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Wills Lawyers in Lenoir County Helping Clients Relay Their Final Wishes

If you are married, own a house, own your own business, or have children, it’s never too early to plan for what happens to your estate after you pass. A will is a legally binding document that only comes into effect once you die. The document lays out your intentions for distributing any of your assets as well as designating heirs, beneficiaries, and the executor of the will. Leaving any of these factors up to chance can put your family at risk of losing money and assets while your estate is argued over. Fortunately, with a will in place, you can dictate exactly what your last wishes are and how they should be executed.

If you are considering drafting a will, consulting with a legal professional is essential. Although it is possible to make a will at home, family members and other loved ones may question your will’s validity if it is not legally solid. Similarly, an experienced attorney can examine your estate and determine how to write your will to benefit your heirs and beneficiaries the most. Don’t leave your estate up to chance. Contact our team at Swindell Law Firm, PC, by calling 252-262-1325.

What is the Purpose of a Will?

Although wills are stereotypically considered tools for the wealthy, the truth is that any adult with assets should create a last will and testament. Your savings, property, investments, and dependent children will all benefit from a document detailing your final wishes.

If you do not have a will and pass away suddenly, you’ve died “intestate.” This means that the North Carolina courts decide how to distribute your assets and properties. Not only does this include personal property, but it also includes bank accounts, real estate, and securities.

Usually, when someone passes without a will, the court will divide their assets equally between the surviving spouse and other relatives, like children, parents, and siblings. If there are no relatives or the court cannot find your relatives, then all of your property belongs to the state.

What Are the Different Types of Wills?

There are many different types of will that are all valid and legal. The type of will you choose largely depends on the size of your estate and the assets you wish to designate. An experienced attorney on our team can review your estate and make a recommendation based on your circumstances.

The different types of wills include:

Living Will

A living will is only for decisions about your medical care. If you become incapacitated or unable to speak, a living will dictate what kind of medical treatment you do or don’t wish to receive. A living will can also name someone to oversee your medical care and make decisions on your behalf. Having a living will in place can ease the burden on your loved ones if you can no longer make decisions on your own.

Pour-Over Will

If you already have a living trust, a pour-over will may be right for you. These types of wills work in conjunction with a living trust and offer more privacy than a typical will. A pour-over will states that if any assets or property goes through the will after the testator’s death, it will be “poured over” into the living trust before being distributed to the trust’s beneficiaries. Individuals who wish to avoid probate often choose this type of will.

Testamentary Trust Will

A testamentary trust only takes effect once the grantor, or whoever created the trust, passes away. This type of trust is typically made within a will to develop long-term care for beneficiaries like minor children. It can also be used to delegate asset distribution.

Simple Will

As its name suggests, a simple will is a simple document that states who the beneficiaries of your assets are once you pass away. A simple will is often recommended for those who have small estates. It only contains essential components like the name of the testator, the name of the executor, the names of the beneficiaries, and the names of guardians for any minor children.

Joint Will

When two or more people sign a joint will, it acts as a separate legal will for each signer. However, a joint will cannot be changed after one of the signers dies. The executors, beneficiaries, and asset distribution must all remain the same.

What is a Trust?

As you look more into wills, you may also learn information about trusts. A trust is a financial tool used to invest, manage, and allocate property and assets in your estate. Trusts can be used to reduce your estate’s tax liability and avoid probate. Many individuals prefer trusts to wills because they offer more protection from creditors and taxes. If you’d like to learn more about trusts and whether they’re right for you, contact our team today.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Creating a will is an essential part of protecting your assets and planning your estate. Even if you are young and healthy, having a will in place can only benefit your loved ones. In case the worst happens, a will ensures that your assets will be distributed in a timely manner so your family members are well taken care of.

Don’t leave your estate up to chance. To create a will or learn more about your estate planning options, contact our team at Swindell Law Firm, PC, today. Our team will review your circumstances and recommend a legal plan of action that meets your financial needs. Call us today at 252-262-1325 for a free consultation and to learn more about our services.