Wills & Estates

Do you know what will happen with your possessions when you pass away?  Who would you like to be the guardian of your children.  If you do not decide for yourself, there are North Carolina laws which will determine how your assets are divided among your heirs, as well as, the guardian of your children.  You may not want your affairs to be handled the way that North Carolina has determined they should be handled.  You should consider consulting with an attorney at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC to find out how North Carolina law affects your assets and your family upon your death.  An attorney at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC can help you develop a plan that fits your needs and draft the necessary documents to carry out your plan upon your death.  There are several documents that we recommend as a minumum for anyone needing a simple estate plan.  This is where we start with you.

Simple Will

There are many types of wills, but a simple will typically gives your assets to either one or a few individuals.  There may be several specific gifts or just one or two general gifts.  A simple will can also contain a provision regarding who you would like to be the guardian of your children, as well as, a trust to hold assets for your children until they reach a certain age.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney appoints an individual to manage your health care affairs.  The document actually grants this individual the power to act on your behalf in regards to health care decisions and often access to records.  The health care power of attorney is typically used to allow someone to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are incapicated or unable to make the decision yourself.

General Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you authorize another person (called an agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf in the management of your affairs.  Your attorney-in-fact can be either an individual or an institution.  You should carefully consider who you designate as your attorney-in-fact because they have complete authority to act for you just as if you yourself had acted.  Your authorization may be very broad or limited to specific areas; however, the attorney-in fact’s powers end immediately upon your death.

Living Will

A Living Will or Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death is a document that specifies your desire about having your life prolonged by medical intervention.  Although your Health Care Power of Attorney may allow for your Health Care Agent to act on your behalf to make the decision of how to prolong your life, but this document clearly specifies your desires to assist your Health Care Agent and the medical personnel attending to your needs when you are incapacitated.

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the process of managing your affairs after death.  This process is called probate if you have a will.  The will typically appoints an individual to serve as a representative for the estate and to manage the process of dividing assets according to the desires expressed in the will.  If an individual dies without a will, there is still a process that is followed and a representative is appointed to distribute assets according to the law of North Carolina.  The process of administering an estate or probating a will involves working with the clerk of court and following specific procedures.  An attorney at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC can help you as the representative of the estate to make sure the procedures are followed properly.