The probate process is essential in validating a will and actualizing a decedent’s intentions for their estate. However, it is important to know that probate is not automatic, nor is the distribution of assets after a person’s death.
The first step in ensuring that a decedent’s final wishes are met is to open an estate in Raleigh probate. In this legal process, a person notifies the court of a death and submits the decedent’s will. Afterward, the court will appoint an administrator to control the estate. Working with a well-practiced attorney could help testators and executors to understand the estate process and ensure that their wills have legal effect.
An estate is everything over which a person has control, such as:
On the other hand, an estate can also include debts and other obligations. The point of probate is to ensure that a person’s estate goes to the designated heirs and pays off all outstanding debts.
Only a probate court can oversee the administration and creation of an estate. After a testator passes away, another person must bring their will to the court and request the beginning of the probate process.
The court first examines the will for any nominated executors. If the nominated executor accepts the role and the court does not disqualify this person or company, they will issue a letter testamentary. According to North Carolina General Statutes § 28A-4-1, this letter gives an executor the legal power to administer an estate and oversee the distribution of assets and payment of debts.
The executor or personal representative of an estate has the sole power to perform the tasks named in a decedent’s will. First, an executor should create a new bank account to handle the estate’s funds. This account can help the executor track the flow of cash and pay off all relevant debts.
Next, an executor has the power to take control of physical property and real estate. If a will bequeaths these objects to a single person, the executor can transfer control. When a will distributes assets in shares to multiple people, a liquidation sale may be necessary to obtain cash for the appropriate distribution. Once an executor pays all relevant debts and distributes all the decedent’s property, the estate can close.
Particularly in cases where a decedent does not have a surviving spouse or own substantial assets, it may be necessary to create a full estate through the probate court. This process begins when the court receives a valid will, which should nominate an executor to oversee the distribution of assets and payment of debts on behalf of the estate. Once a court approves an executor, it will grant them legal power to perform these duties.
Opening an estate in Raleigh probate is often the first step in ensuring that a decedent’s wishes become a reality. As such, it is critical to seek legal counsel on successfully and efficiently navigating the process. Call our dedicated legal team today to learn how we could help in your situation.