Not Necessarily. People often assume that if they do not have a will that their assets, or their estate, will automatically go to their spouse. However, if you die without a will, also known as “dying intestate,” North Carolina laws, rather than you, will determine how your estate is distributed among your surviving relatives. Even if you verbally tell a loved one how you want your assets to be passed down upon your death, the state of North Carolina will only recognize your wishes if they are documented in a will.
How your assets get distributed largely depends on your marital status at the time of your death, and the makeup of your surviving family tree. For example, if you are married but do not have children and one or more of your parents is still alive, a portion of your property may go to your parents, rather than wholly passing to your spouse. Similarly, your spouse may not inherit your entire estate if you have children, as a portion of your estate may pass to the children under the intestate laws, even if they are minors.
If you have no immediate family, your estate may go to distant family such as aunts, uncles, or cousins, to avoid your assets becoming property of the State of North Carolina. These distant family members may not be people you would have ever chosen to leave your property to, and they may not even be people you have ever met. Surely, you do not want the state of North Carolina determining how the assets you worked your whole life for will be distributed? This is why writing a will is so important in ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.
Additionally, the process for allocating your assets under the intestate laws is often much more time consuming and complicated than if your property were to pass by will, and can take months or even years. Leaving a valid and well-drafted will can greatly simplify the process of administering your estate and will lessen the stress on your loved ones during an already difficult time.
Drafting Your Will.
The process of preparing a will does not have to be a complex or difficult. Choosing the right attorney to assist you in your estate planning can greatly simply the process. The lawyers at Perry, Bundy, Plyler and Long LLP have over 110 years of combined experience writing wills and estate planning for North Carolina families, and can help to guarantee that your hard-earned assets pass to who you want them to. Give us a call at 704-289-2519 to protect your family and your estate assets.