Will North Carolina
A North Carolina will or "last will and testament" is a legal document by which a person can direct and manage the transfer of their property at death.
Each part of a will has been designed to be as specific as possible to allow the Probate Court to interpret your intentions in the manner that is closest to your last wishes.
Parts or "Articles" of a Will:
Article 1 - Declarations - This article identifies you and your heirs. Heirs are persons deemed entitled to your estate even without a will in place. Heirs are laddered, (in NC "per sterpes" or per bloodline) the first step of the ladder is usually your spouse and/or children, the second rung of your ladder is usually your parents, and the 3rd rung is your siblings and/or their children.
Article 2 - Debts - This article states that all of your debts be paid. These debts usually consist of things like taxes and other important obligations. (However, consumer debt like credit cards does not apply unless your name is also on the debt. The estate of the deceased is responsible to pay off a person's consumer debt, if no estate, no debt. Do not let credit card companies try and tell you any different.)
Devises - basically means that you wish to leave property to someone. You can make a devise that names a devisee, a person to leave the property too, and that devise will describe the property and the instructions to pass it. A Tangible Personal Property Devise - passes on property other than things like real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, annuities, etc. (personal property)
Memorandum for Tangible Property- is an addendum to your will that lists the beneficiaries to your personal property and is separate from your will. The Memorandum and will must cross reference each other and allows for someone to change their mind on how to leave personal effects without re-writing their will.
Residuary Devise - a clause that distributes the balance of your property. If the person whom you specifically devised to receive your property is no longer living, the residuary clause will distribute your things. The "residue" of your estate can be left to as many people as you wish.
Taxes - (Yes, that's right even in death the tax man comes!) a will tells the person executing, executor, of your estate to pay all taxes outstanding. (Federal, State, Local) Your executor will file your final state and federal tax forms.
Executor - your will names your executor in charge of your estate. (Only a will can do this, no will, no executor, the state handles it.) This is usually your attorney and this person is responsible for probating your estate by law.
Self Proving Signature - You must sign your will in the presence of 2 witnesses and a notary. (try and make sure all parties sign in each other's presence.) It always best to sign with your complete full name to avoid confusion with the probate judge.
We hope this quick summary of the parts of a will help you. If you have any questions or would like a free assessment and quote of your North Carolina Will needs, we have an Estate lawyer on our team and we are happy to help.
(This is for informational purposes only, please check with a NC licensed tax and estate advisor before making any decisions regarding your North Carolina will.)