Estate Planning and Elder Law FAQs

Planning for an uncertain future may seem like daunting task. You and your family may have many questions about protecting and dividing your assets, making medical decisions, arranging living and care matters, and much more. Find answers from an experienced attorney to these questions and many more.

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  • Wills - FAQ

    FAQ - WILLS 


    1. Are wills public record in NC and SC?

                    -Yes, wills are public in both NC and SC.

    2. Are wills different from state to state?

                   -Yes, there are differences in wills from state to state. These differences are frequently seen in the terminology of the will and in the execution requirements. However, there may also be substantive differences between the laws of different states. For example, nuncupative wills are not valid in South Carolina. Additionally, different states have different laws regarding property and inheritance and if you move to a new state and do not update your will, certain provisions in your old will may not apply or may be invalid or unenforceable.

    3. Do wills in NC and SC need to be notarized?

                    -Notarization is not required, HOWEVER you may have more difficulty probating a will that is not notarized and the will may be challenged or even rejected.

    4. Where are wills filed?

                    -In NC, prior to death, a will may be filed in a county courthouse for safekeeping but this is not required.

                    -After death, both NC and SC require that original wills be filed at the courthouse in a timely manner.

    5. Are wills recorded?

                    -In NC and SC wills are not recorded. Powers of attorney are recorded.

    6. Can you file a will before your die?

                    -In NC, you can file a will for safekeeping at the courthouse before you die. Check with your county of residence for more information.

    7. How are wills executed?

                    -Wills are usually executed before witnesses and a notary. It is preferable for a will to be executed in an attorney’s office.

    8. Do you need a new will when you get divorced?

                    -It is a good idea to update your will and your estate plan whenever you have a major life change. Depending on how and when the will was drafted, if it is not updated, your estate could go to the wrong person if it is not updated after a divorce

    9. Can any attorney do a will?

                    -It is best to have your will drafted by an estate planning or elder law attorney who focuses on     this practice area.

    10. Why do wills go through probate?

                    -Wills go through probate so the court can confirm that the executor carries out the terms of the will and distributes property to the correct beneficiary.

    11. What can you do when wills are unfair?

                    -Unfairness is very subjective and unfairness alone may not be a sufficient basis for challenging a will. Everyone has a right to leave his or her property to whomever they choose. However, sometimes unfairnss is the result of undue influence or a lack of capacity. In those cases, it may be possible to challenge and overturn the will.

    12. wills – what is an Executor?

                    -An executor is the person responsible for securing, managing, and distributing the decedent’s   property to the beneficiaries under the will. The executor must be appointed and confirmed by the court and must carry out his or her duties under the court’s supervision and subject to the court’s approval. Executors are also commonly referred to as personal representatives, legal representatives or administrators (in the case of intestacy).