What Is a Legal Will in the State of North Carolina?

By April Kohl

Wills in North Carolina can take many forms, depending on the circumstances. However, for each form of will to be declared valid by a North Carolina probate court, the will must conform to the requirements of the North Carolina state code Chapter 31 for the type of will being used.

Attested Wills

Attested wills are what most people would consider a “standard” will. They are written by the testator, the legal term for a person writing a will, and signed before two competent witnesses who must also sign the will. They are often typed or word-processed for clarity, but a handwritten will is also acceptable in North Carolina. The testator must be 18 or more and of sound mind for an attested will to be legal.

Holographic Wills

A holographic will is a will that is handwritten by the testator. A holographic will does not require witnesses, and any writing on the will by another person will not affect its validity providing the meaning of any part of the will is not affected. North Carolina allows holographic wills written in the hand of another, provided the testator wrote her name in her own handwriting in or on the will, and also signed it.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Nuncupative Wills

Nuncupative wills are oral wills made by a person who, according to the North Carolina state code section 31-3.5, suffers a “last sickness” from which he does not survive, or he is in immediate danger of dying from some other cause. The testator must make the will before two competent witnesses whom he has asked to bear witness.


For a will requiring witnesses to be legal in North Carolina, the witnesses must be regarded as competent under state law. The North Carolina state code does not define what “competent” means, however. Furthermore, section 31-10 of the state code provides that a witness may be a beneficiary to the will only where there are at least two other disinterested witnesses can attest to the validity of the will.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Can You Contest a Will When the Testator Was Medicated?


Related articles

Example of a Legal Consent to Marry

Family and marriage law is governed by state statute. Each state writes its own laws regarding the age of consent to marry, which is 18 in most states. At this age, residents do not need the written consent of their parents or legal guardian to marry. However, if consent is needed, parents provide it by filling out, signing, and notarizing a simple form that gives basic information about the individuals seeking to wed.

Is a Hand-Written Notarized Will Legal?

Your will can direct the distribution of your property after your death, name someone you trust to manage your estate and even nominate a guardian for your minor children. But your will can't do any of that if it isn't valid in your state. Generally, a handwritten will is just as legally valid as a typed or printed will as long as it meets your state's standards.

Is a Self Made Will Legal if Notarized?

A self-made will is legal if it meets your state's requirements for wills. All states have requirements that include having at least two witnesses and signing your will yourself. Some states allow you to notarize your will to make it "self-proving," which moves it through probate faster. However, as of December 2010, only Louisiana requires a will to be notarized.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Last Will & Testament of the Terminally Ill

Because a last will and testament disposes of property when someone dies, courts are careful to make sure that a will ...

Is a Handwritten Will Legal in Pennsylvania?

Handwritten wills have a long history in the United States, given that originally all wills were handwritten. However, ...

Can a Power of Attorney Sign a Will?

A power of attorney grants one person the legal authority to act on behalf of another for certain purposes, which are ...

Contesting a Will as a Beneficiary

Will contests take place in probate court: One of the functions of probate court is to hear any disputes pertaining to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED