If your loved one has passed away, you deserve time to grieve and heal. The last thing you need are lengthy court proceedings and stress over the distribution of their assets. However, many situations require surviving family members to go through a process called probate.
Probate is the legal process through which a person, typically the surviving spouse, is authorized by the court to pay the deceased person’s debts and taxes, assemble their assets, and allocate the assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. Probate does not occur after every death in North Carolina, so it is best to contact an experienced trusts and estates attorney who can advise you on whether it applies to your situation. A Raleigh probate lawyer can guide you through the legal process.
Probate in Raleigh is governed by NC General Statutes, Chapter 28A. The statute provides a basic overview of the probate process and defines the role of a personal representative as the person who both executes and administers the estate. The personal representative may:
The statute is fairly broad in its explanation, but a local probate attorney can go into further detail on the relevant information for prospective personal representatives.
When a loved one passes, it can be unclear if the probate process is even necessary. Although probate is required in most cases, there are several types of assets that do not need to go through it. These include:
There are steps that a person can take before death so that their estate avoids the probate process, but probate court proceedings are generally necessary when the deceased only owned assets in their own name. For those unsure of how probate applies, a knowledgeable Raleigh attorney can discuss their specific case in a free initial strategy meeting.
In some cases, the court is required to appoint an executor or an administrator in the probate process. This can occur if the value of the estate is greater than the amount for the affidavit process or summary administration. For non-lawyers reading, summary administration is just a simplified probate procedure.
The court appoints an executor if such person was named in the will. If there is no will, or if the person named is unable to serve, the court appoints an administrator. Both these terms describe the person taking charge of the estate. If there is a surviving spouse, they have first priority to be appointed as administrator.
Raleigh residents who are seeking to be appointed executor or administrator of an estate should contact a probate attorney for guidance. An experienced legal professional can review the rights and responsibilities involved in the role.
If your loved one’s assets are going through probate, having legal support and counsel can smooth the process. A Raleigh probate lawyer can walk you through each step and help you rest assured that your loved one’s assets will be taken care of.
Legal matters can add to an already overwhelming time following the death of a loved one. Let our practiced legal team handle the hard part so that you can focus on healing.