Get professional help with your will
A wills and trust attorney can help you with the process of planning your estate, whether you have already decided how you want your assets to be distributed or have only just begun to think about it.
Making a list of these assets and deciding what person or institution you want to have them is only the first step in the process of making out your will. By North Carolina law, you need to sign your will in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries of your will, and who must also sign the will while you watch. If you are not capable of signing the will, one of them can sign for you.
Any number of things can go wrong if you try to write your will yourself. What you intend to be clear may be quite ambiguous, and some of its provisions may conflict with others. By law, your will is not officially recorded until your death, so you will want to make sure as soon as possible that your will says exactly what you mean it to say. Handwritten wills and wills made from forms downloaded off the Internet are not a good idea. Get the help of a wills and trust attorney to help you write it. If you made out your will more than ten years ago, you will probably want to update it — and, again, you will want a wills and trust attorney to help with this.
Revocable and irrevocable trusts
Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. When you put an asset in an irrevocable trust, it stops being part of your estate, although you may still receive income it produces. Be sure to do this at least five years before entering a nursing home or applying for Medicaid, so as to avoid an eligibility penalty. Drawing up this trust is something else a wills and trust attorney can help you with.
A revocable trust is more flexible than a will. The assets in it continue to belong to you, and if you change your mind you can revoke it. You can name any person or institution as a trustee. If you are incapacitated, your trustee continues to manage your assets in your name. In the event of your death, the assets in this trust do not have to be distributed right away — they can be left with your agent for a set amount of time. An estate planning attorney can help you draw up a revocable trust.
Wills and trust attorney in Gastonia, NC
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.