Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS?
The estate planning process can seem daunting to some clients, but I assure you, it is an easy process and we assist you every step of the way.
The first step is a free 15 minute phone consultation with attorney Orly Reznik to briefly discuss your planning needs. After the phone consultation, an in-person consultation is scheduled. The consultation typically takes about an hour. After the consultation Orly will draft your documents and send you the completed drafts to review. You can call or e-mail will any questions, comments, or requests for changes. Next we will finalize your documents and set up an appointment to execute the documents.
DO I NEED TO TAKE TIME OFF FROM WORK OR GET A BABYSITTER FOR ANY OF MY APPOINTMENTS?
No, absolutely not. We offer flexible scheduling and in-home consultations. We will travel to you in the evenings or on the weekend to execute your documents.
WHAT DOES “EXECUTE THE DOCUMENTS” MEAN?
Executing your documents is the process by which your estate planning documents become effective and legally binding. Most documents must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and notarized.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR MY ESTATE PLANNING CONSULTATION?
We encourage clients to review our estate planning questionnaire prior to the consultation. This will help prepare clients for the discussion we will have and some of the decisions that need to be made. You can download a copy of the questionnaire here.
DO I NEED A WILL?
Yes, everyone should have a will, especially if you are a parent or legal guardian to a minor child. If you pass away without a will, then your property will be distributed according the North Carolina laws of intestate succession, and those laws might not be consistent with your wishes. Additionally, any money passing to a minor child will be managed by a court appointed conservator and given to the child at the age of 18. The court will also appoint a guardian to look after your minor child. A will allows you to appoint your own guardian and set up a trust to manage the child’s inheritance.
WHERE SHOULD I KEEP MY ORIGINAL WILL?
You should keep your original will in a safe accessible place where your executor can easily locate it. This could be a home office, or anywhere else in your home where important documents are usually kept. Make sure that the selected location is protected from fire and floods. If you choose to place your will in a home safe, then make sure you share the combination with someone you trust.
Many individuals believe the safest place to store a will is a bank safe deposit box. However, this can be problematic in North Carolina. Simply having a key does not permit an individual to open a decedent's safe deposit box. Additionally, an official from the clerk of superior court might be required to be present for the opening of the deposit box.
It is important that you tell at least one person where your original will is located.