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Elder Law Articles

Articles on Elder Law Topics

What Happens If I Die Without a Will?


If you die intestate (without a will), North Carolina's laws of descent and distribution will determine who receives your property by default.  

Typically the distribution would be to your spouse and children, or if none, to other family members. The state's plan reflects the legislature's guess as to how most people would dispose of their estates and builds in protections for certain beneficiaries, particularly minor children.

That plan may or may not reflect your actual wishes, and some of the built-in protections may not be necessary in a harmonious family setting.

A will allows you to alter the state's default plan to suit your personal preferences. It also permits you to exercise control over a myriad of personal decisions that broad and general state default provisions cannot address.

Dana Wilson
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