The probate process can be a lengthy, and complex, process that involves legal and financial concepts with which the average person may not be familiar. For this reason alone, most Executors/Administrators do retain an experienced estate planning attorney to help them during the probate process. … [Read more...] about Do I need to retain an attorney if I am the Executor/Administrator of the estate?
When the decedent’s Last Will and Testament is submitted to the court for probate, any interested party has the right to challenge the validity of the Will by filing a Will contest. Contrary to popular belief, a Will contest cannot be filed solely on the basis that the contestant is unhappy with his/her inheritance (or lack thereof). If a valid Will contest is filed, the Executor/Administrator of the estate must defend the Will throughout the ensuing litigation. Basically, the probate process … [Read more...] about What happens if someone challenges the Will?
The amount of time it takes to get through the probate process can vary; however, in North Carolina, creditors have 90 days after initial publication or mailing of a creditor notice to make a claim against the estate. Consequently, it will generally take a minimum of four months to get through the probate of even a modest estate in North Carolina – and it often takes more than a year. Sometimes probate estates remain open for years. … [Read more...] about How long does probate take?
Although no two estates follow the exact same path through the probate process, there are some common steps, including: Identifying, locating, securing, and valuing estate assets Opening probate – usually in the county in which the decedent was a resident at the time of death. Notifying creditors that probate is underway and inviting them to make claims. Reviewing creditor claims and approving or denying each claim. Calculating and paying any state and/or federal tax due. … [Read more...] about What are some of the most common steps in the probate process?
If the decedent left behind a Will, the individual named as the Executor in the Will, after being appointed by the Court, oversees administering the estate during the probate process. The Executor is supervised by the Court, which expects that all activities of the administration of the probate estate will be accounted for by the Executor. If the decedent died intestate, any competent adult may volunteer to be the Administrator if the estate. If no one volunteers, the court will appoint someone. … [Read more...] about Who handles the probate of an estate?
When someone dies without leaving behind a valid Last Will and Testament, the individual is said to have died “intestate.” Dying intestate does not avoid probate. Instead, the assets in an intestate estate are distributed according to the North Carolina intestate succession laws, meaning only close relatives will inherit from the estate in most cases. It is more expensive to administer an intestate estate than to administer and estate with a competently drawn and executed Will. … [Read more...] about What happens if the decedent died without a Will?
One of the first things that must be done during the probate process is to determine which assets are probate assets and which assets are non-probate assets. Non-probate assets bypass the probate process and may be distributed to the intended beneficiary immediately. Common examples of non-probate assets include: Assets held in a trust Proceeds of a life insurance policy Certain types of jointly help property Assets held in an account with a “payable on death (POD)” or a “transfer … [Read more...] about Do all assets go through the probate process?
Formal probate is not always required. It is only required if there are assets controlled by the Will. Often, a person who has received thoughtful estate planning, has successfully planned to avoid probate (and the related court fees, legal fees, and delays) through the use of a Revocable Living Trust. Even where there are assets to be administered under the Will, in the State of North Carolina, a small estate alternative to formal probate may be available for an estate if the value of the … [Read more...] about Is probate always required?
When an individual dies, that person leaves behind an estate consisting of all assets owned by the decedent at the time of death. Probate is the legal process that ultimately leads to transferring the assets controlled by the Will, or if there is no Will, the statutes, to the intended beneficiaries and/or heirs of the estate. … [Read more...] about What is probate?
For the small business owner who does not plan to pass down the business to the next generation, it is imperative to consider what will happen to your business upon your death or permanent incapacity. All too often, surviving family members end up with far less than what the business was worth when plans were not made ahead of time that prevent such a result. One option is to enter into a Buy-Sell agreement. A Buy-Sell agreementguarantees the fair market value of your interest in the business in … [Read more...] about Do I need a Buy-Sell Agreement?