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Having a Last Will and Testament is more important than most people realize. A Will is an important document for everyone to have regardless of how much or how little wealth you may have. By having a Will you control how your property is distributed upon your death, ensuring your loved ones are provided for. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with North Carolina Intestate Laws to those legally related to you.

A Will doesn’t have to be an overly complex document. It can be a Simple Will providing a straightforward allocation of your important assets to one or several beneficiaries. It is your will and it can contain almost any provision that you would like, including leaving different amounts to different beneficiaries. In addition, the Will appoints someone you trust, known as the executor, to handle the affairs of your estate upon your death.

The additional benefits that a Will provides are:

  1. Distributing assets to your loved ones on your terms
  2. Identification of guardians for any minor children
  3. Minimizing taxes in some cases so assets can maintain their true value for beneficiaries.
  4. Avoiding family disputes and costly litigation over property and the handling of your affairs.

Any person over the age of 18 who has an intact mental capacity (of sound mind) can make a Will. The testator, the maker of the Will, signs a Will in the presence of two witnesses. Generally, the testator’s signature is notarized. By having the signature on a Will notarized it becomes self-proving. Self-proving it means when the testator dies, the court doesn’t need to take extra steps to ensure the signatures on a Will are valid because the notarization has the same legality as if it was signed in court under oath.

If you already have a will it is important to update your will upon certain life events, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth or adoption of children. Big life events will have an impact on your will and it is critical that your Will reflects your most current situation. If you are in need of updating your will the entire Will can be replaced or a codicil can be prepared as an amendment to your Will. An attorney can determine which course of action is necessary depending on the circumstances in your matter.

It is important that you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney in creating a Will, even a Simple Will to ensure it is legally enforceable and properly conveys your wishes. Having an attorney assist you ensures that your Will satisfies all the legal requirements while addressing your personal needs.

Daren Gum understands the desire to protect your loved ones and can help you create a customized Will to do just that without the exorbitant expense of an overly complex estate plan. Daren is dedicated to assisting his clients in creating a well crafted Will to protect their interests and carry out their wishes. If you are in need of a Will or if you need to update an existing Will, contact Daren today for a consultation at (828) 329-3825.

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