After a loved one dies in North Carolina, their estate will have to go through probate. Probate, also referred to as estate administration, is the process in which the court will determine whether your loved one’s will is legally valid, and per its terms your loved one’s assets will be passed on to their heirs, referred to as “legatees” and “devisees” under North Carolina law. Many people choose to hire an attorney to administer their loved one’s estate, while other people will choose to handle these tasks on their own. Either way, there are some steps a person can take to prepare for estate administration.
Locating the will
First, you will want to locate your loved one’s will. Many people keep their will somewhere safe, such as a locked desk drawer, a safe or a safe deposit box or they may have their attorney hold on to their will. Other times a person may have deposited their will with a clerk of court. If you cannot find your loved one’s will, you can contact the clerk of court in the county where your loved one resided.
Obtain a death certificate
The death certificate is the standard proof that your loved one died, and may be needed at various times during the probate process.
Locate your loved one’s assets
In the probate process your loved one’s assets will have to be found and identified. You may need to obtain a letter of authority from a clerk of court to access information about your loved one’s assets.
Contact the clerk of court
Once you are prepared to start the estate administration process, you can contact the Clerk of Court to begin the process.
Learn more about estate administration
The estate administration process can be complicated, but these steps may help you be more prepared, whether you are handling it yourself or whether you are having an attorney handle estate administration. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website may be of use to those facing the estate administration process.