Wills & Estates Attorneys – Wake County, NC
Do you need help drafting a will? Perhaps you need to update your will. Or maybe you’ve recently lost a loved one who left behind a will. At McNeil Law Firm, our wills and estates attorneys work with you to make sure you and your loved ones are protected now and for the future.
Everyone should have a will in place, no matter how much or how little wealth you have. A will can cover things such as:
- Property – In your will, you can indicate how you would like your property to be distributed after you die. This may include valuable items like a home or car, but it can also include sentimental items like family heirlooms and photographs.
- Estate Administration – In a will, you can appoint someone to handle your estate. This person is called the executor. Their job will include overseeing the setup of your estate, payments made from your estate, property distribution, and more. Appointing an executor makes things easier for your loved ones after you pass. Without an executor, your loved ones may be left having to figure out who is the best person to handle your estate. This often causes tension among family members. By appointing an executor in a will, you will help take that burden off of your loved ones.
- Children – If you have minor children at the time of your death, you will can address things like guardians for the children. You can also indicate any property that you would like to have pass to your children such as specific pieces of jewelry or furniture, etc.
If you have lost a loved one, his or her estate will go through a process called probate. Probate is the process where the court oversees how your loved one’s items (like property and money) are handled and distributed from the estate. This process can be overwhelming, but an experienced probate lawyer can help walk you through the North Carolina probate process which can include:
- Probating the Will – If your loved one died and had a will, then the will must be submitted to the court along with evidence proving that the will is actually your loved one’s will.
- Identifying & Gathering Assets – All of the property owned by your loved one must be identified and located so it can be properly distributed. If your loved one had a will, hopefully most or all of their property was listed in the will, but there could be other property they acquired after their will was drafted.
- Collecting the Money Owned to the Estate – If there are payments that were due to your loved one at the time of their death, those funds should be collected. This will help make sure you have a clear understanding of the full value of the estate. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to make demands for payment, negotiate, or even file a legal proceeding.
- Appraising Estate Assets – It is important to know the value of all property in the estate. For example, how much is your loved one’s jewelry worth? What about their car or home? Having an accurate appraisal helps make sure your loved one’s assets are distributed fairly and in accordance with their will (if they had one).
- Handling Claims/Paying Debts – If there are any claims against the estate, these claims must be paid or settled before any payments or distributions can be made to any heirs. For example, your loved one may have left behind a credit card bill or medical debt. An experienced probate attorney can help you understanding your rights and options when it comes to handling these kinds of claims/debt.
- Tax Returns – Taxes owed by your loved one’s estate must also be settled before any payments or distributions can be made to heirs. The estate’s personal representative is also responsible for filing a final tax return at the closing of the estate.
- Distributing Assets According to the Will – In their will, your loved one may have identified specific items to be distributed to specific people. Other times, the gifts, bequests, or devises listed in the will may be confusing because an item (such as a house) or group of items may have been left to a group of people. Multi-generational transfers and other provisions can also be confusing. At McNeil Law Firm, we can help you interpret the will and help make sure your loved one’s assets are distributed in the way they wanted.
- Preparing the Final Accounting – Once everything in your loved one’s estate has been addressed and distributed, a final accounting will need to be done. The final accounting needs to be complete and accurate. This helps ensure and document how the estate’s assets were handled and may help prevent or resolve any disputes that could arise now or in the future.
If you have been thinking about putting a will in place, don’t wait. Contact the wills and estates attorneys at McNeil Law Firm to get started. The process will likely take less time than you think, and you’ll be making sure your wishes are heard and your loved ones are protected.
If you lost a loved one and need some help figuring out how to handle their estate and what to do next, give us a call – we can help with that, too! We understand the process of estate administration and probate. We’ll walk you through the process and will be with you every step of the way so you can make sure your loved one’s wishes are honored.
Don’t wait – call McNeil Law Firm today at (919) 803-6778.