Estate Administration & Probate
Handled by Our Probate Attorneys Serving Mooresville, Iredell, Mecklenburg & the Surrounding Counties.
Estate administration is the legal process by which a person's debts are paid and assets are distributed upon her or his death. Lawyers refer to the entity that owns the deceased's assets until those assets are distributed as an "estate." Estate administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased's assets. In fact, there are various assets and exceptions that result in certain property not going through probate at all. When estate administration involves a valid will it is called an ‘testate estate’. With a testate estate at least part of the estate usually goes through ‘Probate.’ When court action is required for estate administration without a valid will the estate is called an ‘intestate estate’.
The Law Office of Natalie J. Miller offers comprehensive estate administration and probate services. We can provide advice to executors and administrators on all aspects of estate administration and the probate process. Many small estates do not need to go through a formal process; but, rather the legislature has developed a shorter procedure.
initial consultation with our probate lawyers in Mooresville.
How Long Does Probate Take in North Carolina?
The length of time needed to complete the probate process varies greatly depending on the state. There are a lot of factors that determine the time. In the state of North Carolina, the minimum time period if four months. That is calculated with the 90 days given to creditors of the estate to file claims against it.
Usually, the process can take about a year depending on the size and value of the estate. The more valuable and complex the assets are, the longer it will take to finish.
The North Carolina probate process can be daunting without the expertise of a probate attorney. The Mooresville probate attorney at the Law Office of Natalie J. Miller, PLLC is here to help guide you through the process step-by-step. Call us today to discuss your case.
Step One of the Process
If a will has been left, then you are dealing with a testate estate. Often, wills are left in safe deposit boxes. At death, all safe deposit boxes are frozen. The court must be involved to unfreeze the safe deposit box. Then the will must then be submitted to the court for probate. You will apply for "letters testamentary." The letters testamentary are the court order appointing an official representative, i.e., an executor of the testate estate. This requires that all assets of the estate be inventoried.
If there is no will, then you are dealing with an intestate estate. The court must assign a personal representative. The personal representative must be over 18, mentally competent, literate, and suitable in the eyes of the clerk. Usually, the surviving spouse is the personal representative, but the spouse may ask that another person be appointed. The personal representative is often required to post a bond. Then, the personal representative will apply for "letters of administration." The letters of administration are the court order appointing an official representative, i.e., an administrator of the intestate estate. This requires that all assets of the estate be inventoried.
Step Two of the Process
It is the personal representative's job to settle the estate as quickly as possible. The personal representative is liable for negligence, acting in bad faith, and intentionally mishandling property.
Settling the estate includes notifying creditors, opening an estate checking and/or savings account, gathering assets, filing accounts with the court, distributing to heirs, and, finally, closing the estate.
Call our probate attorneys in Mooresville today at (704) 662-3557 to learn more about your situation and how we can assist you.
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