North Carolina Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – North Carolina

Note:    This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in North Carolina, but does contain basic and other provisions.  A discussion of hand written wills is not included.

Who may make will: Any person of sound mind, and 18 years of age or over, may make a will. 31-1.

Will invalid unless statutory requirements complied with: No will is valid unless it complies with the requirements prescribed by North Carolina Law. 31-3.1.

Attested written will: An attested written will is a written will signed by the testator and attested by at least two competent witnesses as provided by this section.  The testator must, with intent to sign the will, do so by signing the will himself. The testator must signify to the attesting witnesses that the instrument is his instrument by signing it in their presence which may be done before the attesting witnesses separately. The attesting witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator but need not sign in the presence of each other. 31-3.3.

Who may witness: Any person competent to be a witness generally in this State may act as a witness to a will. 31-8.1.

Self-Proved: An attested will may be made self-proved by affidavit of the testator and witnesses on an appropriate form. The form you have found contains the North Carolina self proving affidavit form. 31-11.6.

Executor competent witness: No person, on account of being an executor of a will, shall be incompetent to be admitted a witness to prove the execution of such will, or to prove the validity or invalidity thereof.  31-9.

Beneficiary competent witness; when interest rendered void: A witness to an attested written will, to whom or to whose spouse a beneficial interest in property, or a power of appointment with respect thereto, is given by the will, is nevertheless a competent witness to the will and is competent to prove the execution or validity thereof. However, if there are not at least two other witnesses to the will who are disinterested, the interested witness and his spouse and anyone claiming under him shall take nothing under the will, and so far only as their interests are concerned the will is void. A beneficiary under a holographic will may testify to such competent, relevant and material facts as tend to establish such holographic will as a valid will without rendering void the benefits to be received by the beneficiary thereunder. 31-10.

Manner of probate of attested written will:

(a) An attested written will may be probated in the following manner:

(1) Upon the testimony of at least two of the attesting witnesses; or
(2) If the testimony of only one attesting witness is available,  then

a. Upon the testimony of such witness, and
b. Upon proof of the handwriting of at least one of the attesting witnesses who is dead or whose testimony is otherwise unavailable, and
c. Upon proof of the handwriting of the testator, unless he signed by his mark, and
d. Upon proof of such other circumstances as will satisfy the clerk of the superior court as to the genuineness and due execution of the will; or

(3) If the testimony of none of the attesting witnesses is available, then

a. Upon proof of the handwriting of at least two of the attesting witnesses whose testimony is unavailable, and
b. Upon compliance with paragraphs c and d of subsection (a)(2) of this section; or

(4) Upon a showing that the will has been made self-proved in accordance with the provisions of law.

(b) Due execution of a will may be established, where the evidence required by subsection (a) is unavoidably lacking or inadequate, by testimony of other competent witnesses as to the requisite facts.

(c) The testimony of a witness is unavailable within the meaning of this section when the witness is dead, out of the State, not to be found within the State, insane or otherwise incompetent, physically unable to testify or refuses to testify. 31-18.1.

Inside North Carolina Last Will and Testament Law