I, like many others, have thought, why do I need a will? I am happily married and of course everything will pass to my lovely wife. But it won't! North Carolina intestate law does not simply default to give everything to your spouse.
The rules are not as straight forward as you may hope. For instance, your real property will only pass to your spouse if you have no children, no grandchildren, and no living parents. And if you have 1 child or lineal descendant of one deceased child your spouse gets 1/2 of the real property in your estate.
This leaves the question of guardianship of a minor child open or when you may want a child to have access to funds.
Having a will says nothing about your trust in your family to 'do the right thing', a will is the tool to let them know what the right thing is and allow it to be a family matter not dictated by the state. Writing out your desires for your estate can be a source of comfort for your family after your passing.
Wills do not need to be complicated but must be drafted with care. Wills, at the root, are a simple document telling everyone what you want to happen. In creating a will you must think through many scenarios like what would happen if your spouse passes before you, or your children pass before you. If this happens, should your estate go to your parents? Siblings? Nieces and nephews?
There are unintended consequences to a will without clarity. What if you left your car to one child but all your money to another child, then when you pass away you had sold your car? What might have been a fair distribution at time of drafting is no longer.
An attorney can help you think through the many scenarios and draft a will that can accomplish your goals in light of the possible intervening events.
At Senges Law Firm our attorney spends time working with clients to advise them not only on the law but to be a counselor for working through the tough questions.