Who should be an Executor of an estate?
Under most circumstances, a family member is chosen as Executor of an estate and that person can always hire an attorney to assist them if necessary. Another option when the job might be overwhelming for the surviving family would be to name a good estate-planning attorney as the Executor. The Executive Director of The North Carolina Baptist Foundation, Inc. will also serve as Executor of estates for NC individuals who have an existing trust or endowment or wish to establish one with the Baptist Foundation through their Last Will and Testament. Click here to download a form
Does an executor need to reside in the same state as the Will testator?
While the Executor is not required to live in the same state as the person creating a Will, it is more practical when that is the case. The Executor will need to have access to the property and records of the deceased and will need to be qualified with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death. Depending on the situation, there are many Executor duties that are time consuming and difficult to perform from a distant location.
What is a living trust and how do I know if I need one?
The living trust is a legal form of holding and managing the assets of an individual(s) while living and it provides the plan for distributing assets at death. It also should provide a plan for managing assets should the beneficiary(ies) become incapable of doing so. It is a revocable document that can be terminated or amended as needed. Unless stated otherwise, the living trust would distribute the assets outside of the probate process that administers the Last Will and Testament. This document is a companion document to the Will, not a replacement for one. While there are a number of good reasons to have a living will, there is a great deal of confusion caused by the many vendors hoping to procure business. A good estate planning attorney can advise individual clients on the personal need for one or not. The NC Bar Association produces a brochure on living trusts that is available for distribution at a reasonable cost. They may be called at 1-800-662-7407.
Can you draw up your own Last Will and Testament in North Carolina and will it be legal?
The law allows an individual to write his or her own Will but being legal and being proper are two different things. The drafting of the Will requires professional judgments that come from years of training and experience. An analogy would be to ask if an individual is legally allowed to perform his or her own surgery. The answer is the same.
How much does it cost to have an attorney draw up a will?
Like so many other questions, the answer is that it depends. For the average person, the Will would not be considered expensive, but it depends on the personal situation of the client. A simple Will by itself should cost a few hundred dollars, but if the personal situation requires more drafting time by the attorney, the client should expect to pay more.