Miller Bowles Law has Charlotte Wills attorneys with the experience, skill, and dedication to help with your North Carolina Will. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
A Will is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death. Any person of sound mind, and 18 years of age or over, may make a Will. A Will should be a written Will signed by the testator and attested by at least two competent witnesses, and notarized by a notary public.
If you pass away without a Will, your estate will pass through the intestacy statute, which provides for your estate to be given to your heirs and lineal descendants. This would include your spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, and other family members.
Your Will should provide for the disposition of your real property and personal property, and can even provide for a trust fund to be created for pets under North Carolina law. Certain types of accounts and property cannot be passed through a Will. This could include life insurance benefits, retirement benefits, and any other accounts or property which contains its own beneficiary designation.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
When preparing estate planning documents, a healthcare power of attorney is recommended in most all situations. A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a document that appoints a person to act on behalf of the person signing the document (the “principal”) in the event they are unable to speak for themselves in medical situations. These decisions are entrusted to a person whom the principal believes will be willing and able to make medical decisions as they would make for themselves if the agent were able to speak for themselves in the situation. This person who is appointed is called a health care agent. The agent is typically a close relative or family friend, and can also be a doctor who is familiar with the principal’s health history. The principal can set limitations on the health care agent’s powers, and can also provide that the health care agent’s decisions will override any directives in their Living Will. As a health care agent, you are not promising or guaranteeing that you will make the final decisions in the event you are called to do so.
As long as you know you are appointed as someone’s health care agent, you should keep the principal informed and updated on all your current contact information, especially including your cell phone number and mailing address. If you ever change your mind about your willingness or ability to act as a health care agent, you should contact the principal as soon as possible so that he or she may make any necessary updates or changes to their Healthcare Power of Attorney.
A Living Will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician’s directive. You should talk to your doctor about what the terms in the Living Will mean. It is also advisable to talk to your family members, friends, and others you trust about your choices, including clergy.
Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorney appointments are often executed together, and can provide for either to “trump” in the event both are available in situations in which you are unable to make your own wishes known.
We encourage clients to register their Living Will with the Secretary of State so that your wishes can be accessed easily by your healthcare providers. Please find information about the Living Will Registry in the links on the side of this page.