Questions About Estate Administration and Probate? We Can Help.

When a person dies, the legal process of establishing whether there is a valid will, what the decedent's assets are, which debts will be paid and who will inherit the remaining assets is called probate. Probate is handled differently in each state. In North Carolina, the estates department is part of the Clerk of Court in each county. Probate is handled in the county where a person lived at the time of death.

Probate assets are those things that are titled in the decedent's own name that do not have beneficiary designations. If there is an original, valid will, that document is filed with the probate department and lays out the road map for the disposition of the estate assets. The will also names an executor or personal representative, who quarterbacks the probate process. Probate is a public process and the will is a matter of public record.

If a decedent does not have a valid, original will, his or her assets will be distributed according to the default statutory instructions. These provisions are called intestacy statutes and describe how the estate is divided and who receives the assets.

Settling the decedent's debts is an important part of the probate process. Before assets are distributed to heirs, all valid debts must be paid. However, creditors are entitled only to the decedent's probate assets. If there are insufficient assets to pay debts, creditors only receive a fraction. State statutes determine the order in which debts are paid.

We are experienced advisers and advocates in the process of estate administration and trust administration. Our attorneys' experience with the probate process and rapport with court personnel allow you and your family an easier experience through a difficult time.

If your family is going through the probate process, we will guide you through the following actions:

  • Lodging the will
  • Notifying heirs
  • Transferring assets to the intended beneficiaries

Our lawyers are with you every step of the way. We understand this is often an emotional and unfamiliar process, so we will do all we can to ensure that you can confidently and efficiently comply with your legal responsibility as a fiduciary.

Contact our office in Greensboro for guidance today.