In my last post, I discussed intestate succession and why we should avoid it. This week, I will discuss the most basic way to prevent intestate succession: a valid will.


What it is

A will is a legal document that spells out your wishes regarding who gets your assets when you die. Many wills also designate guardians for minor children and layout your wishes regarding your funeral, burial, or cremation.


Why it is important

A will allows you to control who gets your belongings when you die. The alternative is the government, through intestate succession laws, determines who gets your possessions when you die. In a will, you can give your assets to your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your friend(s), a trust or multiple trusts, a charity, or just about anyone else you want to. Furthermore, a will allows you to designate guardians for your minor children, set up a trust for someone you know, and clarify if you wish to be buried or cremated.


How to create one

In North Carolina, you can create a will yourself. However, there are specific requirements, even if you create your own. I recommend talking with a licensed attorney about creating your will. An attorney will make sure your will is valid and help you take extra steps to prevent people from winning a challenge against your will in court. Finally, an attorney can help you think about many things that you may not think about when it comes to creating your will.



A will is one of the four corners of a basic estate plan and is the simplest way to avoid intestate succession. Having a valid will gives direction for your wishes after you die. If you have any questions about wills, or if you would like to create your own as part of a complete estate plan, schedule a time to talk with me.