A comprehensive estate plan is key to ensuring that your wishes become a reality after you pass away. While many people assume that having a Will is sufficient, alternate forms of estate planning can provide greater flexibility. It is essential to understand the purpose of estate planning as well as the legal effect that various documents may have.
This knowledge can help you better navigate issues with estate planning in Wake Forest, should they arise. A skilled attorney can advise you in avoiding common problems and allowing a smooth transfer of your property to the people you care about.
An estate plan provides a complete set of instructions on what to do with your assets after you pass away. Naturally, an important part of any plan is to properly identify and address all your assets in your Will or other testamentary document.
This is essential for two reasons. First, accurately naming assets helps courts and executors when distributing your property. For example, identifying a vehicle as a “Red 2018 Toyota Prius” may make the transfer process easier than simply writing “my car.”
Second, providing a full list of assets in a Will or Trust can help to simplify the probate process. A diligent lawyer can help you create a complete and accurate list of your assets to avoid any future issues during the Wake Forest probate proceedings.
A major part of drafting an estate plan is naming heirs who will inherit your property. However, it is equally important to designate a capable and trustworthy person to oversee the distribution process. This applies regardless of whether you choose to create a Will, Trust, or any other estate planning document.
When creating a Will, you should nominate an executor. This executor has the sole authority to pay your estate debt and transfer property to heirs and beneficiaries. Similarly, establishing a Trust involves nominating a trustee to take temporary control of property or cash and distribute it to the beneficiaries at the appointed time.
For the most part, any adult can serve in these roles. North Carolina General Statutes § 28A-4-2 outlines the qualifications for an executor of a Will. According to the statute, an executor must be at least 18 years old, cannot be a convicted felon, and live in the state.
However, it is also important for you to choose someone who is willing and able to oversee your estate. Nominated executors can refuse the role, in which case the court will appoint someone to administer your estate. An experienced lawyer in the community can discuss your estate planning choices with you to avoid future issues like unwilling executors.
Creating an estate plan is a legal process that requires strict attention to detail. If you draft these documents improperly, your family members and heirs may face problems in the future. For instance, failing to properly account for all your assets can cause confusion about who should inherit what. Similarly, a failure to recognize and nominate a willing executor or trustee can result in probate delays.
A skilled lawyer at our firm can help you recognize and avoid many of the common issues with estate planning in Wake Forest. Contact us today to discuss your situation with a member of our team.