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Requirements to Properly Execute an Estate Plan in North Carolina

It is the responsibility of the estate planning attorney to ensure all of these requirements are met during the signing meeting.

Majority Age

This requirement is easy to verify by reviewing a valid photo identification. You must be at least 18 to execute your estate plan. (Note: Every person over the age of 18 needs an estate plan regardless of how much money they have. It's important to name the people you want named to make your decisions when you can't.)

Testamentary Capacity

To be of sound mind and have the mental capacity to execute a will in North Carolina, the testator must prove to the attorney that he or she has the ability to know: (1) the nature and extent of his or her property ownership; (2) the disposition being made by the instrument; and (3) evidence that the connection is made between the property and its distribution through a coherent plan. Experienced attorneys know to focus on the decision-making capabilities during the interview, drafting and revising stages of estate planning. Most attorneys know to overlook personality quirks, oddities and such.

For questionable testators, it is often recommended that a letter of competency be obtained from either an attending physician familiar with the patient or a specialist who conducts cognitive testing. This letter of competency should be stored alongside the will.

Undue Influence

Undue influence is excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will. This will involve a combination of factors including the vulnerability of the testator, the tactics of the influencer, the authority exerted and the potential of benefits to be received by the wrongdoer. There are many opinionated adult children that attend will signings with their aging parents who do not rise to the level of undue influence. It is a clear distinction that must be assessed by an experienced attorney.

Free of Duress

Duress rises to another level above undue influence in that it occurs when a wrongdoer uses threats, violence, or constraints to bring about the testator’s actions. This would not likely occur in front of the estate planning attorney but would need to be assessed from interviewing the testator and other family members.


In North Carolina, a will must be witnessed by two people who are over the age of 18 and not named in your will as a beneficiary. Health care power of attorney must also have two witnesses and both your will and health care power of attorney must be notarized. A durable general power of attorney in North Carolina must be notarized but witnesses are not required.

Ready to Get Started on Your North Carolina Estate Plan?

Our Process: 

You will receive an email with a questionnaire link. Complete and submit prior to your consultation and the $350 fee will be waived.

Meet with an estate planning attorney and learn all the different strategies that can help you achieve the outcomes you desire.

Choose your plan based on your budget.

Pay half of the plan fee and schedule your legacy interview and signing ceremony.

At signing, pay the balance owed and get your plan along with the peace of mind knowing you protected everything you own and everyone you love! Schedule Now!

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