By Theodora Vapori with Rossabi Black Slaughter. P.A

New parents want to do everything right for their children. They want the best day care, best schools, best opportunities for their children. They spare little expense when it comes to planning all of these events, having the first portraits taken or signing their kids up for lessons. Why is it then that 80% of new parents do not take the time to see a lawyer and write a Will that will protect their children if they die unexpectedly?

Did you know that if you die without a Will in North Carolina, your spouse does not automatically get everything?

Did you know that if your children inherit money from a deceased parent (or anyone else), if it is not properly set out in a trust, you may not be allowed to use that money to help raise them? This is because the law presumes you (the surviving parent) can raise your own child. This is usually shocking to the surviving parent who assumes that his or her children’s inheritance, left by the deceased parent, should be available for expenses of raising the child, for health care, children’s activities and tuition costs.

Did you know that if your children inherit money and no trust has been set up in a Will, the Court supervises their money in what is known as a court ordered guardianship and you need to give the Court annual accountings and seek the Court’s permission to spend any of the money—even though you want to spend it on the child?

Did you know that if you do not choose a guardian in your Will, someone who will take custody of your children if both parents die, the Court will have no way of knowing who you would have wanted to raise your children.

Did you know that if your house is titled in the name of only the husband or the wife and the other dies without a Will, the house will then be owned by the surviving spouse and the children together? Imagine owning your home with a 2 year old and then needing the Court’s permission to sell it.

Did you know that if a married person dies and does not have children, the parents share in the estate with the surviving spouse?

These are just some of the problems that can arise when a person dies without a valid Will. A Will with simple trust provisions can prevent all of these problems. It is unfortunate that a lack of proper planning often causes property to pass in a way you never would have intended.

Theodora Vaporis is an attorney with Rossabi Black Slaughter. P.A. located at 3623 N. Elm Street, Greensboro. She works in the areas of estate planning, probate, guardianships, elder law and estate disputes. Rossabi Black Slaughter, P.A. is a full service law firm specializing in all types of litigation, family law, real estate, homeowner’s associations, corporate law, parliamentary law and traffic issues. The attorneys of Rossabi Black Slaughter, P.A. can be reached at (336) 378-1899.    

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