Last Will & Testament
While no one likes to think about death, it is inevitable and always best to plan ahead and ensure that all of your loved ones are fully provided for. Our estate planning attorneys can draft a last will and testament which will allow you to distribute your estate as you wish. Regardless of your wealth, you want to ensure that the assets you've worked so hard to obtain and maintain are preserved for your loved ones upon your death. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the North Carolina Intestate Succession Act. You may find that your assets will not go to those whom you intended.
However, a true estate planning package is more than just a last will and testament. At a minimum, our estate planning package includes the following:
- Last Will and Testament
- Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Advance Directive (a.k.a. Living Will)
Powers of Attorney
A "power of attorney" is a legal instrument which grants another person authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. Generally speaking, there are two categories of powers of attorney in North Carolina: general powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney.
General Power of Attorney. This is the most common type of power of attorney in North Carolina. However, there are two subcategories of general powers of attorney. A durable power of attorney becomes effective in granting authority to another person immediately upon signing it. By contrast, a springing power of attorney only "springs" into action if you become incapacitated.
Health Care Power of Attorney. The health care power of attorney is an essential tool in any estate planning document. It authorizes another person (your "health care agent") to make important decisions about your health in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise incapable of communicating your own decisions to your health care providers.
Preparing both documents with the assistance of an estate planning attorney can ensure that your best interests stay in the hands of people you trust.
In the event that a person becomes incapacitated or incompetent before executing the documents stated above, the most likely outcome will be that a member of his or her family will need to petition the court for guardianship before they can make decisions on his or her behalf.
Guardianship proceedings are held before the Clerk of Court. Our attorneys often serve as court-appointed guardians ad litem on behalf of respondents in guardianship proceedings in Goldsboro and Wayne County. Our experience as guardians ad litem on behalf of respondents enables us to better assist our clients in guardianship petitions and proceedings.
If your spouse, child, parent, or other loved one is not capable of taking care of himself or herself and cannot manage his or her affairs or finances, it may be time to consider whether pursuing guardianship is the best option.