Creating a will is one of the first steps you will take as you begin the estate planning process. However, creating a will is more than just writing down who you want to leave your family heirlooms to.
Each state has its own requirements for making a will and these requirements must be followed carefully if you want your will to be considered valid when the time comes to distribute your assets. If a will is deemed invalid, the court will essentially take control of the property distribution process and your assets will be distributed according to state intestacy laws.
What makes a will valid in North Carolina?
Under North Carolina law, you must meet certain requirements to ensure that your will is valid. Here are some of these requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind to create a will.
- In most cases, your will must be printed on actual paper. However oral wills (nuncupative wills) in front of two competent witnesses if you are in your ‘last sickness or in imminent peril of death’ are legally permissible.
- Handwritten wills (holographic wills) are valid if they are in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the testator. Witnesses are not required, but it is advised to have them.
- Your will must be signed by you in front of two witnesses and signed by the two witnesses in front of you. Ideally, these witnesses will be two people who do not have an interest in your estate.
- If you are unable to sign your will, you may direct someone to sign on your behalf.
Ensuring that your will is valid is a key part of the estate planning process. An attorney specializing in wills and trusts can help you create a detailed will that meets all state requirements.