It's a big headline right now, musician Prince reportedly died without leaving a will and how his massive estate will be divided is unclear.
Legal experts say it's a good reminder of how important a will is no matter how much is at stake.
Tara Nichols and Daron Satterfield of Nichols and Satterfield have a general law practice in Durham providing many services, but, they underscore the importance of legal protection of assets by providing a pro bono service drafting wills for new Habitat For Humanity homeowners in Durham.
"Everybody needs a will," Nichols explained.
"Because, if you own a home, work somewhere with retirement benefits, served in the military - if you've ever worked at all - owned anything like a car, or have a bank account, you need a will. So, however you want your assets handled after you pass it is handled the way you would like it to be handled," Nichols said.
A will designates where your assets will go upon death, and guardianship for children under 18. Legal experts say medical documents are also important to instruct doctors and family members of what kind of care you want if you become incapacitated. These documents can be in the form of a durable power of attorney for health care and an advance directive. Both instruct and designate a person to make health care decisions on your behalf.
There are many pro bono services across North Carolina for low income residents to assist with preparing Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Wills.
For a complete list click here.
In addition, there are lower-cost DIY will and trust making software options online such as nolo.com and legalzoom.com.
Experts also advise asking trade unions and employers if there is a discounted rate for legal services. In some cases, you can add on legal services to a home or car insurance policy for legal documents to help offset the cost.
If you don't create a will, the state will designate where your assets are going which can take several months or longer.
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