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Proper estate planning can be crucial for securing your wishes after your passing. From noting which beneficiaries receive your assets to settling all your debts, having a solid plan for your belongings helps your executor properly handle your estate. For those looking for estate planning services in the Monroe, NC, area, Pinnacle Law can help.
Estate planning is the process that allows you to make arrangements to transfer your property and assets to the beneficiaries or charitable organizations you want to support at your death and/or throughout your lifetime. It gives you the ability to do this in the manner you desire while minimizing taxes and other costs. Identification of your wishes and worries, creation of a plan to carry out your wishes and address your issues, and creation of relevant legal documents are all part of estate planning. These plans are crucial for medical-related decision-making later in life. If you are unable to make decisions about your health at that time, your estate plan will outline the person responsible for those decisions as well as what you would like to have done.
The components of an estate plan can vary from person to person. Depending on the number of assets you have and how many beneficiaries you name in your estate plan, the process for dividing your assets may change. The most common pieces of your estate plan can include:
Every estate plan is different and can include a blend of various aspects. For example, some choose to establish a revocable trust when going through the process of planning their estate, whereas others may see the value in writing out a will. Finding the right estate plan begins with consulting a Monroe estate planning lawyer, who can evaluate your situation and help create the best plan for you.
The court-mandated legal procedure known as “probate” enables someone, usually the surviving spouse or another close relative, to gather the estate’s assets, pay any outstanding debts and taxes, and ultimately distribute assets to the beneficiaries. In North Carolina, the need for probate depends on the assets and value of the deceased’s property. Therefore, it is not always necessary after a guarantor’s death. If a decedent owned assets solely in their name, legal action in a probate court is required. Most other assets do not need to go through probate to be transferred to the new owners.
For instance, assets with a “joint tenancy” designation that names a co-owner or real estate with a “tenancy by the entirety” designation already have a named beneficiary who will take over the asset once the main title holder passes away. North Carolina offers a simplified probate procedure known as “summary probate,” where the surviving spouse of the deceased is the only beneficiary (person designated in the will to inherit) or heir (person who can legally inherit under state law if there is no will). The spouse files the petition with the court, together with the will and any supporting records.
Both wills and trusts are official estate planning tools that allow you to specify in advance what will happen to your house, money, and even child custody after you pass away. While both wills and trusts have benefits and drawbacks, a sound estate plan will incorporate both to effectively preserve your estate. A trust’s ability to start distributing property before death, at death, or even later is one benefit of using one. This is not always advantageous or significant, but it offers a degree of flexibility that a will simply cannot.
Wills typically cost less to create and are simpler to put up, but they typically offer less protection than a trust might. Revocable living trusts may be more expensive and time-consuming to set up, but they can save you money, time, and hassle overall. They also frequently offer more comprehensive protection for your heirs. Depending on your specific estate, as well as what assets are included in your estate plan, whether you choose a will or trust will change.
A: The price for legal expenses required to administer a North Carolina estate will vary depending on the complexity of the case and the attorney’s role. The North Carolina statutory law stipulates that the attorney’s fees must be fair and not exceed 5% of the estate if the attorney’s duties are restricted to assisting the executor with the estate administration process. The charges will also defray the executor’s commission.
A: Although an executor does not have a fixed time limit to settle an estate, it may take years, and the executor is still accountable for keeping track of important deadlines during the probate process. For instance, executors must notify known creditors of the estate in writing of the decedent’s passing within 75 days of being appointed as executor. The right to make a claim against the estate to pay outstanding debts must also be disclosed to these creditors.
A: Although hiring an attorney is not legally required for anyone participating in the probate process, it is typically a prudent choice for several reasons. As the executor or personal representative, you have a variety of responsibilities that frequently call for financial and/or legal understanding that you might not possess. Most executors or personal representatives consult with an estate planning attorney because mistakes during the probate process can cost the estate’s beneficiaries or heirs a lot of time and money.
A: Although it is not required by law, having an estate planning attorney help you write your will ensures its legitimacy. For larger issues with your will, or for adding in things like testamentary trusts, the remedy or process for addressing these things requires experience in estate planning. This can be assured by having an estate planning lawyer.
Creating an estate plan may seem like something to handle at another time. However, life is unpredictable and can catch us off guard, causing what we plan for the future to become relevant in the present. Consulting an attorney for your estate planning process is not only helpful for securing your estate, but it also helps ensure that your wishes are correct and legally stated. At Pinnacle Law, our team of estate planning experts can ensure that your wishes are properly represented for your beneficiaries, helping you secure your estate and future. For more information on our services, including a full list of our estate planning services, visit our website and contact us today.