Estate planning, at the most basic level, revolves around the written, attested Will. A written, attested Will is a testamentary document which is signed by the testator and two witnesses. Most often, all three signatures are notarized to create a self-proving Will - a Will that doesn't need the signatures to be substantiated in Court.
Most Wills accomplish several important objectives: First, the Will directs the disposition of your assets in the manner you choose. Instead of the intestate succession rules dictating how your assets will be distributed, you can choose to whom and in what amount your assets will distributed after you pass - subject to some very important exceptions. Second, the Will allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor children in the event you pass before they reach the age of majority. This can be extremely important to allowing you to make sure your life plan for your children is followed if you're no longer around to implement it yourself. Third, the Will allows you to appoint an executor (and, if you have minor children, a trustee) to administer your estate. Fourth, the Will sets administrative rules regarding the administration of your estate including the waiver of any bond requirements. Fifth, the Will can direct how any expenses, debts, or taxes should be paid from your estate. Finally, the Will allows you to place specific restrictions on beneficiaries in order for them to receive their share of your estate - i.e., graduating college, staying sober, getting married and having children, etc.
Will-based Estate Planning is a simple and effective way to best effectuate your wishes for your family after you're gone. Protecting your family is your priority - a Will is a good way to do it. Click the "NC Estate Planning Basics" link at the top of this post to view other helpful posts related to the basics of Estate Planning in Cary, NC.