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Cary Probate Lawyer


When it comes to the probate process, not only is a person dealing with the death of their loved one, but they also have to make sure all of the deceased’s affairs are in order. This can be a substantial undertaking. There are a lot of rules that must be followed to settle an estate, and you could use someone to help you through the process and take that burden off your hands.

You need a Cary probate lawyer experienced in the complex legal challenges that come with handling the affairs of a departed loved one. If you need help preparing for your own estate’s probate or managing the probate process for a loved one’s property, consider speaking with Cary Estate Planning. We can help you prepare for any obstacles or disputes that may arise.

What is Probate?

So, what is probate and why is it necessary? When a person dies, their estate goes through this court-supervised process and their assets and properties are distributed to their beneficiaries or next of kin. Probate usually follows instructions set out in a deceased person’s will regarding who should get what property of theirs, but various circumstances can complicate or prolong these procedures, making this costly or leading to an unfavorable outcome.

The Role of the Personal Representative in Probate

The most important party involved in probate, aside from the court overseeing the entire process, is the personal representative – or executor – of the estate. This person is responsible for representing the decedent’s estate during the probate process, meaning they must gather all of the assets, pay off any outstanding debts, and ensure the decedent’s last wishes are carried out regarding the division of their assets and property.

Appointing a Personal Representative in Cary

Typically, a person will be named an estate representative from a will. If no representative is named prior to a person’s death, the court will assign this role in the following priority order, as per North Carolina General Statutes §28A-4-1:

  1. The decedent’s spouse
  2. A beneficiary named in the decedent’s will
  3. A person entitled under probate law to inherit property from the decedent if no will exists
  4. The decedent’s next of kin
  5. A creditor to whom the decedent owed debts prior to their death
  6. A resident of North Carolina with no felonious criminal record who is at least 18 years old, is competent to serve as a representative and submits an application for this role to the clerk of the superior court

Regardless of who the acting representative is, this duty comes with complex legal responsibilities. It is almost always a good idea for you to seek guidance and support from a Cary probate attorney before probate begins.

What Probate Does and Does Not Address

Probate is used to address any property held in the deceased’s name upon their death, including solely owned bank accounts, real estate, stock holdings, and personal items such as furniture and jewelry. Property put in revocable living trusts, jointly owned real estate, retirement accounts with a named beneficiary, and certain other financial instruments are not eligible for distribution through probate.

Probate-eligible property is distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will. If no will exists, however, the property is distributed among the decedent’s surviving spouse and next of kin. However, if a decedent’s only surviving beneficiary or heir is their spouse, N.C.G.S. §28-28-1 allows for a simplified probate process that could proceed much faster than normal.

Similar laws allow for simplified probate if an estate’s total value does not exceed $20,000, or $60,000 if the decedent’s spouse is their sole beneficiary. A local probate legal professional can discuss with an individual estate representative or beneficiary what may be possible under particular circumstances.

Seek Guidance from a Cary Probate Attorney

Probate can be a complex and controversial process, even if a decedent leaves a will specifying their exact wishes. It is best to let someone versed in the rules of probate handle your loved one’s affairs to avoid any delays in distributing their assets. A qualified Cary probate lawyer can offer advice and expertise to anyone dealing with this process at any stage.

Whether you are representing someone’s estate or seeking assets or property as a beneficiary, guidance from seasoned legal counsel could be crucial to achieving your desired outcome. Contact us today to schedule an initial strategy meeting and learn more about the assistance a legal professional could provide.


Noteable News

Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides a pathway for compensation for those who have suffered from the water contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

We partner with select personal injury law firms to provide counsel to clients who are seeking justice for the Camp Lejeune water contamination from the 1950’s to the 1980’s.

Our firm has extensive experience in probate law throughout the state of North Carolina, and we have developed a unique and efficient process for helping move the probate aspects of these CLJA cases forward. We believe that we are a valuable resource for these clients, providing the support and guidance needed to pursue these claims and the compensation these families deserve.

While this service offering is exclusive through our relationships with select personal injury firms, we feel that this special collaboration is worth mentioning and we are honored to help those affected.

WNCN CBS-17’s ‘My Carolina’ Segment on Probate

We were excited to be featured on our local WNCN CBS-17’s morning show ‘My Carolina’ and the topic was Probate. Check out our segment here: