In North Carolina, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you really want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in North Carolina may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Additionally, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in North Carolina
Estate plans in North Carolina almost always have these elements:
Will: If you've determined who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the assistance of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more challenging to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not precisely written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the obligated formalities.
Power of Attorney: Sometimes, people fear that they may become incapacitated (because of injury, illness, or mental deterioration), and that they won't be able to make their own decisions. Luckily, if you want, you can grant a family member or close friend (or someone else you absolutely trust) legal authority to make important decisions for you, if you are ever incapacitated. This is known as "power of attorney."
Funeral Arrangements: If you have any preference whatsoever on how your mortal remains should be handled, you should make it clear to your family, in writing. You should further make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home, in advance. If possible, you should try to pay in advance for your funeral expenses, to save your survivors the further burden of planning and paying for a funeral. These arrangements should be laid out somewhere other than in your will, because a will normally isn't read for days or weeks after the testator's death, by which point it is usually too late.
Do I Need a North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney?
To most people, these issues are essential to their peace of mind during life. Therefore, it's very important to make them with the help of a seasoned North Carolina attorney, to make sure that they have the best possible chance of being implemented.
Interesting Facts About North Carolina
North Carolina began as one of the nation's oldest settlements. Today it consistently ranks as the fastest growing state in the country. It has made considerable changes to its economy, moving from a tobacco production state to a more diversified base consisting of biotechnology and engineering industries. Mt. Mitchell, the highest point in the Eastern U.S., can be found in North Carolina.
One North Carolina's main features is the Law and Justice Building, located in the capital city of Raleigh. The Law and Justice Building is home to the North Carolina Supreme Court the Administrative Office of the Courts. Up until the year 1940, North Carolina was the only Supreme Court in the U.S. where the justices presided over cases wearing street clothes.
Other important courts in the state of North Carolina include the District Courts, Superior Courts, and the Court of Appeals. Most lawyers in North Carolina file claims at either the District Court level or through the Superior Court. Depending on the type of claim involved, North Carolinas must research a mix of state statutes and North Carolina case law.
Lawyers in North Carolina are able to help clients with a wide range of legal concerns. North Carolina lawyers can also provide expert advice on matters involving unique state or local laws. Attorneys in the "Tar Heel State" often participate in community events and forums.