Lincolnton Wills and Trusts Lawyer

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Lincolnton Wills and Trusts Attorney

Estate planning is one of the most important forms of preparation you can do for your family and loved ones. Following a death, there are many potential uncertainties about who will pay for a funeral, close out an estate, or inherit the deceased’s property. Having properly drafted wills and trusts that keep your goals in mind can bring peace of mind to your surviving heirs and beneficiaries. If you are ready to begin this important type of planning, our Lincolnton wills and trusts lawyer can guide you through the process.

Thoughtful estate planning can greatly simplify the probate process after your death. In some cases, it can help your beneficiaries avoid having to go to court at all.

Lincolnton Wills and Trusts Lawyer

How Does a Will Work?

A will has to meet certain requirements to be legally binding in court. North Carolina statutes require the person making the will (testator) to be over 18 and of sound mind. This means that the testator understands the size and scope of their estate, how the estate will be disposed of, and the role of a will in that process. In other words, the testator must fully understand that their will dictates how their estate will be divided up.

North Carolina recognizes two types of written wills. Holographic wills are handwritten and signed by the testator themselves. A witness does not need to sign a holographic will. Attested wills are typed or partly typed. Two witnesses must sign an attested will in the presence of the testator.

An oral will is valid in limited circumstances, such as when the estate owner is terminally ill or in grave health. Two competent witnesses must hear the testator at their request.

A will does not have to be notarized to be valid in Lincolnton, North Carolina as long as it meets the requirements listed above.

How Do Trusts Work?

A trust is a legal instrument that transfers property from one person to another. The person who manages the property is known as the trustee, and the trustee is tasked with holding the property for the benefit of one or more parties.

With a trust, one person, the settlor, transfers property to a second person, the trustee, who holds and manages the property for the benefit of one or more third parties, the beneficiaries.

Trusts have many different purposes. They can be created for any lawful purpose. These goals can include education, asset protection, tax planning, or benefiting a charity, among other purposes.

When estate planning, it’s useful to learn about living versus testamentary trusts. A living trust is fully funded during the lifetime of the estate holder, while a testamentary trust is only funded when the settlor dies, often in line with a last will and testament.

Other terms associated with these instruments are revocable and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust allows the settlor to retain ownership of their property. With an irrevocable trust, the settlor abdicates ownership of the property and hands the property to the trustee. In this arrangement, the settler no longer owns their property.

Benefits of Estate Planning

If you pass away without a properly executed will or any will, you will place North Carolina’s probate courts in charge of distributing your property in Lincolnton. Those legal steps will occur without any input from your personal wishes.

If you wait until you are too ill or incapacitated, it will be too late to execute a valid will, and the state will handle the settling of your estate. In order to ensure that your wishes are honored, consider beginning your estate planning today. Taking simple steps can spare your family from having to endure a long and unpredictable court process.


Q: What Type of Lawyer Is Best for Wills?

A: The ideal type of lawyer for writing wills is an attorney who has experience in estate planning. Wills are one component of estate planning, and an estate planning lawyer will understand how a will fits into their client’s broader estate planning goals. Using an attorney who understands probate law is also important because the legal documents often end up in probate court.

Q: Do All Wills in North Carolina Have to Go Through Probate?

A: In North Carolina, estates of a certain size have to go through probate. Only very small estates are exempt from this legal process, so the likelihood that a will goes through probate is very high. A will that is drafted and signed with the help of an attorney will be less likely to be contested in court. This can make the probate process easier for everyone involved. Also, trusts may allow an estate to bypass probate.

Q: Is a Trust Better than a Will in North Carolina?

A: A trust may be better than a will for many people, as it has many benefits. Although it often takes more time to set up a trust, a trust can keep your personal affairs private. Any documents that go through the court system are accessible to the public. Because a trust allows you to bypass the probate court system, your personal information does not become a public record. Anything passed through a trust can avoid the probate court system altogether, which can save your beneficiaries time and money.

Q: Who Inherits When There Is No Will in North Carolina?

A: If you die without a will, you will have no say in who inherits your estate. You will not be able to name beneficiaries, and the probate court will follow the Intestate Succession Act when dividing up your assets. If you are single and have no heirs, your parents will receive your estate. If you have one or more children, they will equally split your assets when you pass. If you were married when you died and had children, the probate courts will divide your estate between your surviving spouse and children.

Schedule Your Estate Planning Consultation Today

Proper estate planning can spare your loved ones from having to resort to lengthy court battles when dividing up your estate. A trust can allow for the transfer of property without any court intervention. No matter the size of your estate, it’s never too early to begin planning for the future. The Jonas Law Firm, P.L.L.C., has helped many clients in and around Lincolnton draft and prepare important estate planning documents. To schedule your consultation, contact our office today.

Practice Areas

Family Law

Family Law

estate planning & probate

estate planning
& probate

residential & commercial real estate

residential & commercial
real estate

Land Use/Zoning

Land Use/Zoning


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