If you think you "don't have a will" - think again, North Carolina's laws of intestacy have made one for you.

The American Bar Association has reported that more than 55% of Americans will die without a will or estate plan. This is just one of many studies that indicate that a huge number of Americans, especially young Americans, don’t have a will in place.

We get it. We like to consider ourselves fairly young and like to at least hope that we still maintain a fair share of our youthful vigor! Before we went to law school and learned what the laws of intestacy provided, we also mistakenly believed that we probably had no real need for a will.

The simple fact of the matter is, however, that NC has essentially made a will for you – under the laws of intestacy – which will apply if you die without a validly executed will. Very rarely do clients enter our office and declare how pleased they are with what the state has decided to do with their assets. More often than not, they want something entirely different than what is provided by the laws of intestacy:

  • Many couples are choosing not to get married, but to remain in long-term committed relationships – but even despite the nature of the relationship – these people are still legal strangers to one another who lack many of the safeguards a traditional marriage would offer if one partner becomes incompetent or dies.
  • Some are displeased to find out that all of their assets could go to an estranged parent or sibling if they pass away without a will.
  • Some worry once they learn that their minor children may live in a household that they wouldn’t choose as their first option in the event they cannot care for their children.
  • And we have all heard about the unfortunate and chaotic situation with the Prince estate last year– even those of us with less modest estates can still benefit from thoughtful planning.

At Clayton and Clayton our initial consultation is free of charge – if you are curious what the current laws would provide for you if you don’t have a will, feel free to give us a call so we can talk about it.