The Woodwork

If you have ever lost a loved one, you may recall or be familiar with the grief that accompanies such an event. It is often an unforgettable point in life that creates significant change. It can bring families together…and tear others apart.

Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to avoid such loss up to this point. Maybe your perspective is one that reflects a deeper understanding…one that contemplates the fact that, although your loved one is no longer physically with you, some other part of them lives on.

To memorialize and manifest one’s intent in a legal document is one way that a small part can carry on after death. Whether that be through a traditional Last Will and Testament or through more advanced Trust planning, the final expression of your intent should be carefully considered. That said, here are some common phrases that signal a need for planning:

  • “I want a simple Will…”


  • “What happens if I don’t have a Will?”


  • “How can I protect my assets…”


  • “We want to protect our children’s inheritance from an ex-spouse or creditor…”


Consider talking through your goals and working to identify what planning tools could readily apply to your life. Confer with your significant other or loved ones, as appropriate, and be proactive in getting your affairs in order.

An especially important subject worth mentioning is one that most people mistakenly believe could never happen within their own family. The possibility that a dispute could arise out of the estate and between those that are left behind. These are some examples of questions that follow:

  • Who gets what?


  • What if certain promises were made while that person was still alive? Are they legally enforceable?


  • What if the language in the Will or Trust is unclear and the meaning is misunderstood?


  • What if there are two Wills?


  • What were the circumstances at the time of signing?


  • What if certain people have plans for an inheritance that are different from the express instructions provided?


  • Can a Will be challenged?


  • What rights do I have as an heir or beneficiary?


As the title of this article suggests, the death of a loved one is often the catalyst for long-lost relatives and friends to “come out of the woodwork.” Their sudden appearance prompted by some perceived financial gain. This can lead to added time and further expense.

Take the offensive early by using clear, concise language in your legal documents and set up a plan that is tailored to your personal needs and designed to achieve your stated goals.

If you have questions related to Estate Planning or Probate, we can help. Give us a call at 704-749-9244 or visit us online to schedule your consultation today.



Therron Causey

Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney

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Greg McIntyre, JD, MBA

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Greg McIntyre, founder of McIntyre Elder Law, is more than just an attorney. As a Navy Veteran, father to six kids, and a loving husband, he values family deeply. This drives his commitment to helping clients safeguard their futures and pass down legacies.

Greg has a passion to help people. Beyond just legal advice, he loves having conversations and strives to build a long-term relationship with every clients that comes through his door.

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