Free North Carolina Last Will and Testament Form

A last will and testament is a legal instrument that contains the directions of an individual (testator) related to their estate in case of death, made in the format prescribed by law.

Normally, most people can only benefit from having a last will. Even when you do not have too many assets, a last will could actually help your family situation and turn out to be critical to your loved ones upon your death.

In this article, we offer a free downloadable North Carolina last will and testament form and the answers to a lot of common questions you could have regarding this particular document.


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North Carolina Last Will Laws and Requirements

Requirements State laws
Statutes Chapter 31 – Wills
Signing requirement Two witnesses § 31-3.3. Attested written will
Age of testator 18 or older § 31-1. Who may make will
Age of witnesses 18 or older § 31-8.1. Who may witness
Self-proving wills Allowed § 31-11.6. How attested wills may be made self-proved
Handwritten wills Recognized if meeting certain conditions § 31-3.3. Attested written will
Oral wills Recognized if meeting certain conditions § 31-3.5. Nuncupative will
Holographic wills Recognized if meeting certain conditions § 31-3.4. Holographic will
Depositing a will Possible with the clerk of the superior court in each county of North Carolina A fee is county-specific § 31-11. Depositories in offices of clerks of superior court where living persons may file wills

How to Prepare a North Carolina Last Will

  1. Consider your alternatives. One important thing to decide upon, first of all, is whether you want to write the whole thing by hand or use a fillable last will and testament form accessible online.
  2. Indicate your information. Step one is establishing the testator by filling out their full legal name, followed by the residential information (city, county, and state). Go over the information you entered as well as the rest of the passage, including “Expenses and Taxes.”
    Part for indicating details of a last will document for North Carolina
  3. Specify the executor (or executrix). Decide on the executor of your property and indicate their particulars: full name and place of residence, which will generally be within the same state the testator lives because most states impose special rules on out-of-state executors. As a precaution, you can appoint an alternative executor of your last will. That way, you’ll be able to make sure that, even when the originally chosen executor is not able to perform their obligations, there is a second trusted person you can count on.
    Executor choosing section of last will form North Carolina
  4. Choose the guardian (optional). In case you have minor or dependent children and don’t want the court to choose a guardian for them when you’re no longer here, you can select a friend or acquaintance as a guardian for your children.
    Guardian appointment section of a will and testament for North Carolina
  5. Indicate your beneficiaries. Now you establish those who are going to inherit your property. Fill out their full names, addresses, and your connection to them (spouse, child, friend).
  6. Distribute property. If you’ve got an asset allocation planned that is not proportional, it is possible to describe it within this part. Cash, stocks, realty, business control, money for arrearage, as well as any physical items of financial value you possess can be mentioned in the will. Please be aware that there are things that cannot be distributed in the last will, for instance, life insurance and shared and living will property.
    Section for specifying beneficiaries and allocating assets of last will template for North Carolina
  7. Ask witnesses to sign the document. North Carolina General Statutes specify that no less than two witnesses have to sign a last will and testament so that it is viewed as valid. It is possible to name somebody as a witness only if they’re over the age of 18 years and are uninvolved in the heritage. As a possible additional preventative measure against cases when your will is contested or any other problems, it seems sensible to assign a witness who is younger than you to ensure they’ll still be there after you have passed away. After a thorough revision of each paragraph in your will, all signatories (you and your two witnesses) have to write their full names and full addresses and sign the document.
    Witnesses signing section of North Carolina will and testament

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between 'Power of Attorney' and 'Executor'?

The primary distinction between the two documents is that as soon as you die, the representative you designate through power of attorney loses their legal authority to take care of any matters for you.

You can find several types of power of attorney, the two main ones being:

  • General power of attorney – allows you to assign a proxy (agent) who’ll have the ability to take care of your financial and legal affairs in your stead. However, this document becomes annulled if the principal passes away or becomes incapacitated.
  • Durable power of attorney – grants the same authority to the proxy as the prior type but stays valid even if the person on behalf of whom the agent acts becomes incapacitated.

An executor is a person you rely on and designate to ensure the will’s directions are carried out. Nonetheless, the two roles can be served by the same individual.

Should I notarize my last will in North Carolina for it to be effective?

In North Carolina, there’s no need to attest your will. But if you would like to add a self-proving affidavit to the last will and testament, you’ll need to notarize it. A self-proving last will makes probate quicker because the court can acknowledge it without getting in touch with the witnesses who signed it.

