Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS?
The process for estate planning is currently as follows: (1) we start with a virtual estate planning consultation which can be scheduled using this link. The purpose of the consultation is to assess your planning goals and outline the best plan to meet those goals. Typically takes about an hour and is conducted via phone or video. You will need to complete the estate planning questionnaire prior to the consultation. (2) After the consultation, your documents will be drafted and e-mailed to you for review. (3) We would then discuss any questions or changes by phone. (4) Lastly, documents are finalized and we schedule an appointment to sign the documents.
Social Distance Signing Procedures:
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 evening and weekend consultations. Consultations can be conducted from the comfort
of your home via zoom or phone conference.
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.
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.