If you are a legal adult, it is generally a good idea to have a written will. To be considered valid under North Carolina law, the document must include your name as well as the names of your spouse, children and executor. It will also likely need to include both your signature and the signature of at least one witness. Take a look at some other important details to keep in mind to ensure that your will is honored by a probate judge.
You must be mentally competent to create or alter a will
It isn’t uncommon for family members or other parties to challenge a will on the grounds that the testator lacked the capacity to create or alter its terms. Legally speaking, a person is of sound mind if he or she knows that he or she owns property and who those assets are going to. Furthermore, a testator must know that he or she is creating or changing a will and understand the implications of doing so.
What to know about changing a will
You may decide to review and update your will after getting married or after the birth of a child. It may also be worth making changes to a last will and testament after receiving an inheritance or because of changes to the tax law. A change can be made to a will by replacing it with a new document or by adding a codicil.
It is generally a good idea to have an attorney or other estate planning professional make a change on your behalf. Doing so may minimize the chances of a will contest on the grounds that it was changed in a fraudulent manner or in a manner that didn’t comply with state law.
An estate planning attorney may be able to help you create a will or review one that has already been created. If necessary, your attorney might help make changes to the document to improve the chances that it will withstand a legal challenge.