When a loved one passes away, their assets and debts must be dealt with according to the law. The person who handles the estate administration (an administrator if the deceased died without a will, an executor if there was a will) will need help in navigating the legal system in settling the deceased’s estate. Many issues need to be dealt with, including:
- How to transfer the title to motor vehicles
- How to close out bank accounts
- When it is appropriate to pay debts
- When it is appropriate to distribute the deceased’s property
- How the property is to be distributed if the deceased did not have a will
Many documents must be prepared and filed in the Clerk of Court’s office. We offer compassionate and competent legal assistance in handling your loved one’s estate.
At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our Monroe, NC probate attorneys are experienced, reliable, and knowledgeable advocates for our clients. If you have any questions about probate in Union County and the surrounding areas, we are here to help. To arrange your confidential consultation with a North Carolina probate and estate administration attorney, please contact us today.
An Overview of Probate in North Carolina
As explained by the North Carolina Judicial Branch, the term probate has two meanings. To start, you will often hear the term probate used broadly as another word for estate administration. The probate process often refers to the entire estate administration process. Additionally, probate is the formal legal process through which a court determines whether or not a decedent (person who passed away) has a valid will. Probate can sometimes be confusing, time-consuming, and complicated. Many documents must be prepared and filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office. The following things typically occur during probate in North Carolina:
- The court determines if the decedent had a valid will;
- The will is submitted to the probate court for review;
- An executor (or estate administration) is given the authority to administer the estate;
- The decedent’s property and assets are identified and collected;
- Creditors are notified that the probate process has started;
- Bills, taxes, and debts are resolved; and
- The assets are distributed to the appropriate heirs.
The Timelines: Key Deadlines in North Carolina’s Probate Process
Opening Probate (Within 60 Days of the Decedent’s Passing)
Probate will not automatically start after a person passes away. It is the job of the executor of the will—or estate administrator if there is no will—to open probate. In North Carolina, probate should generally be initiated within 60 days of a person’s death. You do not want to wait too long. Not only will failure to open probate slow the process down, a creditor may try to do it on their own. Assuming no issues arise, the executor will be granted letters of administration.
Notifying Creditors (Within 75 Days of Letters Being Granted)
Creditors must be identified and notified in a timely manner. Under North Carolina law (NC General Statutes § 28A-14-1), it is the job of the executor or estate administrator to provide legally valid notice to creditors within 75 days of the date that they were granted letters of administration by the probate court.
Comprehensive Inventory of Assets (Within 90 Days of Letters Being Granted)
The executor or estate administrator is also responsible for conducting an in-depth inventory of assets. In effect, it is their job to identify and collect all of the property/assets that will be subject to the probate process. North Carolina law holds that this should be completed within 90 days of letters being granted (NC General Statutes§ 28A-20-1).
A Simplified Process for Small Estate Administration in North Carolina
Not all estates have to go through the formal estate administration in North Carolina. Our state offers a simplified estate administration process for “small estates.” Under North Carolina law (NC General Statutes § 28A-25-1), a small estate affidavit can be used to claim assets if the total value of the estate is less than $20,000. The limit jumps to $30,000 if the surviving spouse is the sole heir of the estate. If you have any specific questions about how the small estate administration process works, please contact our Union County, NC probate law attorneys for guidance and support.
Navigating Disputes in Probate and Estate Administration
In addition to routine estate administration, it is an unfortunate fact of life that in some estates, disputes can arise among the family of the deceased. Disputes in estate administration can arise for a wide range of different reasons. There could be questions about the validity of a will, the interpretation of a will, or the veracity of creditor claims. Some estate disputes involve the family versus outside creditors. Other disputes involve the prospective heirs.
In many cases, heirs will have to retain an attorney to represent them, separate from the attorney who is handling the estate, due to conflict of interest. Our Monroe probate lawyers have experience in representing heirs in estate disputes, such as will challenges (will caveats) and other disagreements concerning the proper distribution of property. Be proactive with probate & estate administration disputes. The sooner you take action, the better the chances for a positive result.
Why Rely on Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long for Probate and Estate Administration
Estate administration can be complicated. At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our legal team helps people and families handle the full range of probate and estate administration matters—with a focus on solution-driven representation. We offer compassionate and competent legal assistance in handling your loved one’s estate. When you call our Monore law office, you will have an opportunity to consult with a North Carolina probate & estate administration lawyer who is prepared to:
- Listen to your story and explain the probate/estate administration process;
- Answer any questions that you have about your rights or responsibilities;
- Investigate the matter, securing any documents or records that you need;
- Handle all of the probate/estate administration paperwork; and
- Take all steps necessary to help you obtain the best outcome.
Call Our Monroe, NC Probate and Estate Administration Lawyer Today
At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, we have extensive experience providing probate and estate administration services. If you have any questions about North Carolina probate law or estate administration in general, we are here to help. For a confidential, no-obligation review of your probate or estate administration case, contact our legal team at 704-289-2519 right away. We provide probate law services in Union County and throughout the surrounding region.
From our Monroe office, we proudly assist people in need of help with family law matters. We zealously help the people of Union, Anson, and Stanly Counties including but not limited to Waxhaw, Wesley Chapel, Indian Trail, Weddington, Unionville, Mineral Springs, Lake Park, Stallings, Hemby Bridge, and Wingate.
With over 110 years of combined legal experience, you can trust your case with us.
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