You can ensure that your survivors get the fastest possible access to your money, property, and other assets once you are gone. Comply with all applicable inheritance laws on the books in North Carolina to protect your estate.
Our firm can help you understand these laws and draw up documents that meet all legal requirements. You can use this article to learn more about:
Navigating North Carolina’s Inheritance Laws
What will happen to your money, property, and other assets after your death? If you have a legally binding will, your property will be divided among the beneficiaries of your choice.
If someone does not leave behind a legal will at their death, the situation may be very different. According to the Intestate Succession Act, found at G.S. § 29-16, the deceased’s property may be divided among their surviving relatives, including:
- Aunts and uncles
- Brothers and sisters
- Other relatives
Each individual’s share will be calculated using a predetermined mathematical formula, not according to what you wanted each relative to receive. This can cause your survivors undue financial and emotional hardship or spark a long, expensive legal battle for your assets.
Protect Your Family’s Future By Creating a Will and an Estate Plan
To avoid letting other people decide how your property will be divided and how your relatives will be treated, let us help you:
- Understand state inheritance laws: We are familiar with North Carolina’s inheritance laws and would be happy to explain what they all mean for you.
- Collect necessary documentation: If we need to see any paperwork from you, we can let you know and walk you through the process of requesting copies of that paperwork if you do not already have it.
- Draft a valid will: We can craft a will that complies with the law and your wishes.
- Make changes as necessary: What if your circumstances change, or the state passes a new inheritance law? We can make all necessary alterations while ensuring that your will still reflects your wishes.
Any will that does not comply with state law is invalid, as stated in G.S. § 31-3.1. To prevent a simple error from depriving your family of their rightful inheritance, it is a good idea to get help from our firm. Not only can we handle all legal tasks on your behalf, but we also always strive to treat our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve by:
- Staying in touch: We can contact you whenever there is something important to report, such as when we have finished drawing up your will and need your signature.
- Answering all questions: No question is too big or too small for us to answer. It is very important to us that our clients have a thorough understanding of their affairs, so we are always happy to address their concerns.
- Offering advice and suggestions: If ever you are unsure about any aspect of your will, we can help you think through the issue and decide.
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Taxes and North Carolina’s Inheritance Laws
Currently, North Carolina does not have an estate or inheritance tax. However, residents of North Carolina may still face an estate tax on a federal level. This tax applies to any individual who inherits a property worth over $12.06 million.
Additionally, you may face estate taxes if you inherit property located in another state while living in North Carolina. In this situation, the other state’s laws on estate tax generally apply, which may end up costing you money.
Laws Related to Land Inheritance in North Carolina
Land inheritance often functions differently than inheritance laws related to money and other properties. Let’s say that you own a piece of property with another person. When one owner passes, ownership switches to the surviving owner, regardless of any information in the deceased’s will.
If you have sole ownership of a piece of property and pass away in North Carolina, the ownership goes to your heirs immediately. However, this only applies in some cases. Ownership may come under dispute if the court finds that the estate needs to sell the property to pay off expenses or debts.
If the property passes clearly to your heirs, they generally do not have to draw up a new deed. However, speak with your estate planning lawyer about this situation to make sure that things are handled the way you want.
Regulations for Settling a North Carolina Estate
Most individuals end up settling the estate through probate. Our legal team can help you understand this process, answering any questions and providing straightforward advice. Most probate cases follow the same basic steps, which involve:
- Filing a petition for probate in the decedent’s county
- Applying to act as executor or personal representative
- Finding and inventorying all estate assets
- Setting up an appraisal and selling assets to pay debts (if necessary)
- Filing tax returns and paying any taxes for the estate
- Distributing any remaining assets to named heirs
- Transferring titles for real estate holdings and other property as appropriate
Taking these steps can take a significant amount of time. We step in to help you move smoothly through the probate system. Also, North Carolina generally expects you to file a petition in probate court within 60 days of the loss of your family member under GS § 28A-2A-2. We can help you do this.
Other Estate Administration Matters You Should Consider
To ensure that you and your family are fully protected no matter what happens, we can assist you with:
- Identifying which documents you might need and why
- Drawing up necessary legal documents
- Altering legal documents when and if necessary
- Answering any questions you may have pertaining to your legal rights and responsibilities
For example, ask yourself the following questions. If you do not know the answer to any of them, it may be a good idea to get in touch with our estate administration team. This way, we can help you secure the answers you need while there is still time.
- Estate probate: If a close relative dies without a valid will, do you have the experience and the time to fight the legal system to get your fair share of their assets?
- Power of attorney: Who will make important financial or legal decisions on your behalf if an injury or disease incapacitates you?
- Healthcare power of attorney: Who will make important decisions about your healthcare, including whether or not to resuscitate, if you are incapacitated?
- Appointing a guardian: If a close relative becomes incapacitated, do you have the experience and time to make difficult decisions on their behalf, or appoint someone who has that time and experience?
Our firm is proud to help people just like you throughout North Carolina. We can assist you with all matters pertaining to wills and estate administration. This way, you can have peace of mind, knowing you and your family are taken care of.
Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC Is Here to Help in Your Estate Planning
Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC understands the inheritance laws of North Carolina and would like to help you navigate them. Call us today for all of your estate administration needs. We can take your call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Reach out to the professionals at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, to get answers to all your legal questions. Our estate planning lawyers in North Carolina put their experience and understanding of the state’s legal codes to work for you.