Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

Me and partner live together and he just passed away bank accounts,vehicles,and I am beneficiary of all insurance policies,and Ira,but we did not have a will passed away suddenly with cancer. House and vacation home. Not in my name only his name. What will take place in instance.

Asked on 9/28/13, 5:10 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kenneth Love Ken Love Law
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The estate will be probated, If you are not legally married and there is no will, unfortunately, his property will go to his family. You as the beneficiary of the insurance policies will get those proceeds.

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Answered on 9/29/13, 4:31 pm
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There is no "we" here. There are no joint and mutual wills for non-married people.

Since you were not married to your partner, the land will pass to the partner's heirs under the intestacy laws of the state where he resided at the time of death. An ancillary estate may have to be probated if the vacation home is in another state or county.

Since you are the beneficiary of the IRA and insurance policies, those monies will be paid to you. I suggest that you consult a good CPA regarding the IRA. I do not know how much money is in the IRA or your age but if you are under 59 1/2 then there will be a penalty if you withdraw any of that money on top of having to pay taxes on it (unless this was a Roth IRA). To minimize any tax liability and avoid any penalties you can do a rollover into an IRA in your name.

You mention vehicles and bank accounts. How were these things titled? If the bank account was solely in the partner's name then any funds in the account would be part of the partner's estate. The heirs will have to probate an estate or get an affidavit of collection in order for the bank to release the funds.

If the bank account was in your and your partner's name, then the funds in the account would belong to you. However, the estate might be able to reclaim these funds if they were needed to pay any claims unless you can prove that some or all of the funds came from your income not your partner's.

How were the vehicles titled? If they are in the partner's name, then they are part of the partner's estate. If the cars were titled in your and the partner's name then only 1/2 the car belongs in the partner's estate Were the vehicles paid for? If they were jointly titled, it might make sense for you to buy your partner's interest in the car from his estate.

This is why it is imperative to make a will. Your partner may very well have wanted to leave things to you and not his family. However, he did not do that nor did he add you to the deed of the home. Now you are left with a loss of your home and other assets as well.

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Answered on 9/30/13, 12:44 am

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