Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have children, you can leave instructions on who will be left in charge of them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the courts hands. Making a will is easy, you just need to be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. A legal will in North Carolina may be:
- An attested written will, written and signed by the testator and attested by at least two competent witnesses
- A holographic will written entirely in the handwriting of the testator, or
- A nuncupative will made orally by a person who is in that person's last sickness or in imminent peril of death and who does not survive such sickness or imminent peril, and declared to be that person's will before two competent witnesses.
These definitions taken from NC General Statutes Chapter 31.
Although you do not need a lawyer to complete a will, it is recommended to do one with a lawyer, as it will avoid any legal headaches after your passing. Once your will is complete, it’s recommended that it is kept somewhere safe and secure outside of your home. If you do your will through a lawyer, most law firms will store it for you free of charge. In North Carolina the Clerk of Superior Court is required to " keep a receptacle or depository in which any person who desires to do so may file that person's will for safekeeping." Many people keep their wills in a safety deposit box at a bank, but this is not recommended as the contents could be sealed at the time of death. The executor of your will should be aware of the location of it.