Why Contact a Charlotte NC Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is complex and not a do-it-yourself task. While there are many “quick and easy” online solutions out there for estate planning, a “do-it-yourself” approach may land you in a worse position than having failed to plan. An experienced attorney understands North Carolina law and ensures that all your documents are valid under the law, clear as to your intentions, comprehensive in approach, and achieve your goals. They will guide you in making informed decisions regarding your or your children’s future and help you avoid any mistakes.
Additionally, our lawyers take the time to work with you in ensuring all your assets are accounted for — from business interests and real estate investments down to furniture and other personal assets. You’ll also benefit from a personalized approach that fits your wants and wishes. With such a thorough estate plan, your family might even avoid probate — a long and expensive process to distribute your assets.
Why Should You Have an Estate Plan?
Although estate planning is often thought of as an elder law practice, people of all ages can benefit. Your estate consists of everything you own. When you don’t correctly plan how your estate will be distributed after you pass, the State of North Carolina and applicable statutes will control the distribution of your estate. Not only will this likely result in your assets being distributed against your wishes, but it oftentimes leaves your family with a fraction of the inheritance you may otherwise wish for them to take, and thus unprotected.
However, estate planning is much more than asset distribution. Your estate plan also outlines other essential matters, such as who will look after your children if an untimely death occurs and who will make crucial financial and medical decisions if you become ill.
An estate plan allows you to have the final say in the decisions that impact you or your children — and now is the best time to make those decisions while you’re healthy and of a sound mind. With an estate plan, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of long after you’re gone and that they don’t have to deal with the added stress of probate during a time of grieving.
Legal Services Our Estate Planning Lawyers Provide
Although online resources allow you to draft your own Will or Power of Attorney forms, using them is not recommended. Wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents are complicated — and you must draft these forms correctly to be legally valid and enforceable.
The failure to do so may open the door for your wishes to be contested and overturned. By hiring an estate planning attorney, you’re ensuring that your estate plan meets these requirements, which significantly reduces the chances your wishes will be contested and gives you peace of mind that your assets will go to those you wish to inherit your estate.
We’ll help secure your future by assisting with all estate planning matters, including:
Probate & Estate Administration
Estate administration involves handling a decedent’s estate per their last wishes. The type and quantity of assets in an estate, whether a Will exists, and several other factors all determine the complexity of this process. The more thorough your estate plan is, the more seamless probate will be. We’ll guide you through this process and ensure all assets are distributed correctly.
A Will — or Last Will and Testament — outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. We’ll help draft your Will to guarantee that it’s valid and meets all North Carolina’s legal requirements.
A Trust arranges for the distribution of assets from the trustor to the trustee. The trustee tasked with managing the trustor’s assets must act in the beneficiary’s best interests to ensure they meet all the terms outlined in the agreement. We’ll assist in creating both revocable and irrevocable trusts, depending on your needs, and explain the benefit of each.
NC Durable Power of Attorney
This form allows you to give an individual (agent) the power to make financial transactions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The agent’s powers can be broad, so it’s crucial to choose them wisely and discuss this with your attorney. We’ll help you understand the power you’re giving to your agent and make sure that all forms are drafted correctly.
Medical/Healthcare Power of Attorney
This form gives an individual (agent) the ability to make critical medical decisions on your behalf. You must complete this form with an attorney and understand the power you’re giving to your agent.
In the event of your untimely death, your estate plan can determine the individual responsible for caring for your children. Your attorney will help you appoint a guardian and protect your children’s future.
Business Succession Planning
When you’ve worked hard to build a thriving business, you want to ensure its success after your death. An untimely death or unexpected illness could make for a chaotic transition of ownership, and you should have the final say in how your business is run.
Other Estate Planning Considerations
In addition to creating a Will and determining your Power of Attorney agents, your estate plan has other aspects to consider.
Life Insurance Policy
If you don’t already, you should think about adding a life insurance policy as part of your estate planning. Life insurance is especially helpful if you have a family that depends on you as the primary source of income. Upon your death, your policy will pay out cash to your dependents to supplement your income or cover other expenses involved in your estate, like estate taxes.
Your loved ones want to make sure you receive a proper funeral — and it could be hard to cover the high costs. Setting up a payable-on-death account will designate a portion of your income toward your funeral expenses. Additionally, you can specify whether you want to be buried or cremated and any other last wishes.
Once your estate plan is complete, you should ensure all necessary documents are appropriately stored and easily accessible. You should make copies of your forms and give them to your attorney and the executor of your estate.