in their presence) can do this in the ways:

  • They can tear, cancel, destroy, obliterate, or burn the testament.

  • They can create a revocatory will where they express their intention to cancel the existing statement.

According to the North Carolina laws, the wills must be submitted to the probate court to become legal. Without this, the property cannot be distributed. If testators have the property of a small value, they do not need to go to the probate court and complete any forms. If the remaining property is of a big value, legislators need to apply for "Letters Testamentary" (along with the written will).

The will can be completed in the below-mentioned ways:

  • In oral form — such wills are named nuncupative, and there are some restrictions relating to this.

  • In written form — these wills are named holographic, and they need to meet the law's criteria.

The testament must meet the next requirements:

  • Legators have to be of a healthy mind.

  • Legators must be over 18 years old.

  • There have to be at least two witnesses who sign the paper after a legator does.

  • Legators need to sign the will (or someone under a testator's guidance has to do this).

Last Will Forms for Neighboring States