WILLS & TRUSTS

The attorneys at NicholsonPham provide simple will drafting, powers of attorney and advance directives (living wills). NicholsonPham can also draft trusts, such as revocable trusts and special needs trusts, to make sure that assets and family members are protected.

Wills

If you don’t have a will, the law mandates distribution of the property in your estate to certain family members, regardless of your personal wishes. Without appropriate planning, the probate process can become complex, time consuming and expensive. Wills provide for the efficient distribution of your property to the beneficiaries you select and can save costs and heartache for your family during the difficult time following your death. A valid will can also appoint a guardian for your children, direct what you want done with your body, name who will be in charge of funeral arrangements and determine who will be in charge of distributing your property.

Trusts

For clients with large or complex estate wishes, you may want to consider creating one of several types of trusts to protect your assets from unnecessary taxation.

The types of assets that CAN go through probate are as follows:

  1. Bank accounts that are not jointly held or payable on death
  2. Tangible personal property, such as cars, jewelry, household goods, art, collectables
  3. Houses and real estate that are not titled as a tenancy by the entireties or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship
  4. Digital assets, such as online accounts
  5. Embryos or other genetic material that is being stored for you if you haven’t designated what happens to them upon your death

Call: (919) 883-4900

What things are not covered under my will?

Certain items pass outside of the will. They are called “extra testamentary” gifts. Examples of those types of items are:

  • Retirement accounts with a named beneficiary
  • Life insurance with a named beneficiary
  • Payable on death accounts (such as a bank account)

NicholsonPham has a questionnaire that will ask you to make certain decisions about how you want your assets divided among your beneficiaries. It is important to think about how you want your assets divided in context to other extra-testamentary gifts (like a life insurance policy). The lawyers will also ask you about other types of assets that are hard to value, but can be priceless, like genetic material that is being stored for you, your pets and/or your online accounts.