If you die without a will in North Carolina, the probate court will determine how to distribute your finances, properties, and other assets. A majority of the time, your surviving family members will split the estate.
In most cases, a court-issued administrator will apply North Carolina’s intestacy laws to your case determine who will take over your estate. Let’s take a look at what these intestacy laws detail. Afterward, we’ll discuss the importance of working with a North Carolina wills and estate attorney to create a will so that you can protect your family during life’s most unexpected moments.
Understanding North Carolina’s Intestacy Laws
North Carolina’s intestacy laws, G.S. § 29, essentially allow the probate court to create a will on your behalf. The state’s intestacy laws were established as a way to protect the interests of your surviving family members. The laws offer clear guidance on who gets what in the event you die without a will.
Following the rules of intestate succession, your estate is passed on to surviving members of your family in a specific manner. North Carolina’s intestacy laws detail the following:
You Are Survived by Both Parents Only
If you have no spouse and no children, your estate will be divided equally between your parents.
You Are Survived by Your Children Only
If you will only be survived by your children, all of your personal property and real estate will be split evenly between your children.
You Are Survived by a Spouse and Parents and You Have No Children
In this case, the court will divide your property between your spouse and your parents. Your spouse has the right to claim the first $100,000 of your personal property, and then half of the remaining personal property. The other half of your personal property will be given to your parents who will then divide it equally.
You Are Survived by Your Spouse and Children
In a case like this, the rules depend on how many children you have. Your spouse will always receive the first $60,000 of personal property and then half of the remaining personal property. Your spouse will also have the right to claim half of all real estate. After this, the distribution between your children follows these rules:
- If you have one child: This child will receive half of the remaining personal property and half of all intestate real estate.
- If you have two or more children: With multiple children, this distribution changes slightly.
- Your spouse will still be entitled to the first $60,000 of personal property, but then they’ll be able to claim only a third of the remaining personal property and a third of all real estate.
- Whatever is left in personal property and real estate will be split evenly between the surviving children.
You Have No Surviving Parents, Spouse, or Children
In the event that you have no surviving family and have no will in place, there are more specific intestacy laws that govern estate distribution. Depending on your circumstances, your assets may go to living relatives including siblings, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and so on.
The Importance of Drafting a North Carolina Will
A death in the family, especially an unexpected one, brings with it immense heartache. A family should not have to deal with the added stress and confusion of dividing a loved one’s property and assets. It’s important to have a will in place to ensure your assets and property are divided as you would have liked.
Beyond detailing succession, having a comprehensive will ensures that there is no room for speculation following your death. When you cover all your bases, you leave little room for third parties to contest the division of property as detailed by your will.
Having a will in place can help alleviate many of the issues that come with dividing the assets after a loved one’s passing. The best types of wills are the ones that are comprehensive, are up to date, and offer clear guidance on the division of property.
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Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC Will Help You Create a Will for Life’s Unexpected Moments
At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, our team of dedicated attorneys will walk through the details of your estate and your unique circumstances. Our firm can help you draft a comprehensive will that is clear, concise, and reflects your desires accurately.
If you already have a will in place, our law firm will ensure that it is reflective of your needs and your current circumstances. When you work with Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, you can be sure that we will prioritize your best interests. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer about your needs and how we can best serve you.