Gastonia Estate Planning Attorney

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Gastonia Estate Planning Lawyer

Over the course of a lifetime, you can accrue a wide range of assets under your collective estate. Managing these assets and preparing for the disposal of your estate requires trusted advice from a Gastonia estate planning attorney. At The Schweppe Law Firm, P.A., we help families and individuals plan for the future, and we can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Whether you require legal work in the area of probate or estate administration, our team is here to help.

Best Gastonia Estate Planning Attorney

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

You need an estate plan. Many people would rather not think about becoming incapacitated or dying. However, having an estate plan is the only responsible way to provide for your loved ones following such an occurrence. An estate plan ensures that your assets are protected when you are no longer able or around to manage them.

Without careful estate planning, probate courts will distribute your assets in accordance with state laws that may not be in line with your personal wishes. By working with the attorneys of The Schweppe Law Firm, P.A., you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets are protected and that your loved ones are provided for.

There are many benefits of working with a law firm to begin the process of creating an estate plan. If you are ever incapacitated, your plan will go into effect, guiding decisions about your medical treatment. This can be done through a power of attorney. In the event of a medical emergency, your family will not have to stress over your wishes because those details will be clearly laid out as part of your estate planning.

If you have minor children, documents like a will can provide resources for your family. Creating a trust can also benefit your children by protecting assets. Your estate planning can be done in a way that minimizes taxes and keeps your private assets out of public view.

Estate Planning Basics

Estate planning encompasses a wide range of areas of law, and the purpose of your estate plan is to ensure that your family is provided for now and into the future. Some people may think estate planning is for elderly individuals with vast sources of wealth, but seeking legal counsel for your estate should be a routine part of anyone’s adult life. You do not have to be wealthy to benefit from this sort of planning.

One practical benefit of estate planning is to prevent unnecessary confusion or even contention following your passing. While planning a will is only one element of comprehensive estate planning, it is an important component. Without clearly written language, a will can lead to confusion and possibly litigation on the part of your heirs. Here are some common areas that our law firm covers under estate planning:


You can transfer your property into a trust and manage it during your lifetime. A living trust does not go through probate court, which can save your family time and money. Another benefit of avoiding court is the ability to keep your arrangements completely private and out of the public’s eye. The person making the trust is called the grantor, and the plan can account for incapacity on the part of the grantor.

An irrevocable trust cannot be modified or altered. Once a property is transferred, any assets in that trust can only be removed under the document’s founding and unalterable terms. This type of trust is often ideally suited for individuals with special needs. The grantor can avoid paying certain taxes while protecting assets from creditors by using an irrevocable trust.

Power of Attorney

Also known as a POA, a power of attorney legally authorizes an attorney or agent to act on behalf of someone else. The person who gives this authorization is known as the principal, and the agent’s scope of power may be broad or limited. Common areas that the agent oversees include medical care, property management, finances, and investments.

The authorizations under a power of attorney can end for a number of reasons. At any time, the principal can revoke the agreement. A court can invalidate the document. In other cases, the agent may no longer be able to carry out their responsibilities. If the principal and agent are married, the legal agreement may end during a divorce.

Professional Executor

During the probate process, your professional executor serves as the administrator and representative of your estate. The executor is tasked with following the will’s directives. They will also perform any required tasks in a timely manner. Distributing assets, handling debts, and filing tax returns are some of the common requirements of fulfilling this role.

Hiring someone who is competent and able to perform these tasks is critical because any mistakes could delay the closing of your estate in probate court. A novice executor, even one who is well-intentioned, may not have the experience required for this role. Our lawyers can advise you on who a suitable executor could be.


The decision to seek guardianship over a loved one can be immensely challenging. In other situations, you may seek to fight a relative’s effort to place a senior relative under guardianship. Whatever the reason you seek guardianship-related legal services, our firm has experience in this area and can advise you or take legal action if needed.

How Often Should I Revisit My Estate Plan?

Ideally, you should revisit your estate plan regularly to update and review it. Like other areas of your life, such as insurance policies, your estate plan should be revisited as your goals change and assets evolve. An estate plan is completely customizable.

The second that your plan no longer works for you, one of our lawyers can revisit any area within that plan. Life-changing events will happen to everyone, and your end-of-life wishes may evolve over time. We can be there to provide counsel and help you keep your estate plan relevant to your current goals.

FAQs About Gastonia, NC Estate Planning Law

What Is the Average Cost for Someone to Do Estate Planning in North Carolina?

The average cost for someone to do estate planning in North Carolina is highly variable, but attorneys tend to earn around $200 to $400 per hour for their work. Lawyers who have more experience or work for large firms may charge even more.

The number of hours that it will take to plan your estate depends on the type of work you need to have done. Your final bill will be largely dependent on how much time and resources are needed on your attorney’s end.

What Assets Are Exempt From Probate in North Carolina?

Estates under certain values do not have to go through probate court in Gastonia. Certain life insurance policies, pension benefits, retirement accounts, and bank accounts are exempt from probate in North Carolina, as they can be transferred without the need to go through probate court. One way to prevent your assets from being divided through probate court is by working with an estate planner.

How Do I Avoid Probate in North Carolina?

You can avoid having your assets divided in probate court in North Carolina by working with an estate planning lawyer who can help you draft a legally binding will. Having your assets placed in the right type of trust can also prevent intervention by a probate judge. To ensure the documents are enforceable, you should work with an experienced Gastonia lawyer.

What Happens if You Don’t Write a Will in North Carolina?

If you do not write a will in North Carolina, your heirs will not have a clear means of understanding your wishes for dividing assets. This is where the probate courts come in. A judge will follow probate law guidelines when dividing your assets. This could cause your family to incur unnecessary legal fees.

Can Someone Contest My Will After I Am Gone?

A: Someone can contest your will after you are gone. Someone named in the will could do so based on allegations that you were mentally impaired when you wrote the will, or they may argue that beneficiaries named in the past will were written out unjustly or under the influence of someone with self-serving interests. One way to prevent your heirs from contesting your will is by having a professional lawyer draft the document so that your aims are clear.

Can Non-Relatives Be Named as Heirs on My Will?

Non-relatives can be named as heirs in your will. Colleagues, friends, and even charitable institutions can be named as beneficiaries. Without a will, heirs like biological children are seen as the first group entitled to receive an inheritance. A will can place a beneficiary over an assumed heir. For example, someone can name a stepchild as their beneficiary and leave out blood relatives.

Schedule Your Estate Plan Consultation With The Schweppe Law Firm, P.A., Today

In the event of an unforeseen tragedy, having proper and thorough estate planning in place can protect your family from uncertainty. Estate planning should begin early into adulthood and be managed throughout your life as your goals and assets evolve.

Whether you are writing a will, creating a trust, or formalizing documents that detail what to do in the event that you pass away or are incapacitated, our legal team is here to help. We have helped many clients in and around Gaston and Cleveland Counties enjoy peace of mind through careful estate planning. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation on this important topic.