Estate Planning

Whether you are planning for the future of your estate, your end-of-life care or need a comprehensive plan to protect your assets, it is important to have quality legal support along the way. Our goal is to carefully prepare your estate for the benefit of your heirs. Our firm handles all estate planning and administration legal matters, including, but not limited to wills, probate, estate administration, advance directive, guardianship, powers of attorney, and estate litigation. The Law Office of Sarah E. Jeffers, PLLC. provides knowledgeable and compassionate legal support to those who are ready to take this step.


A will is probably the most important document a person can execute in their lifetime. Simply put, a will declares your wishes for your possessions after you pass.  Everyone should consider speaking with an attorney to start the process of estate planning. A person who dies without a will (intestate) opens an estate to the North Carolina court to allocate possessions according to the most current law.

In addition, dying intestate opens one’s family up to the uncertainty of the courts and the possibility of fighting amongst each other. With a will, you can pass almost anything to a beneficiary, from small tokens of personality to significant assets. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal belongings
  • Securities
  • Bank accounts
  • Real estate

In addition, a will should be used to pick an executor. An executor is a person chosen to administer the will. This person will ensure that all provisions are carried out after death. This person’s responsibilities include filing the will with probate, carrying out all financial obligations of the estate, protecting assets until allocation, and distributing assets at the appropriate time, just to name a few.


What is probate?

Probate functions to determine the validity of a will. Once the court establishes that the document filed in the official Last Will and Testament, it will provide the chosen Executor the authority to take action needed to close the estate, including collecting and preserving assets, paying debts, and allocating assets. If you are chosen as the Executor, your responsibilities are complex and deserve the guidance of an attorney.

The Executor’s responsibilities are far-reaching and time-consuming. Some of the many things an Executor will need to do include:

  • Collect & preserve assets
  • Pay estate taxes and debts
  • Allocate assets to beneficiaries
  • Provide an accounting to the court
  • Close the estate

The Executor cannot do this alone. He or she will need to coordinate with other attorneys, accountants, trustees, financial planners, banks, and even the beneficiaries themselves. With this in mind, it is best to have an estate administration attorney guiding them through the process.

Advance Directives

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a formal method of creating relationships under which one person has the ability to permanently or temporarily act in the place of another. While the name may suggest that you must be an attorney to assume such a relationship, this is not the case. Any competent individual may be a power of attorney for someone else.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that typically works in concurrence with a living will. By executing a healthcare power of attorney you are authorizing another to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to make those decisions for yourself? We recommend that when designating someone to be your healthcare power attorney or healthcare agent, you not only choose someone close to you whom you trust but that you also discuss with them your wishes in the event of your incapacitation.

Living Will

A living will is technically not a will, but a legally binding document in which the signee declares how he or she would like to be treated in case of a medical emergency. For instance, you may state in your living will that you do not want to be kept alive through artificial respirators. North Carolina living will laws allow a patient who is either terminal or who is in a persistent vegetative state to decline “extraordinary means” to keep that person alive.