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Get Help From a Durham Probate Lawyer

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most challenging experiences in life. The pain of grief resulting from a significant loss can leave you feeling burned out physically, mentally, and emotionally. As the executor of an estate, you may be facing this emotional turmoil while also attempting to navigate the intricacies of the North Carolina probate process – a legal process that is likely unfamiliar to you. If you find yourself in this situation now, Carolina Estate Planning can help. You don’t have to bear this burden alone.


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At Carolina Estate Planning, our Durham probate lawyers are skilled in every aspect of probate and can help administer the simplest of estates to the most complex. When you are facing the daunting task of settling your loved one’s estate, it is crucial to have peace of mind that someone is there to support you, and we are here to provide that assurance to you and your family.

Our comprehensive services include everything from appointing a personal representative to notifying creditors, taking inventory of assets, and distributing them to heirs and beneficiaries in compliance with North Carolina’s laws. By entrusting us with your probate needs, you can rest assured that we will handle every detail, freeing you to focus on what really matters during this difficult time of grief.

About the North Carolina Probate Process

The probate process refers to the legal proceedings in which a court oversees the administration of an individual’s estate after their death. In the absence of a Will, North Carolina law governs the distribution of the decedent’s assets. Whether or not the probate process is required is dependent on the type of assets that the decedent owned at the time of their passing. If there is a Will, the decedent’s estate is managed according to the terms of the Will and any other estate planning instruments, such as a trust.

Many people rely on the services of a trusted probate lawyer to help with the administration of the estate, which includes overseeing probate, but also other steps. By working with an attorney, you can rest assured that all deadlines are being met and the matter is being handled in compliance with North Carolina law, but for many of our clients, the real value in partnering with Carolina Estate Planning is alleviating yourself from the stress of figuring out how to serve as the personal representative or executor of an estate.

Types of People Involved in Probate

The probate process involves many parties. These people are referred to as a whole as “fiduciaries.” A fiduciary is an individual in a position of trust and authority who has a right to manage property for the benefit of another. Basically, someone you trust to uphold your wishes after your death. The main types of fiduciaries involved in the probate process include:

  • Executors – Fiduciaries who are appointed by a Will and granted authority by the court.
  • Administrators – Fiduciaries who the court appoints when a person passes without a Will.
  • Personal Representatives – A term that is used to refer to both executors and administrators of an estate.
  • Trustees – Fiduciaries who are appointed by a trust (like a revocable living trust).

In addition to individuals who fall within these classifications are a great many other stakeholders, including estate planning lawyers and the Clerk of Court responsible for processing the probate proceedings. Other parties include beneficiaries of accounts and assets (like named beneficiaries on banking accounts, for example), and also creditors to whom debts are owed by the deceased.

Your Durham probate lawyer can manage all of these people, ensuring their expectations are met and that they are kept apprised of the latest updates related to the administration of the estate.

Our Durham Probate Lawyers Answer FAQs

These are some of the questions we are asked most often by our clients.

Who Can Be a Personal Representative of an Estate?

The personal representative of your estate should be someone you trust to handle your legal matters after your passing. North Carolina does outline some basic requirements. Your personal representative must be 18 years of age or older, of sound mind, literate, and not a felon. At our estate planning law firm, most personal representatives are spouses, adult children, and siblings.

Who is Responsible for Overseeing the Probate Process in North Carolina?

The probate process in North Carolina is overseen by the clerk of superior court. Each county in the state has its own clerk of superior court, and all clerks must abide by the same state laws governing the administration of a decedent’s estate.

How Can a Probate Attorney Help with the Process?

In simplest terms, a probate attorney interprets and comprehends estate and trust documents, including Wills, trusts, and other pertinent records to complete the administration of an estate after someone dies. If a probate attorney doesn’t do this, the appointed executor of the estate must do it. Often, that person doesn’t have the legal knowledge – or the bandwidth in their personal life – to oversee all the steps. So, they seek the counsel of a trusted probate attorney to handle the matter for them.

Consult with our Durham Probate Lawyer Today

Our team of Durham probate lawyers are dedicated to guiding you through every stage of the process after the passing of a loved one. Our estate planning law firm takes on the day-to-day responsibilities, freeing you from the burden of navigating the process alone. Contact us today to learn how Carolina Estate Planning can help. We will do everything possible to ensure you leave your first appointment feeling more at ease and in a better place than you were before.

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