Dying Without a Will

What does a Will do?  Among other things, upon your death, a Will distributes real property (e.g., land) and personal property (e.g., stocks, cash, etc.) not effectively disposed of by other means – other means include, for example, inheritance by a surviving joint account holder of an account with rights of survivorship.  With a Will, you appoint that person who will handle your estate (Executor).  You can also provide for the care of minor or incapacitated beneficiaries through the designation of a guardian or the establishment of a trust.

If you have no Will, upon your death, NC intestate succession law will determine to whom your assets will go.  If you die intestate, NC laws determine who will manage your estate and when a beneficiary will receive his/her share outright (e.g., minor heir at age 18).  Intestate succession applies without regard to your wishes, your heirs’ ages, or the objectionable conduct of your heirs.  The following examples set forth how intestate succession may work for your personal and real property not effectively disposed of by other means (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Your surviving spouse’s intestate share of your property depends on the number of your surviving children and/or lineal descendants of a deceased child or children surviving you or surviving parent(s).  If, for example, two children survive you, then your spouse gets the first $60,000.00 of your personal property, plus one-third of the balance over $60,000, plus a one-third undivided interest in your real property.  Your children receive the balance of your real and personal property.
  • If you die intestate survived by your spouse and no surviving lineal descendant (e.g., no children, no grandchildren, etc.) but a parent of yours survives you, then your spouse receives the first $100,000 of your personal property, plus one-half of the balance over $100,000, plus a one-half undivided interest in your real property.  Your surviving parent(s) receive the balance of your real and personal property.

With a surviving spouse, other laws may affect his or her share, which are too lengthy to discuss here.  The important thing is to realize that careful planning eliminates issues that could arise under our intestate succession laws.  Contact an experienced Estate Planning attorney to schedule a consultation regarding your situation.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not to be taken as legal advice, nor to establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and the law firm of Weaver, Bennett & Bland, P.A.

Weaver, Bennett & Bland, P.A. serves clients in North Carolina and South Carolina.  Located in the town of Matthews between Mecklenburg and Union Counties in North Carolina since 1982, we proudly provide legal services throughout Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill, Stallings, Indian Trail, Monroe, Marvin, Wesley Chapel, Weddington, Waxhaw, the Ballantyne area, and other surrounding communities in the Greater Charlotte area.  Our clients range from national corporations and major banking institutions to individuals and local companies.