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Triangle Lawyers See Increase In Estate Planning

Posted November 21, 2001

— The events of Sept. 11 have forced more people to think about the future and their own mortality.

Attorneys say that a will is something everyone should consider.

"I had been thinking in the back of mind I really need to look at my old will. After the Sept. 11 events, I thought I really need to look at my old will," said attorney Attorney Richard Nordan.

The attorney recently updated his 12-year-old will. He said that the terrorist attacks prompted him to think more about his mortality.

"There's a lot of orphans, a lot of widows, a lot of widowers coming out of that one day. I don't see how it can't cause people to think about that they might not return home from work," said Nordan.

Attorney Bill Berggren has seen his will business boom since Sept. 11.

"I have seen an increase of about probably 300 to 400 percent," he said. "Sometimes what brings them in is that they are ready to do some traveling and they want to get it done before somebody gets on a plane or something."

Attorneys said that more people are thinking about making a will, especially people who travel a lot.

Wills are most important for parents of minor children who need to pick guardians and trustees. The assets of people who die without a will are controlled and divided by the state.

"It gives you peace of mind, too," said Berggren. "You get to know how things are going to go, so you can do things without thinking 'What happens if?'"

North Carolina is one of the few states which recognizes handwritten wills, but there are specific guidelines. The will must be physically written by the person in his or her own handwriting.

The will should also be stored in a prominent place with other important papers. Most lawyers do not recommend the practice, but say that it is OK as a backup until an attorney can be contacted.


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