IMPORTANT: Even though notarization is not required for last wills in North Carolina, it usually helps facilitate the probate.

Should you choose an attested or holographic last will?

A holographic will is handwritten. To be effective, this document needs to be fully in the handwriting of the testator, as well as dated and signed by him or her. However, these last wills are usually viewed as a short-term solution. You’d like to substitute this type of last will by making an attested one whenever you can by using an attorney’s services or a fillable template. A suitably detailed will can be better for the future probate process since holographic wills could include unclear conditions that can slow down probate and make it more pricey and/or more difficult to enforce.

An attested will is a typed document that is often based on a fillable form available online or created with the assistance of a law firm. For it to be viewed as valid, it must be signed by the testator and two credible witnesses older than 18 in the testator’s presence, which can also be done in the presence of a notary public. However, the latter isn’t required in North Carolina.

Exactly what does it imply to be testamentary capable?

The testator must fulfill testamentary capacity requirements to be able to make and change their last will, including being of sound mind.

In most states, to write a last will, you’ve got to be of sound mind and no less than 18 years old. “Sound mind” signifies that you don’t have any kind of mental illnesses (dementia, senility, insanity, etc.) that don’t allow you to have an understanding of the aftermaths of your actions.

Do I have to attach a self-proving affidavit to my last will and testament in North Carolina?

No, in North Carolina, there isn’t such a requirement. Nonetheless, including one may be very beneficial since it removes the need for witnesses testimony in the course of probate, which eases the procedure considerably.

Can you leave out your children or spouse from a last will and testament?

In regards to your marriage partner, it’s important to highlight that North Carolina is not a community property state, which indicates that all of the possessions that were gathered during the marriage or that improved with the capital got while in the mentioned marriage, are not owned by both marriage partners evenly. 2018 study demonstrates that in the State of North Carolina, the divorce rate is 8.6 per 1,000 women over 15 years old, in comparison to the average US rate of 7.7.

North Carolina law allows you to exclude your marriage partner of your last will and testament, but your spouse will have the right to possess a determined minimum amount of your property.

With regard to everyone else, it is legal in North Carolina to disinherit members of the family in the last will. By including corresponding disinheritance sections to your last will and testament, you’ll be able to exclude your adult children or any other family members from receiving any of your belongings.

Can my will be changed without my consent?

No, nobody but you is allowed to change your last will. Another person can only sign the will when you are physically unable to do so.

Can I alter a typewritten last will after I sign it (in North Carolina)?

Yes, you can.

A testator is permitted to alter or cancel his or her last will and testament at any time. The only situation that may not let you do so is if this doing is forbidden under the agreement you concluded.

Moreover, it is a wise decision to amend your will whenever you go through a major life event, including:

  • Adoption or birth of a child
  • You got divorced or married
  • Selling or Purchasing real estate
  • Important changes in your financial situation

What if I lose my last will and testament?

In case the last will is lost or damaged, as indicated by North Carolina law, the court can accept it. But, just the initial version of the last will and testament can be approved by the probate court.

North Carolina law allows for an assumption that the will’s absence implies it’s repealed. This places the responsibility on the proponent of the last will and testament to provide evidence of the stated will.

Things may get more troublesome when considering a holographic will. In order to prove its legality, the court will require testimony and sword witnesses. Also, you have to prove as to why the will and its elements can’t be provided in a way that will also ensure it wasn’t annulled.

What does one have to do in case they are not physically able to sign the last will and testament?

In line with the North Carolina Estate Code, it’ll be possible for a person to sign their last will and testament providing it is your (as a testator) directive and in your presence. The testator can state their wishes orally, by way of answering positively to a query, or with body language.

It is possible to have a notary public to sign the name of a testator that is physically incapable of doing so in case the latter directs the notary public in the presence of a witness. Such a witness is selected much the same way someone could choose an executor – they must have no legal or equitable interest in any property being the issue matter of or influenced by the last will.

Related documents Cases when you might need to make one
Codicil You would like to make a single or a few minor modifications to your will.
Self-proving affidavit You want to keep from potential difficulties during the probate.
Living will You want to express your wishes regarding the end-of-life medical treatment and life-prolonging procedures.
Living trust You would like to consider an alternative to a will.
Published: Sep 17, 2020
Mara Erlach
Mara Erlach
Writer & Attorney
Mara has been practicing estate planning and trust law in California since 2003, taking pride in helping clients of all backgrounds and asset profiles form a complete and customized estate plan. Her specialties are: estate planning, wills and trusts, trust and probate administration.