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Probate Assistance in Winston-Salem

At Carolina Estate Planning, we can assist you with estate and trust administration, which involves transferring an individual’s assets after death. A large part of this process is probate. Estate administration can be complicated and time-consuming for someone who has never done it before, so many people seek an experienced Winston-Salem probate lawyer to help alleviate the burden and ensure the work is done correctly. Our job as your North Carolina probate lawyer is to guide you through each step – that’s what you get when you work with Carolina Estate Planning.


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About Probate in North Carolina

The probate process involves the legal administration of a deceased person’s estate by a court. In North Carolina, if someone passes away without a Will, the distribution of their estate is determined by law. The need for probate varies based on the assets held by the deceased at the time of their passing. In cases where the deceased had a Will, the estate is managed according to the Will’s terms and any other estate planning strategies, such as a trust.

A decedent’s assets are categorized as “probate assets” or “non-probate assets.” Probate assets are those held only in the decedent’s name and include real estate, motor vehicles, furniture, stocks, bonds, and jewelry. Assets that are considered “non-probate assets” and are not subject to probate and include:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement policies
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Annuities
  • Assets held in a Revocable Living Trust

Non-probated assets often name a beneficiary. For example, a life insurance policy contains a designated beneficiary – names a person designated to receive the benefits – and is therefore self-executing, eliminating the need for court involvement.

How Carolina Estate Planning Helps You

Our Winston-Salem probate attorneys act as your guide throughout each stage of the process after a loved one has died. Our estate planning law firm handles the day-to-day needs, alleviating you from the burden of figuring out the steps yourself. We provide learned counsel and advice on the matters at hand and explain the governing laws, rules, and regulations that apply to your specific case. Additionally, we help you interpret and understand estate and trust documentation, such as Wills, trusts, and other related documents.

One of the critical steps in estate and trust administration is identifying the assets and debts involved. Our Winston-Salem probate attorneys at Carolina Estate Planning can help you conduct an inventory of assets and work toward settling any outstanding debts or other claims against the estate. Together we will identify beneficiaries and work toward distributing the assets accordingly.

For many estates, it is essential to consider tax obligations. We assist with the preparation of income tax returns for trusts and estates, ensuring that all relevant tax requirements are met. Our goal is to provide comprehensive assistance with all aspects of estate and trust administration.

Winston-Salem Probate Lawyer Answers Your FAQs

Are Probate Proceedings Public in North Carolina?

When the person who drafted a Will (a testator) passes away and their Will is filed with the probate court, it becomes public information. The only individuals with the right to view the Will of a living person are the person who signed it, that person’s attorney, and the person’s authorized agent. As detailed by the North Carolina Judicial Branch, once a Will is filed into the probate proceedings, it becomes public information.

What Are the Fees for Probate in North Carolina?

There are generally court fees necessary to create the estate in the amount of $120, in addition to the probate fee that is taxed against the personal property assets of the estate. The Court Costs and Fees Chart provided by the North Carolina Courts clarifies the following fees:

  • General Court of Justice Fee – $106
  • Facilities Fee – $10
  • Telecommunications and data connectivity fee – $4
  • The total for estates: $120
  • A separate tax on the value of the gross estate
  • Caveat for Decedents Dying on or after 1/1/2012 – $200
  • Application for Administration by the Clerk – $20

How Long Does Probate Take in NC?

A probate proceeding that is not contested generally takes six months to a year, although complicating factors can extend the process.

How Do I Get a Copy of a Will in NC?

To get a copy of a Will in North Carolina, you may file an application with the Clerk of Court. Generally, you must visit the courthouse with the relevant file number and request that the clerk allow you to view the file. You can leave with a copy after paying a small copying fee. Only certain parties may gain access when a Will has not yet been probated, like the named beneficiaries or the deceased’s personal representative.

Speak with a Winston-Salem Probate Lawyer Today

As a personal representative or administrator of a trust or estate, it is common to feel overwhelmed and unprepared for the task at hand. If you find yourself in this position, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance and guidance of our experienced team. Contact Carolina Estate Planning by calling us now or connecting with us online. 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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