The Potter Law Firm are committed to educating their clients, as well as all Huntersville residents. Therefore, we provide a comprehensive electronic library of special reports covering numerous estate planning and probate issues. We also update our legal blog regularly in order to provide updates on the ever-changing laws relating to estate planning, probate and other legal areas we handle. Finally, our seminars are always a valuable source of information. Ultimately, it is our desire that Huntersville residents stay informed. Here, we have provided a few links to useful probate resources.
Mecklenburg County Superior Court
Huntersville is located in Mecklenburg County. The Clerk of Superior Court for Mecklenburg County is responsible for probate matters and has exclusive original jurisdiction over matters relating to the probate of wills and the administration of estates. This includes including appointing personal representatives, reviewing their accountings, and taking steps to remove a personal representative if necessary.
Claiming Personal Property With an Affidavit
In cases where the estate that needs to be probated is not very significant, North Carolina provides a procedure that allows you to obtain approval from the local probate court to close the estate without formal probate proceedings. A surviving spouse may be eligible for a spousal allowance of up to $30,000. Otherwise the small estate procedure requires submitting a form called an Affidavit For Collection Of Personal Property Of Decedent, which is a fillable form.
The affidavit requires you to confirm that the value of the personal property in the estate (excluding real estate) is less than $20,000. You must also state that a minimum of 30 days has passed since the individual’s death. A copy of the completed form is then filed with the Clerk.
If no one else has initiated a probate proceeding for the estate, the person who filed the affidavit will collect the personal property, pay any remaining debts of the estate, and distribute any remaining assets to those who should inherit it. After distribution, another affidavit must be filed notifying the court of how the property was distributed.
Court costs and Fees for North Carolina probate matters
Executors and Administrators
Understanding the executor’s responsibilities
In your role as an executor, you are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the probate process that will settle your loved one’s estate. In some instances, this will involve relatively little work – if the decedent’s estate is straightforward and not very complicated. In other instances, it could be a long, drawn-out affair that involves many assets, a stream of creditor claims, or even disgruntled heirs. Usually, it’s something between those two extremes.
The executor’s duties as a fiduciary
Executors have multiple duties to fulfill. These include a duty to take possession of and protect the decedent’s assets. You also have a duty to ensure that creditors are properly reimbursed for all valid debts. There’s a fiduciary duty to the heirs as well since it is your job to faithfully protect their interests in the estate, even as you’re paying debts and taxes as part of the probate process. You also owe a duty to the probate court, providing it with timely accountings and reports so that it can fulfill its supervisory responsibilities.
The Probate Process in North Carolina
There are a number of specific tasks that must be performed during the probate process. They include:
- Presenting the will to the probate court
- Locating assets and protecting them
- Evaluating the estate
- Identifying beneficiaries listed in the will
- Notifying creditors
- Paying valid debts
- Determining any taxes owed by the estate
- Giving a final accounting to the court
Retaining an attorney can protect an executor from liability
Of course, there is another way to protect yourself: retain an attorney. With a competent probate attorney by your side, you can better manage these complex issues and have the comfort that comes from knowing that your personal interests are protected. Even when you’re confident that you can manage these tasks on your own, it’s still helpful to have a professional in your corner to provide that extra layer of protection.
If you have questions regarding probate matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (704) 944-3245 (Huntersville, NC or Charlotte, NC) or for individuals in Kentucky at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY).