Frequently Asked Questions
about Estate Planning in North Carolina


What would happen if I died without a will?

The North Carolina Intestate Succession Act, directs how your property is distributed if you die without a will. Despite common belief, it is very rare for the State to inherit your property as the law is designed to transfer your property to the remotest of relations.

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

Both a Will and a Trust direct how your property is distributed at your death, but only a Trust avoids probate. Additionally, unlike a Will, a Trust may be used to manage your property during a disability. It is necessary to fund a Trust in order to avoid probate or manage a disability. Learn more about trust funding here.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process to settle debts and transfer assets after a person has died. Learn more about Probate and Estate & Trust Administration.

How can I avoid probate?

There are many ways to avoid probate, all of which revolve around how your assets are titled prior to your death. Learn more about the effect of title on probate avoidance.

What kind of taxes will be due when I die?

The Federal Estate Tax applies to transfers of property at death. As of 2013, the tax rate for Federal Estate Tax purposes is 40%. However, each estate is eligible for Federal Estate Tax Exemption amount of $5 million ($5.43 million, as indexed for inflation for individuals dying in 2015). There is no North Carolina estate or inheritance tax. Learn more about basic estate tax approaches for married persons.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints another person or entity to act on your behalf. Estate planning typically incorporates two types of powers of attorney. Learn more about powers of attorney.


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Have Questions?

If you have a question, a comment, or simply want to have a conversation and explore how we can help, we’d love to hear from you.

Andrew J. Cobin, Esq.

4141 Parklake Avenue, Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27612-2333

8601 Six Forks Road, Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27615
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