the final administration of your estate (probate) simpler.


LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT


Signing a Last Will and Testament is a solemn occasion, undertaken by most individuals when they realize they are not going to live forever and they need to plan for the benefit of those they are leaving behind.  We at Dunlow & Wilkinson, P.A. consider it an honor to work with clients in drafting a Last Will and Testament that addresses their needs, concerns and reaches the desired result under North Carolina law.  Whether it is a complex instrument with testamentary trusts and guardianship provisions or a straight-forward list of bequests and devises, we have the expertise and experience to ask the right questions and make sure all of the potential issues are addressed.


Some items to think about when contacting our office for an initial consultation regarding a Last Will and Testament are:


  • How are the titles to your bank accounts held?  Banking or investment accounts can be jointly titled with right of survivorship, payable on death, or held in an individual's name alone, and this can make a significant difference in adopting the right approach for estate planning.
  • Who are the names beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, 401(k) or other retirement accounts.
  • How is the title held to any real property or land you own or have an interest in?
  • What vehicles do you have in your name?
  • Who would you want to designate as the Personal Representative (Executor / Executrix) for your estate?  This would be th individual charged with the responsibility of carrying out the terms of your Will in compliance with North Carolina law.
  • Who would you want to designate as a Trustee of any Trust created under you Last Will and Testament  This individual could have an ongoing responsibility to manage assets for the benefit of a minor or others who you may designate.
  • Who would you want to designate as a Guardian for minor children or others of whom you have custody?


POWER OF ATTORNEY


This document is aptly named, as it is one of the most powerful documents many people will sign.  A Power of Attorney is a document by which one person gives another person (known as the Attorney-in-Fact) the power and authority to do or undertake some action on his or her behalf.  Powers of Attorney can be limited in scope, or can be very broadly drafted.  Because a Power of Attorney has such power, it is very important that the document be drafted properly to accomplish its intended purpose.  Because improper use of a Power of Attorney can have devastating unintended consequences, we advise that you have an experienced estate planning attorney draft the document for you.  


HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY


The purpose of a Health Care Power of Attorney is to allow a person to designate another person as his/her "Health Care Agent."  The Health Care Agent can make some or all healthcare decisions on behalf of the person signing the Health Care Power of Attorney.  In the right instances, this document is invaluable.  


READY TO MEET YOUR ESTATE PLANNING NEEDS


At Dunlow & Wilkinson, P.A., your initial consultation to prepare a Last Will and Testament, Health Care Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney or other estate planning document is free of charge.  If you are interested in having either of these documents or would like to learn more about your options, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.


ESTATE ADMINISTRATION


The death of a loved one can be a very stressful point in many people's lives.  Along with the grief and loss comes the responsibility to take care of the deceased person's business:  paying debts, collecting accounts, gathering and valuing assets and distributing property and personal possessions in accordance with the deceased's Last Will and Testament and North Carolina law.  This can be an exacting process, as all funds received and all items of personal property devised must be properly accounted for.  The estate administration process (or probate) is designed by law to be open and transparent.


At Dunlow & Wilkinson, P.A., we have the experience needed to guide you through every step of the estate administration process.  From qualification through filing the final account, our lawyers and staff are ready, willing and able to make the process as smooth as possible.  We routinely handle estates in Granville County and surrounding counties, and would be happy to assist you in this process. 

For many people, planning what happens to their property and possessions upon their death is not a subject they enjoy spending a lot of time thinking about.  Nevertheless, good estate planning can relieve a great burden for surviving family members and loved ones.  Comprehensive and solid estate planning involves not only addressing what happens after death,but also includes making provisions for what should happen in the event you become unable to make for yourself some or all of the everyday decisions life presents.


In most instances, comprehensive estate planning can be accomplished by three documents:   Last Will and Testament; a Power of Attorney; and a Health Care Power of Attorney.  These documents will make things easier on your family in the event you are incapacitated and ultimately make the

WILLS, ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE

106 Gilliam Street

Post Office Box 600

Oxford, NC  27565

(919) 725-9161 (phone)

(919) 725-9162 (fax)