Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

Personal Will

I downloaded legal Will forms from the internet and completed my personal Will and had it notorized. At my death would my children encounter any legal problems? Should I have it registered with the Register of Deeds? Thanks so much.

Asked on 8/22/02, 1:35 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Tate Davis Davis Elder & Disability Law Services

Re: Personal Will

I do not like to give people the impression that they must pay an attorney to do all legal work; however, my experience with do-it-yourself legal documents has been that most are worthless. I once had a client who used an internet form to create a power of attorney for himself and his wife. Unfortunately, the form did not effectively create a "durable" power of attorney, meaning that the document was of no use once his wife became incompetent (she had alzheimer's disease). As a consequence, a guardianship was needed. Thus, this client probably "saved" $100 by using the free internet form and ended up paying well over $1000 for a guardianship to fix the error. While attorneys vary in their skill level, I think it is safe to say that probably no attorney in North Carolina could have made such a basic error in drafting a power of attorney. Therefore, I would strongly advise you to have an attorney review the will that you have written to ensure that it will comply with the law. In general, a simple will should be very inexpensive. A more complicated will would cost more, but if you have a more complicated estate plan, then chances are much higher that the internet form is not adequate anyway.

In answer to your second question, wills are not recorded by the Register of Deeds, however, you can have your will stored with the clerk of court for safekeeping. If you decide to have your will stored at the courthouse, you should make sure that your executor will know that he/she should look for it there.

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Answered on 8/28/02, 8:44 pm

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