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Probate, Estate & Trust Administration

Estate & Trust Administration refers to the process by which an individual’s assets are transferred after their death. This process can be complex and time-consuming. At Carolina Estate Planning, we understand the intricacies involved in administering estates and trusts and can guide you through every stage of the process

The Probate Process

The probate process is the legal process by which a court administers a decedent’s estate. When a person dies without a Will, their estate distribution is determined by North Carolina law. Whether or not the probate process is necessary depends on what assets the decedent had at their time of death. When a person dies with a Will their estate will be administered pursuant to the terms of the Will and any other estate planning tools that were used, including a trust. 

Who Can Be Personal Representative Of An Estate?

The probate process is initiated by the appointment of a personal representative (sometimes called the “executor”). If the decedent failed to appoint a personal representative prior to their death, North Carolina Statute §28A-4-1 states who may serve. This includes:

  • Decedent’s surviving spouse
  • Anyone the decedent left property to in their Will
  • Heirs of the decedent
  • The decedent’s next of kin
  • Any of the decedent’s creditors
  • Anyone who resides in the county where the estate is being administered and is of good character

Property That Is Subject to Probate

Only property that is held in the decedent’s name alone is included in the probate process. This includes:

  • Real estate held only in the decedent’s name
  • Motor vehicles registered solely in the decedent’s name
  • Furniture
  • Bonds & stocks held solely in the decedent’s name
  • Jewelry

Property That Is Not Subject to Probate

Not all property is subject to the probate process. Examples of property that is excluded from probate include:

  • Any assets that the decedent held in “joint tenancy” with anyone else and it passed to the other person upon the decedent’s death
  • Life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
  • Assets held in a Revocable Living Trust
  • Retirement accounts with a named beneficiary

How Our Attorneys Can Help

You may be wondering how the attorneys at Carolina Estate Planning can help you with the administration of an estate or trust. Some of the ways they can assist include:

  • Providing learned counsel and advice
  • Explanation of governing laws, rules and regulations
  • Interpretation and explanation of estate and trust documentation
  • Identification of assets and debts
  • Conducting an inventory of assets
  • Settlement of debts and other claims against the estate
  • Identification of beneficiaries
  • Distribution of assets
  • Income tax returns for trusts and estates

Contact Us For Probate, Estate & Trust Administration Assistance

If you’ve found yourself as the personal representative or administrator of a trust or estate, you likely feel overwhelmed and underprepared. We encourage you to reach out to us for assistance and guidance every step of the way. We look forward to providing you with representation that brings you peace of mind.

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