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Q: We have recently moved from West Virginia, and, having been told that North Carolina is a probate state, are wondering whether our will from West Virginia would be recognized here. Should we add a codicil changing our executor to someone in North Carolina, or make a new will?


Answer: North Carolina recognizes wills that are executed in the state of one’s previous residence, unless there is some obvious defect in the will, according to local lawyer Mike Wells.

“I would have an attorney licensed in North Carolina to review the will just to be sure there are not any possible issues,” Wells said in an email response to SAM. “A will executed in another state which is presumptively valid in North Carolina does not mean it lays out the best plan. If your North Carolina attorney recommends that you do a new will, the cost of the will, assuming it is not complicated, is generally modest.

North Carolina law does not require a trust to avoid many assets passing outside of probate, Wells explained. “Accounts which have beneficiary designations, such as joint accounts with right of survivorship which comply with North Carolina law, generally pass to the named beneficiary outside of probate. So many assets that individuals commonly own —a retirement account with a beneficiary designation, life insurance with a named beneficiary, and many bank and brokerage accounts which have valid beneficiary designations — generally pass outside of probate.

“It probably makes sense to name a local executor in North Carolina, although an out-of-state executor can serve in North Carolina. There will be an extra hoop or two to jump through, but it is not complicated at all.”

Attorneys will generally recommend that you execute North Carolina compliant financial (durable) powers of attorney and advance directives (health care powers of attorney and living wills), even if you have these documents executed in your previous state of residence, he said.

Q: The city paved part of Robinhood Road last year between the Silas Creek exit and Sherwood Plaza shopping center, but they still have not put permanent lines on the road. When are they going to do this? They also cut up two areas on Petree Road and filled them in, but both areas have sunk. When are those areas going to be permanently paved?


Answer: The permanent road lines you asked about have been added, said Laura Whitaker with the city Department of Transportation, and the area you described on Petree Road will be investigated.

Concerns about roads in the city can best be addressed through CityLink at 311 or 336-727-8000; online at; or using smartphone apps. Speaking of which...

Q: I know you addressed this issue before, but the problem still exists. The traffic signals on Ebert Road and West Clemmonsville Road are terrible and inconsistent.


Answer: “This should be reported to CityLink,” Whitaker said. “Signal staff can review the timing, etc. to address the concerns mentioned. Also, when reported to CityLink, the citizen can request that signal staff call back regarding the intersection and will be able to ask questions directly to signal staff.”



Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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