Make sure that your will is valid in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2019 | wills & estates

A will is one of the most important parts of an estate planning arsenal. It details what you want to happen with your hard-earned money and most prized assets once you’ve passed away. It can also spell out your final wishes concerning burial or the scattering of your ashes. Each state has different criteria that must be met for a will to be considered as properly executed. North Carolina is no different in that respect.

North Carolina and virtually every other state consider typewritten wills to be valid ones. Holographic, or handwritten, wills and nuncupative, or oral ones, are considered as legal in this state as well. North Carolina is one of only a few jurisdictions where this is the case.

Under state code § 31-1, et seq., an individual must be both of sound mind and at least 18 at the time that they draft their will for it to be considered as valid. Their writing of this legally-binding document must be witnessed by two or more competent witnesses. Both should sign the document in front of the testator, or person drafting the will. Those witnesses aren’t required to sign the will at the same time.

North Carolina laws allow for individuals to have holographic wills provided that the whole document is drafted completely in the testator’s handwriting. These types of wills generally don’t require any witness signatures. Holographic wills such as these are most often located by family members or loved ones in a person’s safe deposit box or with their personal papers when they’re going through them after their death.

Individuals who are ill and at imminent risk of dying often draft nuncupative wills. For these to be considered as valid, the ailing testator must declare that the statements they’re making are intended to serve as their will. Their final wishes must be voiced in front of two competent witnesses for the will to be considered as properly executed under North Carolina laws.

Testators can generally only leave behind limited assets to their loved ones using an oral will. Holographic ones are generally scrutinized more closely by probate judges than typewritten ones. If you want to give your will the best chance of being considered as valid here in Statesville, then it’s best to have a wills & estates attorney review it. This is the only way to protect your assets and your beneficiaries.