Brady Morton, PLLC - Attorneys at Law - Raleigh, North Carolina
Brady Morton - Attorneys At Law
Brady Morton - Attorneys At Law
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  Brady,   Morton,PLLC
  4141 Parklake Avenue
  Raleigh, NC 27612
  Phone: 919-782-3500
  Fax: 919-573-1430
 
Brady Morton - Attorneys At Law



NORTH CAROLINA INTESTACY LAW

Intestacy law governs the settlement of estates of those who die without a properly executed Last Will and Testament. For most married couples, North Carolina's intestacy law provides for the preferred disposition of one's property upon their death. Chapter 29 of the North Carolina General Statutes provides for minimum distributions to a legal spouse of a decedent. For example, if a person dies without a Will, leaving only a surviving spouse, then all real and personal property will pass to his or her surviving spouse.

Default Property Distribution

North Carolina intestacy law provides that if a person is survived by no spouse, and no children, then his or her property will pass to surviving parents, or if no surviving parents, then to his or her siblings. A surviving unmarried partner is provided nothing at the other's death. A deceased person's lineal relatives (children or parents) stand first in line for property inheritance. The only way to ensure that your personal and real property, not passing by beneficiary designation or right of survivorship, will pass to your unmarried partner is to express that desire in a properly executed Last Will and Testament.

Appointment of an Administrator

Similarly, North Carolina intestacy law makes almost no provision for an unmarried partner to oversee the administration of his or her deceased partner's estate. Chapter 28A of the General Statutes provides that a decedent's spouse, then lineal relatives, then siblings may apply for appointment as Administrator of an intestate estate. Creditors of the decedent stand in line ahead of an unrelated "person of good character residing in the county who applies therefore," such as an unmarried partner of the decedent. Again, the only way to ensure that your unmarried partner may act as your Executor is to name him or her as such in a properly executed Last Will and Testament.

Appointment of a Guardian

Similarly, if you are the only living biological or adoptive parent of a child and your partner is not also an adoptive parent of that child, then the decision of who will become the child's legal guardian is left to the decision of the Clerk of Court in the county where you live. However, if your unmarried partner is named the legal guardian of your child in a properly executed Last Will and Testament, then the Clerk will give "substantial weight to such recommendation" of the decedent in making that decision.

Authorized Final Arrangements

North Carolina has default rules for who may be reimbursed for the costs of a decedent's final arrangements. If an unmarried person dies without leaving written authorization in a properly executed Will or Health Care Power of Attorney directing who may make such arrangements, then the decedent's lineal relatives and siblings have priority over all unrelated individuals. This means that while an unmarried partner may be able to direct the cremation or burial of the deceased, the deceased person's family can properly refuse to reimburse the partner for such unauthorized funeral expenses from the decedent's estate. The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that a provision in one's Will for final arrangements will take precedence over the wishes of the deceased's family. The best way to authorize your unmarried partner to carry out your final arrangements is to name them in a properly executed Health Care Power of Attorney. [Link there to the page on Health Care Directives.

Contact Us:
Dan Brady - dbrady@danbrady.com, 919-782-3500






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