Estate administration can be confusing if you have been named executor of a loved one’s estate but have never gone through the probate process before. While help is available to executors, there are four general steps you can take at the beginning of the probate process to get the ball rolling.
Step one: locate the will
First, if your loved one had a will upon their passing, the executor must locate this will. Common places to keep a will include safes, safe deposit boxes and locked drawers. Sometimes the decedent’s lawyer is holding onto the deceased’s will or the will has been deposited with the clerk of court.
Step two: obtain a death certificate
Certain steps in the probate process require formal proof of death. Generally, this proof takes the form of a death certificate. You may want to obtain more than one death certificate should you need one for other purposes besides probating the deceased’s estate.
Step three: locate and identify the deceased’s assets
Your loved one may have left many valuable assets behind in their will. The executor of the estate needs to locate and identify these assets. It is important to note that the executor may need to obtain a letter of authority from the court clerk to be granted access to these assets.
Step four: notify the clerk of court
Finally, the executor of the deceased’s estate needs to contact the clerk of court when they are ready to begin the probate process. They should pursue the action in the appropriate county in North Carolina.
Learn more about the probate process
Being named the executor of a loved one’s estate can be an honor but it can also be confusing if you have never served in such a role before. Fortunately, help is available. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those in North Carolina who want to learn more about estate administration are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.