Estate administration is typically handled by a trustee designated in a will, though this isn’t always the case. If a decedent passes without a will, the situation is referred to as “intestate” and if they pass away with a will, the situation is referred to as “testate.” If the existence of a will is unknown, a search will generally be undertaken to find one. The decedent might have had a safe or deposit box and stored the document there. If a will is found, the clerk of superior court will administer letters to the person responsible for handling the estate.
If no will is found, there is generally a process to determine which person should handle the estate. This could be the spouse, anyone listed as receiving property of the estate, next of kin, or any creditor with a relationship with the decedent. Since it is common for a person to be both a beneficiary of the estate and an administrator, a lawyer can be especially helpful in consulting and guiding the trustee’s actions.
Many times people choose close members of their family to be executors or personal representatives in charge of handling the matters of their estate after their death. This process can be particularly difficult due to the emotions that accompany the loss of that person. Additionally, the estate administration process has many deadlines and requirements that must be carried out properly.
Anyone responsible for handling the estate administration should have a general knowledge of the assets of the decedent prior to the decedent’s death. North Carolina Courts do provide forms to assist with this process. There are also some who are disqualified from serving as an estate administrator, such as those who are under the age of 18, those who have been judged incompetent, convicted felons, a nonresident of the state of North Carolina who has failed to appoint a state resident for this service, corporations that are not authorized to act as personal representatives, illiterate persons, or any person that the clerk of superior courts find to be unsuitable. An estate administrator must take an oath in North Carolina to uphold their duties responsibly, and if beneficiaries or other parties feel as though the administration has been mishandled, they can file a petition to have the executor removed.
Estate administration has many facets and those involved in the handling of an estate can benefit greatly from working with an experienced attorney. Meek Law Firm offers estate administrative assistance to ease the process and help executors avoid the pitfalls that can occur.
Click for information on Estate Litigation Charlotte NC